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We Are MA: Interview with Hansol Yoo

International student Hansol Yoo travelled from Korea to study MA Communication Design at NUA. She tells us about her experience of the course and studying in the UK.

Why did you decide to start a Masters course?

When I studied my undergraduate degree at university in Korea, I always had a desire to learn more. It was good to learn different knowledge and skills but I wanted to find my own voice, which is why I chose to study abroad. During the interview at NUA I saw they cared about me a lot which is why I chose it. 

Tell me about the projects you have been working on since you started at NUA.

I am interested in social issues – I want to communicate these problems through visualisation. I like to analyse social problems – why it happens and why I feel uncomfortable about these issues. Last term I picked two topics: working hours and hidden cameras.

Working hours in Korea are different from other countries; Koreans work some of the longest hours in the world. I was surprised on a Friday afternoon at the park here, there were lots of parents and kids playing – which is not common in our country. 

In Korea, we can only have a real break on holidays or vacations. I was jealous because in England and other countries they seem to have a really strong relationship with their families and lots of good memories. When I asked my tutor about this, she said the UK works a lot compared to other European countries, so actually it is relevant here too.

For my research, I carried out a survey to analyse how other people thought about labour. I researched philosophies, capitalism and different labour perspectives. I also looked at art movements and revolutions, especially William Morris, the BauHaus and the Russian Revolution.

My other project is about spy cameras. This is a serious issue in many countries including Korea. There are a lot of micro cameras that are available to buy online. They can be hidden in objects like fake mobile phones, or frames – they are so small they’re impossible to find. The videos are posted online without the person being filmed ever knowing.

For this project, I collected information on hidden camera sites and watched some documentaries about the issue. I researched about women’s rights and after that concentrated on gender equality. The result of the project was a series of illustrations about the most common places cameras were found. 

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Tell us about the collaborative project with the Masters in Brand Leadership students at the University of East Anglia

We made branding for the Museum of Human Kindness so we collaborated with UEA students who were studying brand leadership. We talked about the strategy of branding and did the visualisation of the branding image.

I liked the collaboration, and actually, after that project some of the students contacted me to suggest working on other branding projects so I met up with them again recently. One of the students is making a packaging design that I am helping with and another student needed a brand logo for company.

What project have you enjoyed the most?

I like all of it because I can have my own voice. I care about everything. Each project I consider a lot, thinking about how I can improve it.

Describe a typical day for you at university.

Last term there were lots of seminars, learning how to do our research in different ways. There were a lot of workshops on my course, warming up to study and work on our projects. We had individual tutorials too, where I got individual advice. It was really busy, but it helped me a lot.

Has your work changed since coming to NUA?

I think my work is more detailed, I usually made the work first and then added detail in Korea but now I make a plan first and a process to develop myself. My work has a stronger meaning when I finish it.

Is NUA how you expected it to be?

I liked NUA when I arrived. The International Student Arrivals Lounge at the beginning was really helpful to adjust here. I like the tutors they really care. They care about more personal things too which is why I feel satisfied with the teaching on this course.

What do you think about NUAs campus?

It’s really cute! I like the buildings; usually I’m at Duke Street or Guntons. I was surprised on the campus tour with all the different buildings. I think the best part of campus is the design studio!

It has different types of material and printing styles so I can make use of all of it myself. It’s more helpful for me.

What are your favourite places in Norwich?

My favourite place is the river, it makes me really calm. When I get stressed I always go there and look at the view and think “OK, I’m fine now!”

Actually when I first arrived in the UK, I was just used to London which is such a busy city, I couldn’t concentrate. But in Norwich it’s more relaxed. The town is kind of like a fairy tale – it’s so cute and pretty! It’s like living in a story! The air is really clear and the transportation is good to visit other places too.

What are the advantages of living in the UK?

First, it’s really free to do whatever I want. People are kind – when I was lost, people were careful to help me find my destination. It’s a really good environment here. There’s more nature and the buildings are more balanced so I can relax my eyes. Also, it is easy to travel to other countries.

What advice do you have for someone from your country who might be considering studying the arts in the UK?

Here if you concentrate on the arts, you can learn more deeply and express your ideas with the tutors. Especially if you want to learn the arts, I recommend going abroad to open your eyes and to develop your personality.

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