1. Do your research.
// The more you know about the destination and what you’re looking for in a study abroad experience, the more likely it is that you’ll end up in the right place. Read up on the history, the pop culture, the education system, the politics, the cuisine, everything; after all, you’re not just going to be studying there—you’re going to be living there.
2. Pack less than you think you’ll need.
// Material possessions have a tendency to multiply, and this is no exception when you’re studying abroad. You’ll start with one suitcase and end up with two more filled with prizes for your friends, local snacks that you want to stock up on for the return to London, and a bunch of weather-inappropriate clothing items that you never even wore. Much of your kitchen staples, toiletries, and office supplies you can buy upon arrival. The size of your accommodation depends largely on the school you’re staying with, but don’t count on it being luxurious. I considered myself lucky to share a small single room with another girl, then a kitchen annd bathroom with two others en suite.
3. Look beyond the classroom.
// Studying abroad is about much more than flying to another country just to sit at a different studio desk. While it’s undoubtedly important to do well on your studies during the exchange, don’t get so caught up in academics that you miss out on all the city itself has to offer.
4. Stay humble and flexible.
// This is so important when traveling somewhere, especially for extended periods of time. You should understand that the host school doesn’t exist to cater to your each and every need as a visiting exchange student. The local mannerisms may seem foreign, but you’re on their turf; don’t feel entitled to impose your cultural expectations upon them. The more you allow yourself space to bend and adapt, the more you’ll learn and enjoy yourself.
5. Be eager.
// It’s fair to assume that those who follow through with stacks of paperwork and visa applications are the eager sort, but don’t lose this sense of hunger upon arriving and settling in. Milk the university’s industry links, sign up for all the local venues’ event update emails, plan day trips around the country during long weekends. Fill in all the gaps between class with what you can’t do back home in London. Sure it’ll be hectic, but there’s a lifetime to squeeze into the semester. You’ll reap what you sow, so sow away madly!Comments
The reason I ended up as an international student at UAL in the first place was the same one that landed me in New York last term. I’ve always been a staunch believer in the value of travel and cross-cultural experience, so when my previous university continually denied my stubborn pursuit of study abroad opportunities, I decided to transfer overseas completely. Happily settling into London but always thirsty for more chances to learn via travel, imagine the irony of finding out that my specific course offered only one destination for student exchange: back to the United States. To be fair, New York might as well be it’s own planet. I can hardly compare it to any big city, much less my dinky hometown in Florida.
Of course, it wasn’t quite as easy as that. Annually, two second-year students are sent to New York based on their responses to the brief set by the previous years’ winners. People have won by bungee-jumping off buildings whilst dressed as the Statue of Liberty, making mockumentaries about swimming the Atlantic Ocean, and filming a London version of the Sex in the City title sequence…the judges are the previous year’s winners, so I’ve just set the brief for current First Years and look forward to sifting through their submissions and deciding fates.
My initial reaction to the good news was shock, followed shortly by a mix of ecstatic excitement and sheepish guilt for winning as an American…but New York’s opportunities were as varied and novel to me as any foreign capital, regardless of my Floridian roots. After all, the beauty of studying abroad is having an opportunity to realign your own outlook whilst immersed in the perspective of a different culture and community. New Yorkers exude a sort of local pride that transcends general American patriotism. Instead of resulting in alienation, their self-obsession is convincing and infectious; I arrived with some wariness about being sucked into this hype, but left with the resolution that if I ever return to America after completing my degree, it’ll only be to NYC. Sorry, Florida—it’s true.
Education systems can vary quite bit from country to country, so there are both benefits and challenges of being suddenly stuck in a completely different system. American universities let you choose individual classes from a very broad catalogue of majors, so you can delve into subjects outside of your main jurisdiction. Along with some core design classes like Advanced Typography and Publication Design, I took advantage of courses I wouldn’t have access to at Chelsea like Screen Printing, Bookbinding, Sustainable Packaging Design, Honours Old & New Testament in the History of Ideas and, (silly as it sounds) Fencing. I luckily had some great professors during my semester at FIT, but even outside of the classroom there were endless chances to soak up art and design. The creative community is accessible beyond belief, and even the most notorious of “design celebrities” and personal heroes of mine made themselves readily accessible to students and young professionals alike. I learned that there’s more than the “industry” to look forward to—there’s a lively and intra-inspired community.
