Higher education planning is a crucial decision making phase for every student. It requires immense amount of research to choose the right country, university and course. This is an extremely complex decision as you have to consider a lot of important parameters and then select the study destination to boost your academic and professional career. A part of this research includes getting in touch with different people who have gone through a similar phase earlier and today, are themselves studying or working abroad.
Here we bring to you Swati’s (name changed) experience who has pursued her study in Italy and is currently working in Bangalore. She has done a 1-year course in Interaction Design from Domus Academy, Milano, which is one of the top universities in Italy.
Interaction design is about creating a product, service, or space that people will interact with through an intuitive visual and tactile interface. In this program, you will learn to define problems and solutions in the field of interaction and user experience. As you create enriched experiences through innovative technology, you will be encouraged to transform your original design visions into market opportunities. Interaction design is a rapidly growing discipline increasingly in demand across the private and public sectors. Some of the job titles you can acquire in this domain are Interaction designer, User Experience Designer, User Interface Designer, Visual Designer, Digital Strategist, Design Manager, etc. The course is taught in English in Domus Academy, one of the top universities in Italy. It is one of the top universities in Italy and thus, a high level of proficiency in the English is a must.
Master in Interaction Design program is a workshop-based course, supported by seminars, lectures, tutorials, and fieldwork. The program consists of four customizable course/workshop modules, followed by a professional experience period and a final portfolio presentation. The academic Master’s Degree is awarded by NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti.
Swati did her Product Design course from MIT Institute of Design, Pune. Then she worked as Content Writer for digital platforms in an established firm. While doing this job, she gained interest in this segment and with the help of her research, she came across this course. She realized the fact that technology has become a necessity and it can create a magical experience in human lives. Keeping this in mind, she started looking for one-year courses to pursue her higher education in Italy. She reached out to her friends to gather relevant information in terms of studying abroad.
As a first step towards pursuing her higher education in Italy, she and one of her colleagues took the IELTS examination. Post this, she started preparing a list of countries and universities that offered courses pertaining to UX Design/Interaction Design. She was focused on pursuing a course that would ideally integrate her product designing knowledge with relevant technological skills. A full-fledged research guided her to select her dream course to study in Italy – Master in Interaction Design from Domus Academy, Milano. She also got to know that a lot her MIT mates studied in this institute. She got in touch with them to secure detailed information on the course and their experience there.
Swati, as a person, loves to travel. She always desired to study abroad and experience the cultural norms of a new place altogether. Post receiving her visa, she prepared a list of things that she wanted to do. The fact that she could visit 26 countries with her visa, excited her and she started planning her itinerary keeping in mind her course structure.
During the conversation, she mentioned the fact that the paperwork takes a lot of time. A consultant is the best person to help you out with the same. Make sure that you have enough time to sort these things out prior to your travelling date. She then travelled to Italy with an open mind. She reached there one week prior to the start of her college. As her mother is a teacher, one of her students was an Italian. She helped Swati connect with her and thus, her first week’s accommodation was sorted. After reaching her friend’s farm house, she started looking for housing options near her college. Swati informed that you should be extremely careful of frauds when you search for an accommodation there. You should ideally get your accommodation in place prior to reaching the country to avoid facing challenges once you land. Once you reach there, within the first week itself you need to get your Fiscal Code, which is quite similar to a Social Security number in the US. This code is important as you need it to open your bank account, sign a lease for a flat, for employment purposes, etc. To get this code, you have to show your college offer letter, and Italy address where you will be staying during the course. The form for generating this code was provided by Swati’s college during her induction. Hence, you don’t have to worry at all. There will be people in the college who will guide you to get the same.
Initially she was scared as pursuing her higher education in Italy meant that she would be away from family and friends. According to Swati, you should carry photographs of your family and friends as you are going to miss them a lot. During the first few days, she observed everything around her and tried to absorb as much as possible. The language was a barrier for Swati when she tried to communicate with the locals. Also, during her stay, she realized that learning Italian is extremely important to secure a job. In this domain, most of the clients in the corporate sector are Italian. Hence, you have to know the language to understand them and thus, deliver the task. Knowing the language becomes a must when you apply for a job in this sector.
According to Swati, in Italy, the professors share necessary information, ensure that you understand what is being taught and then give you the space to utilize that learning via different assignments and projects. It is your responsibility to practice and grasp the knowledge shared during sessions. If you don’t understand something, you have to take the initiative to get your professor’s time and clarify all your doubts. They are extremely helpful and they will always give you enough resources for your understanding. Another important parameter highly appreciated by Swati is ‘constructive criticism’ by professors. They ensure that they say nothing negative which usually demotivates a student.
The student-professor relationship is more casual and friendly. It is a student’s responsibility to understand, study, research, apply the knowledge and secure good grades. Swati highlighted the fact that in every course in the university in Italy, you get to work with a corporate. You get a project brief from the company that they are actually working on. This kind of assignments gave Swati a flavour of the real world. Thus, the teaching in these universities is much more practical based than theoretical. This gives you the chance to get recognized and if you and your team perform well, there is a possibility of the company hiring you.
The pandemic has impacted the livelihood of most of the individuals. Swati travelled back to India prior to lockdown and had to stay back. The search for jobs had been quite challenging. Accordingly to her, grab every opportunity that comes your way. Creating a portfolio is extremely important for a Designer. A resume has to be supported by a strong portfolio during your job interviews. A lot of companies are offering a contract based jobs. As per Swati, take up what you get so that you can strengthen your resume and portfolio. And if you don’t have an offer, practice as much as you can as that will help you sharpen your skills. Swati plans to go back to a foreign country to explore job opportunities once the pandemic impact eases out. Till then, she is focused on gaining necessary experience to make her portfolio stronger.
While doing your thorough research on the right university in Italy and preferred courses, you need to analyse the entire course structure which includes the core and elective subjects and the kind of opportunities that you will get post course completion. Get a detailed idea on whether the institution offers you internships, what kind of internships, in what roles you can work after the course, how you will be able to get such a role in the job market, applying for an education loan for abroad studies, and so on. These details will give you a holistic picture and will guide you to make the right decision in terms of course selection. All this information helped her come across her dream course in Milan.
Also, you should at least know the basics of Italian before heading to a university in Italy in order to communicate with the locals, for instance, to place your order in a canteen. You can download apps to learn how to say ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, ‘good night’, ‘bye’, ‘take care’ and many more similar words. Using such basics will showcase that you are taking the effort to learn their language and thus, help you gel with people around you.
Team Avanse plans to bring more such experience sharing articles exclusively for you. Stay tuned for more. You can reach out to us if you need to know anything about an education loan for abroad studies. All the best!