5 Minutes With Graphic Designer Aisha Kareem

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On the pros of studying abroad.

They say creativity is born from breaking your routine – and there’s no faster way than by heading abroad. “I thought moving from one big city to another big city wouldn’t be that different, but man I was wrong,” says British graphic designer Aisha Kareem, who studied at Shillington’s New York City campus. “There was inspiration everywhere – in the food, the people, the awful commercials… NYC was bold and unapologetic, and I threw that energy into my work.”

What made you decide to leave London to study design in New York City?
I attended an open talk with Shillington’s Aussie founder and CEO, Andrew Shillington. He mentioned NYC and how Shillington could help me get a visa to study there, and suddenly something I never even in my wildest dreams considered became my biggest obsession. I was inspired by this new opportunity to have a fresh start and be in a completely new environment – by the unpredictability of it all and not knowing what to expect.

What was a typical day like once you got settled in?
Sometimes it was visiting the iconic New York Public Library, other times it was brainstorming [customer] personas and user experiences with groups, other days it was presenting to our teachers and classmates. Because it was such an intense course, I had to remind myself that I was still a tourist. Sometimes I would explore the city, hang out with friends, go to food markets or simply unwind at the gym.

What were some of the best lessons you learnt?
Working with designers and directors above you, you’ll quickly learn the importance of teamwork. Your ideas will be picked apart, and it’s a true test of your talent to be resilient while receiving critiques and to constantly come up with better ideas.

How did studying overseas affect your career?
I still underestimate my worth, especially when I’m freelancing, so I constantly remind myself of the courage it took to live in a totally new city and the solid design education NYC blessed me with.

What one piece of advice would you give to other wanderlusting creatives?
Plan your accommodation, finances and visa requirements in advance. Be inspired by everything. Go everywhere and eat everything. Don’t take yourself too seriously, relax and live your best life.

Want to study design abroad at Shillington in New York, London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane? Go to shillingtoneducation.com for info.

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