All of these things—the bookbinding techniques, the heavenly bagels, the real-world design tips and an autograph here and there—have shaped me as a student and will no doubt continue to inform my decisions about what kind of designer I aspire to be in the future. Studying abroad provides an opportunity to reach far beyond the most stilted interpretations of what formal education can provide…regardless of whether it’s back to your home country.
Irina’s weekly posts about New York can be found on her personal student blog at irinagdc.wordpress.com.
Her Instagram feed of the trip can be found at http://instagram.com/irina_wang.
We think that internships and work placements offer students an amazing opportunity to learn and also gain incredible experience and networks. But we disagree with companies and organisations breaking the law and refusing to pay their interns the minimum wage.
SUARTS have campaigned for over two years to bring an end to exploitative unpaid internships.
- We lobbied UAL to stop advertising unpaid positions on their creative careers website.
- We have held protests outside companies in the creative sector who advertise unpaid positions (such as PR companies and fashion houses).
- We went to London fashion week and handed out bags to campaign against the exploitation for students in the fashion industry.
- Our sabbatical officers have publicly called on companies to stop using unpaid Student labour which resulted in them changing their policies.
We will continue to campaign over the coming year until to bring an end to exploitative employment practices.
If you would like to be involved contact Mostafa email@example.com
Your Sabbs along with players from a mix of UAL sports teams surprised the Board of Governors as part of our ongoing effort to secure Wednesday afternoons off for students. Read Activities and Volunteering Officer, Rosie’s write up on what went down.
Yesterday a bunch of our sporting lot went to surprise the Board of Governors at their meeting in High Holborn. Students from all colleges took to the 9th floor in the hopes of chatting to the governors about their concerns and set-backs to do with timetabled wednesdays.
“I think it’s a shambles. Wednesday is an allocated sports day. We seem to be the only university that not only has electives but actual lectures, seminars and crits set on a Wednesday, making it difficult for students to do what they are entitled to do: compete in sports. UAL continually flouts this rule and it doesn’t give us a chance. Wednesday afternoons off should be mandatory” - Oliver Cheeseman, Captain, Basketball
A priority of mine this year has been to ensure that the existing policy on ‘Wednesday Afternoons Free’ is finally adhered to. Papers were approved at the University’s Learning, Teaching and Enhancement Committee and Senior Management stress they are on board. It’s time we saw change and active support for students who identify with extra-curricular activity being just as important as their curriculum.
Yesterday’s meeting saw students’ in abundance and they were politely greeted by some supportive elected staff members on the Governors Board. It was however, disappointing to see a lack of support shown to students by Senior staff members who quickly assembled members of security to line the entrance to their meeting room.
Students want to be heard, not blocked out. And students want the opportunity to talk to people who have the ability to make change. Lets hope our brilliant banners and loud and happy crowd made a difference!!
If you’re interested in showing your support, whether you’re involved in our sports and societies or you simply need time outside of your course to focus on your own practice/collaborative projects then get on board and support Wednesday Afternoons Free.
You can write to the Vice-Chancellor Nigel Carrington or raise the issue to coure reps or at your Student and Dean Forum’s to help make a difference.
If you want to know more get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Massive congratulations to our UAL Feminist Society, ArtsFems who won the National Union of Students ’ Women’s Group of the Year last night!Comments
Lots of you will be starting internships over the Easter Break you may be actively looking for some to do over Summer. We’ll be writing up a guide to Arts internships so check the links at the bottom of the post for topics as we update them over the coming days or use the Disqus comments to ask us any questions.
There’s a lot of things to consider when doing internships in the arts and being paid is something that is often talked about.
We’ve received a number of questions about when you should be paid for doing an internship.
Hopefully this video makes it quite clear (from 1:25 mins) when you should be paid whilst doing an internship. The two clear legal guidelines are:
You can find more information on pay for interns on the gov.uk website. This states that employers cannot avoid paying you by:
You can also take a look at InternAware’s resources including help on claiming back pay you may be owed from previous internship employers.
UAL’s SEE also have their guide to internships which goes into a lot more detail - very useful to have with you before going into an interview to help work out if you are in fact eligible to be paid.
We’ll be updating posts on the following topics - click on the links to find out more:
Finding an Internship
Keeping track of what you do
What will I get out of this internship - learning goals
How can I secure a future jobComments