We caught up with BA (Hons) Creative Advertising student Melissa about studying in the UK, what inspires her work and her plans after graduation...  

Why did you choose to study at Leeds Arts University?

I’ve always wanted to go to an art school because I enjoy being surrounded by other creative people that I can get feedback and inspiration from.  Specifically, Leeds Arts University that has produced a lot of amazing people who I look up to. One of these people is Victor Sloan whose work with photography sparked my interest in studying the visual arts.

What are the advantages of studying at a specialist arts institution?

The best thing about studying at a specialist arts institution is that if you’re motivated and passionate, you have the opportunity to go as far as you want. The tools are provided and there’s space for you to consider different things.

Compared to a university, entering a creative arts community and you have a lot of control.

There are important differences in the way art and design is taught in the UK compared to other countries. What have you noticed regarding the learning experience at Leeds Arts University?

The University does not restrict its resources to a particular course or programme, so I can freely access all of the University’s facilities. I enjoy the style of teaching, which encourages teamwork and continual feedback from my course mates and lecturers, this not only helps me develop my work but also grow in my confidence. You spend three years with the faculty who really invest time in you. And I think what makes it even more special is that it’s a small, intimate community. For someone who is an independent worker and really motivated there isn’t a better choice.

How have you adjusted to life in the UK and what advice would you give a new international student?

I’ve grown to understand the systems well and integrated into society quite easily! Of course there is a lot of support for international students in and around the University, even from the other universities close by. Although, at first when living outside student halls, I’ve realised it is difficult to figure things like (paying bills, council tax) outside of a family supports system. But the University has been helpful in following up and offering support whether it is in schoolwork or home life, as well as organising events for international students within the University to come together and bond.

My advice would be to join as many societies as you can! You’ll find people from similar backgrounds especially in the Leeds University, where I met a lot of new people through the Leeds East African society and their connections. Being involved in different activities or groups was probably what worked best for me!

What are the studios and facilities like at the University?

The University has extensive facilities that cater for every programme requirement. The studios are set up in such a way to encourage collaboration.

Do you feel that studying at Leeds Arts University is preparing you well for life after graduation?

Definitely! The University is always bringing in professionals from different industries of whom we can talk to and make connections with. Also there are career track sessions that help prepare the students for postgraduate studies, developing CVs as well as portfolios and advice on starting a business. Not to mention all the real live briefs that offer internship opportunities at respected firms and create major recognition for our work.

Tell us what you like about living in Leeds

I love the fact that Leeds is a vibrant and modern city. It is very convenient for student life, and there’s always something happening so I never get bored.