Current international BA (Hons) Visual Communication student Sharon Chiu talks to us about how she discovered Leeds Arts University when we visited her high school in Hong Kong. Sharon discusses how Leeds Arts Union’s International Society has helped her settle in, and her love of the diversity in Leeds...

What was your route to University - what did you study before starting University? Did you always have an interest in BA (Hons) Visual Communication?

Before studying BA (Hons) Visual Communication, I was an international school student studying the International Baccalaureate program in Hong Kong. While looking for universities to apply to, I knew I wanted to pursue a subject in the creative arts, but I didn’t necessarily have a particular major in mind. Luckily, I found out about the University’s Visual Communication course when they had a visit at my high school, and I thought it was perfect for me because I would be able to try out different disciplines until I found my path.

Image: Courtesy of Sharon Chiu

What do you specialise in and what are you working on at the moment?

I specialise in illustration and right now I’m working on my own small business, selling stickers and greeting cards inspired by Hong Kong nostalgia. The rainbow colour palette of this project is based on the name of the place I grew up in, called Choi Hung, which means rainbow in Cantonese.

How has the University helped you to settle here?

The Leeds Arts Union’s International Society has been a big part of helping me settle here during my first year in Leeds. The society organises group events where I could meet fellow international students and explore the city, as well as enjoy different events like Leeds Light Night and Bonfire Night. It definitely helped me know the city better and learn more about the culture here in the UK too.

Image: Courtesy of Sharon Chiu

Tell us which resources and facilities you use the most, and how they help you develop your practice.

The variety of workshops I’ve attended throughout the Visual Communication course has definitely helped develop my practice. It was a perfect opportunity for me to explore all the facilities the university has to offer and discover my interests as I try everything out for myself. Whenever I want to revisit a skill that I learnt during one of the workshops, I don’t need to worry if I’m still not familiar with it, as the staff are always happy to help and guide me through the steps. It really encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Image: Courtesy of Sharon Chiu

What do you like about living in Leeds?

There are many things that I like about living in Leeds. Firstly, I love how everything is walking distance in the city. I can do all my errands by walking around the city centre, and it won’t even take that long. It’s great exercise too! Also, I love that Leeds can be both slow and fast paced; when you want to relax, there are great parks and coffee shops for you to unwind and enjoy some alone time. When you want to hang out with friends, there are so many fun activities to take part in throughout the year. With all the pubs and clubs in town, you can never go wrong when you want a fun night out with your mates! And when you just want a nice shopping day, Trinity Leeds is a great place to be!

@ takealookatchiu

Header Image: Courtesy of Sharon Chiu