International student Momo Xie is currently in her third year studying Graphic Design at Whitecliffe. Growing up in Shanghai, China she recalls “my dad was studying fine arts when I was young. He always brought home paintings and drawings that he had done. It made me think that studying art must be a cool thing.” Although she was initially inspired to pursue studying fine arts to follow in her father’s footsteps, Momo chose Graphic Design as her major. She explains, “I love fine arts. I still do a lot of drawing and incorporate them into my designs, but I find graphic design more useful.”
After researching various options to study arts and design in New Zealand, Momo decided that Whitecliffe would be her best choice. She then began her studies at Whitecliffe with the Certificate of Arts and Design (Foundation) programme. Momo was attracted to studying at Whitecliffe because of its small, intimate class sizes, meaning lots of one on one time with tutors and classmates to form strong and lasting relationships and possible collaborations.
Commenting on her experience thus far, she says that Whitecliffe has helped build her verbal presentation skills in academic and professional environments. “We have to explain our work and do a lot of presentations. It is really hard, but incredibly useful. For example, I am currently doing an internship where I have to present concepts to a client. If I didn’t have to present my work a lot at school, I don’t think I would be able to speak confidently to a client.”
Momo also says that the culture in Chinese art schools is very different from studying at Whitecliffe. “Whitecliffe focuses on each individual’s creativity and helps them to develop their own concepts and practice. The tutors always push you to look deeper into your work and the world around you, whereas in China, there is an emphasis on skill, so every student will be doing the same project with very similar outcomes.”
Her advice to anyone considering furthering their study in Graphic Design is to make really good use of your tutors. “The tutors have an extensive knowledge base and are people who know very well what the industry we are facing is like. As tutors, they will always be there to help you and will also always respond to emails even after class.”
Momo sees herself as a designer in the future and might even study towards a Masters degree. For now, she says she will keep enjoying her undergraduate studies, while developing her practice and see where this will lead her in the future. She is really happy that she chose to study here in New Zealand because of the range of inspiring landscapes and the quiet places you can find to study and focus.