Here is a story from Marcus Djuhadi about his semester abroad studying Design Management at London College of Communication. Marcus, a fourth-year student at the University of Cincinnati DAAP.
The work here is challenging, collaborative, and grounded in frequent class discussions... In general, I also find that independence, autonomy, and self-initiative are values more deeply ingrained in UAL’s academic environment.
Why did you choose to study with UAL?
I was excited by the premise of diversifying my educational experience and gaining new perspectives in design to help launch my professional practice. I chose to study at UAL because I found it to be a globally renowned institution chock full of incredible staff, passionate students, and resources.
I enrolled in the undergraduate Design Management program in LCC specifically to experience its unique, hands-on approaches to building design thinking and innovation skills—which I believe to be increasingly critical as the role of designers evolves to rely upon strategic input. From the moment I applied, I knew the opportunity to live in London and experience this course in-person would be a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity I could not pass up!
What are your first impressions of London and UAL?
I have loved exploring the city of London and all it has to offer. It is such a culturally rich and diverse region in no shortage of breathtaking history, architecture, natural spaces, and museums. Immediately from my first few days staying here, I could feel the energy and passion radiating from this community. Everyone here has been so welcoming and kind to me, which has really contributed to a transformative experience.
My first impressions of UAL and LCC have been nothing but positive. The staff go above and beyond to provide meaningful resources so I can make the most of my studies here. The facilities are incredible, with opportunities to learn new skills through the workshops and collaborate in the buildings’ generous range of workspaces. And lastly, the student community has been my favourite part. I’d describe my peers as ambitious, talented, and generous. I know everyone is on a path to do incredible things for our society, which is a motivating feeling I have not encountered in many academic environments before.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
The briefs are interesting! In one of our studios, we’ve been tasked with applying design thinking methods to reimagine the seating experience. At first, everyone was unsure of the premise of designing a physical chair grounded in research, problem framing, and iteration. But I quickly came to realize how brilliant and exciting of an ask this was, since it challenges us to examine a bigger picture and following an effective, human-centered process—as opposed to being overly concerned with the aesthetics or mechanics of a final product.
Tell us about your work here? How is it different to back home?
The work here is challenging, collaborative, and grounded in frequent class discussions. My program back at home is oriented towards visual design, and although I enjoy that scope of work, it has been incredibly refreshing to learn about strategic design and its potential to transform the industry in the future. In general, I also find that independence, autonomy, and self-initiative are values more deeply ingrained in UAL’s academic environment.
What is the best thing about studying online?
Studying online gives me greater flexibility with my time. Although remote learning and work has its shortcomings, I have come to enjoy the increased freedom with my schedule and elimination of a daily commute. There is a growing selection of online tools and resources that are only improving with time, which make it possible to collaborate and learn alongside students from many different countries.
How is the situation with Covid? How was your travel from your country to here and how is life in London?
UAL has quite a few protocols in place to manage the spread of Covid. I generally feel safe at the university and that help is available when needed. The travel from the United States to the U.K. was straightforward, with the exception of extra steps that required more planning and preparation in the upfront (added testing and paperwork).
London is more open than my hometown. Most activities and spaces are open, which I feel particularly grateful for as I can explore what the city has to offer. Mask usage is mixed, however, so there is still a need to exercise caution when in denser public spaces.
How do you think studying with us will help you in the future?
Studying at UAL will help me enter a post-graduate career with newfound skills, connection, and personal confidence. I am excited to apply everything I have learned through the Design Management program and beyond in my future work, ensuring my contributions to the world are not only innovative but equitable. By experiencing and immersing myself within a different culture, I hope to be more conscientious and prepared to handle different perspectives.
What are your plans when you’ve finished your course?
After I complete my fall term in UAL’s Integrated Study Abroad Programme, I am returning to the United States and will begin an internship. I will join the team at WeWork as their first Product Design Intern on their Technology Design & Strategy team. There, I’ll be working on a suite of digital platforms that facilitate seamless interactions between people and space. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to learn from such a talented group and help reimagine how the workplace will evolve in the future!
Following my university graduation in early 2023, I look forward to entering a full-time position where I can apply my experience across design and strategy to enrich people’s lives.
Tell us something about any UAL Social activities you've participated in?
I did many of UAL Social’s in-person activities with other study abroad students—such as the Underground Scavenger Hunt and Wicked musical trip.