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An interview with Sarah Hakimah

Sarah came to NUA from Indonesia to study MA Communication Design. Here she shares her experiences and advice for international students.

What were you doing before you came to NUA and why did you decide to start a Masters?

I had just finished my Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication Design and had a short internship for three months in Jakarta.

I realised that there are so many things that I can do with communication design. I wanted to do my Master’s in the same field so I can deepen my knowledge and broaden my design practice.

What do you think about the teaching here at NUA?

I like how the teaching here is very supportive. The tutors are more than willing to help, especially when I struggle with my work. All of the feedback is extremely helpful as they often mention other artists and designers that I can study to inspire my work.

The teaching is more relaxed here – the students are given the freedom to choose their own projects, and we set our own work schedule. In my class we present our projects almost every meeting, and the various inputs from my classmates are also helpful.

What do you think about NUA’s campus and facilities?

I love NUA’s buildings. It is like a mix between the old and the contemporary. The classrooms also have big windows and high ceilings so it really feels nice to study in a room with a natural lighting.

The campus is close to the city so it is really convenient. NUA has many facilities for every course, and even students from different courses can try and use the facilities.

How have you changed since coming to NUA?

I definitely have changed personally and artistically. I am more confident talking to people, especially using English, which is not my first language.

I think more critically when it comes to designing. I have the opportunity to study and exchange thoughts with different people from different majors.

It is both refreshing and mind-opening to talk to people from different art and design studies about how they see and view my work from a completely different approach.

What do you think about Norwich?

Norwich is a nice place to live and study because the people are nice and it is pretty quiet here. Though there are events going on, I do like the calm atmosphere. I love walking around the market and shops. There are also many pretty cafes here – there is always a great option to study in or just hang out with friends.

Where do you live at university?

I live about fifteen minutes’ walk to the campus which is great since I can exercise at the same time!

I live with other two housemates who are also studying at NUA taking BA Fine Art. They are great friends of mine and sometimes we also exchange thoughts about our projects. My place is also surrounded by shops so it is really convenient.

“There are so many new things and food to try which I am always excited about.”

How have you found living in the UK?

I came here just before winter and it is kind of hard adjusting myself to the weather since it is almost always sunny in Indonesia.

But it is also an advantage in a way, because there is no need to use air conditioning at home! There are so many new things and food to try which I am always excited about. I cannot wait to explore more places in the UK.

What are the top three things to consider when choosing the right university?

Firstly, I think that you need to make sure that you love what you are going to study. If you love what you do, it will be easier to adapt to a new place.

Secondly, look at the syllabus, the student work and what other art courses the university has, since it will impact your overall university experience.

Do research and more research so there are no bad surprises when you enrol.  Lastly, the location and the campus itself. Inspiration can come from everything, including places. Does the place inspire you? It will help later when you work on a project.

What advice do you have for someone considering a degree in the UK?

Do the degree for yourself. Studying far from home is not easy. There can be multiple things that make you feel stressed – it might be your homework and you miss home at the same time.

But if you are doing this for yourself and you love what you do, it will be all worth it. Especially in the UK you will be exposed to so many new things.

Studying abroad will also open your mind to different cultures and help you understand people better.