Second year Southwest Minesota State University Communications student, Lillian Lewandowski joined our 3-week Creative Industries London module in January 2024 as part of the studies.
How was studying abroad in London? What is your favourite thing about the city?
Studying abroad in London was hands down the highlight of my college journey. It totally blew my expectations out of the water. London, with its vibrant culture, completely broadened my horizons and gave me a fresh perspective on the world. Stepping out of my comfort zone for the first time ever – especially being in a whole new country for the first time– turned out to be the best decision I could’ve made. In just three weeks, I felt this incredible personal growth. It was like a crash course in life experiences, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
What did you think of the Creative Industries London module?
The Creative Industries London module was incredibly well-crafted, seamlessly blending learning with exploration. What made it stand out was the incorporation of excursions around London, adding an experiential layer to our studies. The course instructors took us to places I wouldn't have discovered on my own, urging us to delve deep into the exhibits. They went the extra mile by bringing in creative experts to share their insights, which added a practical and enriching dimension to our learning.
Despite being just a three-week course, the class felt perfectly paced. It struck that ideal balance where it wasn't overwhelming, yet it provided ample room to create some impressive deliverables. Now, I've got tangible outcomes to share with professors and peers back at my home institution, making those three weeks in London both productive and memorable.
What is your favourite memory of studying abroad?
There’s so many to choose from, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one! If I had to pick just one, it would have to be one of the last days of the course. After successfully completing our exhibition of our final projects, UAL threw us a little celebration party. During this party, we were asking our instructors what hangout places they recommend. They told us about Rowans bowling alley. A group of classmates and I went there to check it out, and it ended up being super fun! Another fun memory was during the first week of classes when a group of peers, whom I had just met, decided to head to Oxford Street and check out the area. Being new to London, it didn’t occur to us to check the weather before we headed there. We found ourselves caught in a rainstorm without any rain protection but ended up embracing the rain and running down the streets soaking wet! Needless to say, from that moment on, we carried our umbrellas!
What did you enjoy about your classes?
I appreciated the diverse content covered in my module. We had instructors delving into music, others exploring the world of cartoons, and another guiding us through the complexity of Adobe – it truly offered a comprehensive spectrum of creative subjects. The course was thoughtfully designed to cater to a wide range of interests, making it engaging for everyone. What stood out for me was the exposure to creative industries that were previously unfamiliar. It broadened my understanding and introduced me to areas I hadn't explored before. The course, in essence, was not only enjoyable but also an enlightening journey into various facets of the creative realm.
Can you tell us about a project you were particularly excited about?
For my final exhibition project, I did it on Colour Theory. The specific creative area I choose to focus on was markets within London. Each market had a unique colour scheme that created varying atmospheres. To complete this project, I visited 5 different markets, and took a mix of photos and videos to capture the dominant colours before creating a colour palette and analysing the meaning behind the design choices.
Why did you choose UAL Study Abroad?
When I was comparing study abroad programs, I went through the whole checklist – location, course content, and schedules. London won, and within that, UAL (University of the Arts London) stood out for a few reasons. Their courses are taught by experts in the field, and I liked how they set up the modules. The instructors have both industry and academic knowledge of the subject, and encourage students to take risks, ask questions, and question ideas. They also throw in self-study days, giving you the freedom to dive into what interests you. I like that the instructors provided me with a list of suggestions to do on our off days but allowed us to go at our own pace.
How do you think your study abroad experience will help you with your future endeavours?
My study abroad experience is a game-changer for my future endeavours. First off, being in a new environment like London expanded my worldview and gave me a fresh perspective on various aspects of life and culture. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, teaching me to adapt and thrive in diverse settings.
Academically, the courses and self-study opportunities at UAL allowed me to explore my interests in depth. I've gained practical insights and honed skills that I believe will be valuable in my future career. The exposure to different teaching styles and learning environments has made me more versatile and adaptable to change.
Navigating a foreign city, meeting people from various backgrounds, and immersing myself in a different educational system have enhanced my interpersonal and cross-cultural communication skills. These soft skills are crucial in any professional setting, especially with my major being Communication.
Lastly, the creative inspiration I drew from exploring London and its rich artistic scene has ignited a newfound passion and creativity in me. I believe this experience will not only make me a more well-rounded individual but will also set me apart in pursuing future opportunities. Overall, my study abroad experience has equipped me with a diverse skill set, a broader perspective, and a renewed sense of creativity, all of which I am confident will positively impact my future endeavours.
What is the most valuable thing you learnt from the experience?
I learned that nothing is out of reach. Being from a small town in the Midwest, I had never lived in a metropolitan area before. Within the city, there is an incredible number of opportunities. Before going to London, I made a promise to myself that, with it being a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I would take advantage of these opportunities. From the time I woke up in the morning, until late in the evening, I would be exploring and immersing myself into the culture. I even spontaneously decided to go to Paris for a day! I learned that there is no benefit in being scared to try new things, and taking risks is only going to improve my well-being!
Is there anything you want to share with future study abroad students/ future applicants?
For future study abroad students, I would tell them to soak in every minute! It will go by extremely quickly and before you know it you’ll be on a plane back home, reflecting on everything that you did during your time abroad. Take lots of pictures, keep a journal, and soak it all up! I’ve been back home for about 5 days now, and I am already looking at flights to go back!
Would you recommend the experience at UAL?
100% - YES! I would go back in a heartbeat!
Apply to Creative Industries London.