Ida is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Visual Design at the Scuola Politecnica di Design. She found the programme and enrolled via Studyportals. We asked Ida about her experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.
Hi everyone! My name is Ida Serdarevic, a 24-year old design student from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
I am currently located in Milan, Italy, finishing my Master’s in Visual Design. I got my BA degree back home, in Sarajevo, in Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design at the International University of Sarajevo.
The main reason why I always wanted to continue my education abroad is that I simply felt it would be the best way for me to grow as a designer and to get to where I want to be in the future. I feel that it is crucial for one’s personal growth to leave their comfort zone at some point, and see how people in other countries and cultures do things, how they solve problems, how they create.
As I already stated before, I am finishing my Master;s in Visual Design at Scuola Politecnica di Design. Before starting my search for the school, I made a short list of the things which were most important for me; strong academics, classes in English and for the tuition cost not to be a fortune (as a student from Bosnia, finding a design scholarship is nearly impossible). The city and quality of social life were not high up on my list at that point, but I was very lucky to end up in Milan.
Even before I finished my BA studies, I knew I wanted to do a Master’s which was sort of a continuation of my BA, since I wasn’t completely sure in which direction I wanted to go, with visual design being a very wide field. The first school I considered was Central Saint Martins in London, since I did a summer school there and fell in love with the professors, the school and the city. But for two main reasons I gave up: finances and the fact that it lasted for two years, and I was looking for a one year Master;s. So after a very tiring search, I found Scuola Politecninca di Design. The fact that an internship was included in the programme (as an integral part of the Master’s, with the school finding the internship for its students) was something that “sealed the deal”.
Location was not too important, but as I already said, I am very lucky to have ended up in Milan. It is a beautiful city with a beautiful culture, an amazing nightlife, and, in my experience, amazing people.
Studyportals helped me immensely since it was one place where I could find everything, and compare schools. I also find it very helpful that a lot of details about schools are included, such as tuition fees. Before I knew about Studyportals, I spent a significant amount of time on school websites trying to find the information about tuition fees, and starting dates and all other types of information which are very important for a student, but on school websites, they are almost hidden. Studyportals has been an active participant in my application procedure, helping me not only to find a school, but helping me find THE school. It has been an important factor in shaping my future, and I believe it will continue to be.
I didn’t have to take any English test before applying because both my high school and BA education were in English and it was sufficient, but in my experience, this changes from school to school. I plan on taking IELTS in a couple of months since I want to apply to another Master’s (Type and Media at Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Netherlands), and the school needs either IELTS or TOEFL test results.
As far as the finances go, sadly, I did not have any financial support other than my parents, but on the other side, I am extremely lucky that they were in a position where they could cover all my expenses. So my advice for students from my country, and I’m pretty sure it applies to most European countries outside of EU, start looking for scholarships on time. A lot of schools give scholarships, but in my experience, it is usually for EU students (given that the school is in EU), or USA students, etc. And also, check with the embassy of the country your school is in, sometimes they also offer scholarships.
Looking back at this experience, I don’t think I would do anything differently if I had the chance to do it all again. I am very happy with the school I chose (thank you Study Portals), the city is beautiful and the people I met have become a very important part of my life.
So to sum it up: if you have the smallest chance to go abroad to study, go! It is an amazing, irreplaceable and invaluable experience. The fact that you will grow as a person and as a professional is inevitable. You will meet new people and experience new cultures, and that is something you will have for life.
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