Art Directing in the USA: From Stockholm to San Francisco to NYC

After her journey spanning cities and continents, we caught up with Berghs Bachelor graduate Freija Edlund to see where her journey has taken her, how studying abroad helped her find that perfect job, and what she took with her from Berghs Bachelor all the way to Vice News NYC.

May 24, 2022

Hi Freija! Tell us a bit about yourself? 

Whatsup! I’m Freija, some call me Fridge. I’m an award-winning Art Director based in New York, dive-bar expert and a concert nerd. I started my ride all the way from Gothenburg and then decided to take off to Stockholm, San Francisco, Boston and finally made it to my dream city - New York. 

Why did you choose the Berghs Bachelor program?

During a trip to California, I ended up in a discussion about future dreams and the conversation led to Berghs Bachelor. I was told the program would be the perfect fit for me since I wanted to pursue an international career in communication. A killer education from a Top 2 Creative School in Europe and the opportunity to live in California? I was sold. 

Why did you choose Academy of Art University and what did you study?

AAU was the best fit for me, with its connection with the industry and bringing me one step closer to New York. AAU also offers the possibility to take film classes, which got me excited since I wanted to take classes on documentary film. Graduating with a skillset in advertising, culture and art and a Bachelor of Fine Arts was ideal for me. 

What was life like after graduation from AAU? 

My portfolio after graduating led me to an internship at MullenLowe in Boston. I worked at the launch of the Impossible Whopper for Burger King. It was an intense period with short deadlines and late nights, yet such a fun and rewarding experience that I’ll never forget. After the internship, I rented a car and drove to New York to try my luck. After 2 weeks of interviewing and AirBnB hopping, I was offered 3 jobs. I started my first job at Giant Spoon here in NYC. 

How did you end up in your current job? 

I've wanted to work at Vice since I started my studies. I wanted to work at a place in the bloodstream of culture, a place of diversity and a place that creates work that gets people talking. I made a documentary film at AAU called “How to get your dream job within 6 steps of acquaintances.” Thanks to my amazing instructor and networking tools from AAU, the film led to a connection that hooked me up with Vice. Before finally landing Vice, I’d been at three different agencies in NYC, working with clients like HBO, Samsung, Snyder’s and now Coca-Cola. All this experience helped me improve my portfolio which led to an offer from Vice. 

What were the best takeaways from your semester at Berghs?

Just being in the same room as so many talented and driven people. I learned so much from prolific names in the industry and from my classmates. I love how practical Berghs is with lots of open discussions and hands-on experience working on real briefs. I got to work with practical professional tools and gained a broad view of strategic and creative processes. You could really tell that the instructors have a passion for what they do and are doing their very best to set you up for success before you start working.

How has studying abroad helped you when applying for jobs? 

Studying abroad has given me the skills and the confidence to apply for jobs I never thought I could. Hard work and a strong will really pay off in the U.S. AAU and Berghs also helped to make me into a great networker which will always take you far. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I don’t really look that far out. Who knows, maybe I’ll have turned into a real New Yorker, with a 5x faster walking pace. My journey from Berghs, AAU to Vice has been wild - exposing me to so many opportunities, so there are undoubtedly even more exciting experiences around the corner. All I know for a certain is that I will have even tougher skin, keeping up my passion and continue being a problem-solving creative, wherever I might be out there.