High-performing students from India say collaborating with international peers, learning from highly-qualified industry-connected tutors, and the flexible course structure are some of the leading reasons they chose to study at UNSW Art & Design.

Graphic designer Paritosh Ureskar made the Dean’s List last year for exceptional achievement in a semester of study.

The 26-year-old from Mumbai studied a Bachelor of Design at the Symbiosis Institute of Design in Pune, then worked in advertising, and as a UX designer, before deciding to take a career break to enrol in the UNSW Master of Design program last July (2017).

He says he likes the fact that at UNSW he can “cherry-pick the kind of courses you want” and that the design course is research-oriented.

“I didn’t know a field called Design Studies or Design Theory existed, where I could write about design,” he says.

Paritosh says the four-course study load was a “bit of a shock” compared to his full-time classes in India, but it has helped him focus on getting the most he can out of the classes and studying out-of-hours.

“I have a job at the university so (the course load) allows me to balance the time that I do working in the job and studying,” he says.

He enjoys the different international perspectives gained from learning with his peers, who come from China, Indonesia, Canada, and the UK.

“I had a graphic design class where I had done something heavily with the colour red and this Chinese classmate of mine told me ‘Okay, red is so much more symbolic because in China, it’s like a much more important colour’, and I’m like ‘yeah, I never thought of that’ and I’ve been doing design for a while,” he says.

Paritosh is now contemplating a career in research, starting with a Master of Philosophy.

“Definitely come in with an open-mind, because it may not be exactly what you expect and it will be hard work, but then that’s kind of the point of university.”

Khushboo Sood, an architect from Bangalore, is also studying a Master of Design at UNSW.

Last year the 26-year-old received a UNSW Future of Change scholarship, which was established to attract and support high-achieving students from India.

After completing her degree at the Acharya School of Architecture in Bangalore, Khushboo worked at an architecture firm before choosing to further her studies in interior design at UNSW because of the unique tailoring of the course.

“It’s all hands on and it’s not all just theory,” she says. “In India most of the courses were theory and you had to write exams. But here you have to work on whatever you are doing, by yourself.”

Khushboo is currently working on a model of a lyre, which she is handcrafting herself.

“I never knew how to do that earlier, if I needed to get something done I would just give it to somebody to do, but right now I’m just making things by myself and learning all of the processes involved, so that’s pretty amazing.”

The student wants to focus on furniture making and the lighting aspects of design.

“I’m studying interaction design now, so it’s kind of like technology integrated into design,” she says.

“Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to make some smart furniture for smart devices using a combination of technology using design.”

Engineer Abraham Markos, an Indian citizen who has lived in Dubai for 15 years, says he was always interested in architecture and design.

The 27-year-old has been studying the Masters in Design for a year and is hoping to land a job in product or industrial design after he finishes the course.

He says the style of the course has been thought-provoking.

“We’ve been encouraged to think across all disciplines,” he says, “so it’s been interesting to see what other students from other countries and backgrounds bring and see how each one has their own specific skillsets.”

He was impressed with the level of collaboration with people of all ages and backgrounds in the course, including design, architecture, graphics, visual communication, interior design, physics, and business.

The engineer says there are times when he has “just been blown away by the expertise of my tutors and lecturers”.

“A lot of my tutors are still professional designers, so they have their own studios,” he says.

“So, we are getting the experience of people who are in the industry currently and they share their experience one-on-one.

“And that is something which is very valuable, that they are able to show us what skills are required, because you don’t want to leave the uni and be thinking ‘okay, I need more skills’.

“You actually need an understanding of what is required in the job market and how to be a designer in the real world. That’s what I’m grateful for.”


By Diane Nazaroff