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Jielian from China, BA in Illustration

Jielian Wang, from China, is studying for a BA (Hons) in Illustration at the Interactive Design Institute (IDI), which delivers online courses from the University of Hertfordshire. Here, Jielian talks about the experience – find out what it’s like to learn online, and why a UK degree supports her career ambitions…

Why choose to gain a UK qualification online?

‘I wasn’t considering a UK qualification initially. I was searching for some local institutions, but I found it was hard not to have conflicts with my working schedule. Luckily, by accident, an online search result in English brought me to the IDI website.

‘By then, I knew that gaining a world-recognised qualification from the University of Hertfordshire could really help me have a successful career. In addition, I liked the fact that with IDI, students from around the world could share their study experience.’

I learned to put theories into practice

‘It’s very different from the other courses I have experienced so far. The other courses just gave me instructions for how to approach something. IDI not only introduced me to new skills, but encouraged me to not be afraid of experimentation in order to find my own approach. This is much more challenging, but it is important in the creative industry.

‘I like the practical projects I am undertaking on the course, and the tasks throughout each project. I learned to put theories into practice, and during every project, tutors keep reminding me to evaluate my progress. This helps me to recognise my strengths and the areas for improvement.’

I’ve learned the importance of generating ideas

‘I found a new way of appreciating artwork; I had been very worried about the technique and the aesthetic appearance of my work. Now I’ve learned the importance of generating ideas and the importance of conveying messages to the audience throughout my work.’

‘I always wanted to be creative. Creative people seemed like they could come up with many design solutions intuitively. Now I know that being creative is much more about the ability of gathering visual research and deconstructing it, to recreate and make something new.’

My advice? Look for a course that supports your career

‘I didn’t think that much when I was applying for a degree, but I was fortunate to enrol on a course I really enjoy! I think it is important to look for a course that not only teaches you the technical skills, but also supports you to build up your professional career.

‘I found that what my English teacher once said was inspiring. He said that if you're passionate about what you are doing, that's a great sign towards a successful career. That was one of the reasons I applied for a design degree – I wanted to turn my passion into a career.’

So what’s next?

‘In the future, I want to have a successful career in the design industry, and eventually to build up my own design studio.

‘One of my proudest moments so far was when I received an award for first place in the English, Mandarin and Maths regional exam when I was studying in China. I hope that in the future, I can receive an award for my design work; I would be thrilled to see that my hard work has connected with my audience.’