Meet Alina who studied International Foundation in Art and Design at INTO Manchester in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University. She is now studying BA (Hons) Fine Art Sculpture at Manchester Metropolitan University.
What made you choose to study this programme at INTO Manchester?
I had already graduated from college and I thought it was not enough for me because I wanted to get a higher education. Previously I had studied photography and photography is part of art and design. So I thought it would be really valuable for me. This is how I got here.
Is the teaching and learning style different to your previous education experience?
It’s really different because here tutors are really supportive and helpful so if I had any problems they always were there to help and give advice. I never thought of teachers like this before. At my previous institute I was on my own, basically. Here, you’re surrounded by really helpful people. I had a tutorial with an MMU photography tutor and he said I was really welcome on the photography course at MMU. This really made me happy. Here we had personal tutorials, we would discuss our work, how it’s going; our strengths and weaknesses. We basically got help and advice on how to make our work better.
What do you enjoy about your course at INTO Manchester?
I enjoy basically everything! We had such a busy schedule in the first term but I still felt a kind of freedom with what I was able to do. I could do everything and anything. If I wanted to go for example to exhibitions, I could do so. It’s not like we were restricted. It was a really open course.
Have you learnt or developed any skills whilst studying at INTO Manchester?
Well, yeah when I arrived I only knew about photography. Now I have developed core skills in sculpting and I’m progressing to a fine art course because of this. I’ve found myself really enjoying sculpture even though I’d never done it before in my whole life. Now I’ve done it, I’ve found I’m really good at it.
Can you describe the programme to a future student?
The first term is basically exploration. Students are taught everything; from drawing to collages. You try everything. The second term is more focused. We experimented with techniques that we want to use in the future. In my case I did professional, self-directed and independent projects in fine art.
You’re given a brief and then create your own ideas. In the final term we had a ten-week project. Our final major project. Here we had to think about our future and studying at the University. So, we basically did anything we wanted to. We would still have tutorials with our teachers but it was very independent in structure. I think this is really good, as we start with help but we end up being really independent. We finish as adults. We are ready to go and fully prepared for university.
What’s been your favourite project?
A project which was called ‘Hidden’. We were given the word ‘hidden’ and we had to go off and build ideas around that word. So I made some sculptures about the hidden lives of people. This was my favourite project; I did what I wanted and this was really good for me. My advice for future students would be, don’t be afraid as you will really enjoy it.
Has your English improved since you arrived?
Yes, it’s improved a lot because we had English for Academic Purposes (EAP), and it’s related to art. Everything we do in English is about art; we were taught how to describe our own work, we had seminars and studio time. We also had to do presentations where we would talk in front of the class about our work in preparation for later on in life. This taught us how to present our work and how to exhibit work. I think my English has improved an awful lot. It’s really good.
Can you tell us about the location of where you study?
It’s really good because our studio for practical sessions were on the MMU campus and then the INTO Study Centre is only a five to ten minute walk away. We would take English at the INTO Study Centre and practical sessions on the MMU campus. It wasn’t a problem as I lived really close to them both. If you know how to manage your time, you will be OK. I spent more time in the studios on the MMU campus so naturally I felt more part of this environment. When I was at INTO I felt welcomed and people were really friendly there. I think you get double the amount of support in a way.
Do you feel confident about progressing after studying this course?
I didn’t at the beginning. But now I’ve developed and feel confident. I think I am really well prepared to study with British students. I will be at their level.
What advice do you have for a future student?
I think you have to be creative but also be brave. You need to push yourself to try different things. You also have to manage your time well, be open-minded, and don’t be afraid.