Tell us about yourself
Hi, my name is Jiwoo Nam. I’m from South Korea and came to New Zealand in July 2017. My major is Digital Design, so I’m currently studying second year of Game Design at AUT, and took Foundation course at UP International College before I got into university.
Why did you choose Foundation programme at UP International College?
I was studying Cambridge at high school back then, but after I made my decision to study Digital Design at AUT, UP Foundation Studies programme sounded more appealing to me at that time. The first reason might sound digressive, but the environment there was very familiar and even nostalgic to me in a sense, because I went to UP International College when I first came to New Zealand and had a lot of great memories that are still cherished even now. But most importantly, when I realistically think of it as a mean of getting into university, UP Foundation Studies programme is specialised to go to a particular university of your choice, either UoA or AUT. They make sure that international students will be capable of studying at NZ universities with local students at the end of their foundation course. That was basically why I didn’t feel the need of going to high school and study Cambridge which costed me extra effort and time that are not for my destination.
What was UP International College like and what were your classes and teachers like?
Most of the students are international and some of them are not too familiar with speaking English since it’s not their first language. However, the teachers at UP International College were so patient and tried their best to communicate and listen to the students. Thus, I believe that those interactions between teachers and students took a great role in creating a comfortable and open environment for studying. Personally, I still remember and appreciate my design teacher at UP International College who was always so kindly assisting students with her best.
How did the semester (term) and timetable work? And what subjects did you choose?
I did a standard course and it was 8 to 9 months, which was in 3 terms. The timetable is different each term depending on your choice of subjects, and I remember my timetable being not too strict and having enough free time in between the classes so I could have a small break or go for lunch. The compulsory subjects at that time were English 1, English 2, Academic English for Tertiary Study, Tertiary Study Skills and Culture and Society. For my choice of other subjects, I chose Art History, Design Studio, and Microeconomics.
What did you study and learn during the foundation course?
For the compulsory subjects, they mostly teach you how to improve your general English skills and about NZ culture and history. Throughout the English subjects, I learnt initial essay writing skills and how to do academically adequate research which is to find reliable sources for your essay. All of these skills helped me so much with my essay writing after I got into uni. Design studies at UP Education was all taught in Design Studio class. It starts with practicing basic drawing skills, but also they teach you how to observe objects and furthermore how to convert them into your own creativity, which I felt strongly nurtured my artistic abilities.
How did you prepare your portfolio?
My portfolio was all done in Design Studio class during foundation course. Each design degree at AUT requires a different portfolio that explains what you aim to study at AUT, and for me, since I wanted to study Digital Design, I came up with a short story about a girl, Leah, and made a storyboard and some covers for it. The design teacher at UP International College helped me so much to finish my portfolio satisfactorily. Whenever I ask any questions about the design work that’s going to be included in my portfolio, she always gives me helpful and specific advice that I could improve on. Click here to see my portfolio.
What are your plans for your future?
I saw a quote saying “People who know how to make games need to start focusing on the task making real life better for as many people as possible.” And it inspired me to think differently about game design, since games are usually portrayed as a fantasy that contradicts reality. So after graduation, when I get to work in the game industry, I want to make a game that incorporates real-world issues that could be meaningful to the players who are living in the real world. But most importantly, to do that, I need to be able to fully express the skills I have learnt during my degree and to practice the knowledge that I have gained. I want to create an environment where I can further challenge myself and support my growth mindset.
Do you have advice for international students coming to study with UP International College, especially students who want to study Art and Design related degree?
There is an ability of mine that I really appreciate by going to UP International College. Since I made many international friends in the college, the ability of accepting variety of people was improved a lot. Especially because of the main characteristic of UP International College, which is specialised to international students, the variety and difference of every individual felt protected and respected in that environment. Especially for those of you who are preparing to go to AUT Design, portfolio might worry you a lot. I was also not sure and contemplated a lot about how to make a good portfolio. I was even considering getting extra tutoring for my portfolio. However, if you listen and communicate enough with your design teacher, I’m pretty sure that you can get a satisfactory results for your portfolio, because it is also important to present your own skills and creations to the university.
Name: Jiwoo Nam
Age: 21 years old
Hometown: Uijeongbu-si, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
Current location: Auckland, New Zealand
Foundation programme you studied: AUT University Certificate in Foundation Studies (Standard)
Current University: AUT (Auckland University of Technology)
Current degree programme: Bachelor of Digital Design