I believe everyone has an interesting reason why they choose to study abroad. Flashback to 2011, I just graduated from high school and had a dream to become a graphic designer. Long story short, my plan changed when I got accepted into School of Business and Management, Institut Teknologi Bandung by SNMPTN Undangan. I promised myself once I finished, I will leave immediately to pursue my bigger goal.
After I graduated, I did not expect that things could be a bit complicated to continue my journey. Usually people do business for their Master’s degree once they completed bachelor’s degree from any background and my case was the opposite. In order to get accepted into a Master’s programme of any kind of design area, I need a strong portfolio and technical skills as good as other graphic design graduates.
I did a research on which kind of degree I can get into. I thought about short courses, summer school, and I found Postgraduate Diploma. It is a degree for someone who comes from diverse educational background but wants to learn something specific and more practical than theory, so it’s like a bridge to a Master’s degree if you want to switch career. London College of Communication (LCC), which is a part of University of the Arts London (UAL) offers Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication program. It’s a click! I knew this was the right place for me hence I enrolled myself there.
I built my portfolio from scratch – it consisted of my school and freelance projects related to graphic design. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to work as a graphic designer before I went to design school, so I had something to display in my portfolio that will be submitted to LCC. Another lucky shot, I got accepted within eight weeks.
The day I landed in London I did not know this experience would change my whole life. Never thought I can say that I’m in love with school. When it comes to passion I strongly believe it’s never too late to start. Since it’s practical and based on hands-on learning, this programme did not have any exams. Therefore, each unit was divided into interesting projects. The first two units were about the basic understanding of graphic design; started from typography & letterform, colours, type hierarchy, type classification, visual language & grammar, and information design. Another units were workshop, where students had to make the best use of school facilities and create an artwork from a piece of train tickets (this included screen printing class, risograph, letterpress, book design, and other exciting studios), and also research about the correlation between graphic design and architecture from time to time (I chose Visual Merchandising as my topic for this unit, window display in London were just too cute to resist!). The last two units were final projects and at the end of the term we had an exhibition at school’s gallery.
People said when you got the chance to study abroad don’t forget to have fun, how could I forget about having fun when even school already gave me tons of fun? Apart from school, living in London for 14 months (I did not even go back home on holidays, I guess that explains how much I love London) gave me the chance to see some of the most famous galleries, museums, and exhibitions. Small gallery filled with pink ornaments, buildings covered with geometrical patterns, hours spent drawing in Hyde Park, walking through Oxford Street’s Christmas vibes, hidden gallery full of vibrant neon lights, Buckingham Palace tour, London Eye fireworks on new year’s eve, the very artsy Saatchi Gallery, Chanel and Louis Vuitton exhibitions.. Checked! I can say London pretty much has affected how I perceive, see, and appreciate the world of art and design.
A year has passed and now I can see the perspectives of both businessperson and designer. When I start working now, things are getting more exciting than I thought it would be.
For me, London was too good to be true and it made me forget about homesick. Now I agree and completely understand when people says that the definition of home is only a state of mind
Photo credit: Author’s collections
Edited by Deandra Madeena Moerdaning
Danty Aretta is a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and birthday party decorator. She graduated from School of Business and Management Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) in 2014 and then decided to pursue her passion and dream in London, where she obtained her Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication from University of the Arts London, London College of Communication in 2015.
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