Marsa Sadighi Bonabi traveled a long way to come to Moore.
Originally from Tehran, Iran, Bonabi came to the United States in 2011 to earn her graduate degree in Interior Design at the College.
Currently in her final year of the MFA in Interior Design program, Bonabi said it has been a great opportunity. “I like the program a lot,” she said. “I like that all of the faculty are working in the field and they helped introduce me to my internship.”
Bonabi is currently interning at Francis Cauffman, an award-winning architecture firm, and is also freelancing for Abby Schwartz, one of her interior design instructors.
Bonabi heard about Moore by doing research on graduate interior design programs. She got accepted into five colleges in the U.S., but chose to come to Moore after receiving a scholarship and having a great interview.
“Everybody was really nice and that’s why I decided to come here,” she said. “I felt like it was the best choice for me.”
Bonabi originally studied electrical engineering at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, earning her BS degree in 2009. But after entering the workforce, she felt that it wasn’t the right fit.
“I did some research, talked with some architect friends, and learned about the interior design field,” she said. “My friends suggested I take some courses to see if I liked it, and I did. But since there were no academic programs for interior design in Iran, I decided to apply in the U.S. So far it has been a really good fit.”
Moving from Iran to the U.S. was a major transition. It took some time for Bonabi to acclimate to her new life. She learned English at a young age so that was helpful.
“It was a big change. It was difficult because I didn’t know anyone,” she said. “I came with two bags and that’s it. I was living in the (Moore) dorms the first three months that I was here, so that helped me get comfortable. I got to know the city and school and country, and then I got my own apartment.”
With just four students in her interior design class, Bonabi said she has made some good friends at Moore.
“The fact that we’re a small group is great because the teachers can pay more attention to our individual projects and take time for each of us.”
Bonabi also enjoys exploring Philadelphia and learning more about the historic city.
“In my first year, we had a History of Interior Design class and had to look at different places in the city,” she said. “I began to know Philadelphia from an architectural perspective and I really liked it. It’s really diverse.”
After graduating from Moore, Bonabi hopes to earn her PH.D in architectural technology and eventually move back to Iran to start her own design firm.
“I hope to be successful and introduce my knowledge to my country,” she said.