I come from Malaysia, where culture and language are largely if not completely different from the U.S. The size of Malaysia is smaller than the state of New York City alone. Being in a small country where Amazon doesn’t ship to, where some art supplies are not available or even known, and where people think America is such a glamorous place equipped with everything we lack in our country, one becomes aware that there is a whole wide world out there and so much to learn.

After being privileged enough to come study at Pratt, in which I am exposed to a whole new world, with free speech, LGBTQ+ rights, social activism, and so on, I became a completely different person than I was in Malaysia. And I think it’s important to explore all those facets of you and the people around you. But bad things that could ever only happen here happened while I was here too. And I quickly realized there’s no such thing as “the grass is always greener on the other side”—it’s simply grass. We become humbled, and honored to have these experiences, and it transforms the way we speak, act, think, and make art.

Being surrounded by creatives everyday at art school has made me learn so much, and for the reasons above, I would love to immerse myself in a new learning environment, study abroad for a semester, and come back with a fresh outlook on everything.

On a personal level,
1. I would love to take this opportunity of being in a new creative community where everyone is pursuing a similar goal, to make genuine connections with the new people I meet, and open my eyes to a new culture and conversation and its history.
2. Experiencing another culture will also make me more aware of what social components make up my actions and thoughts and the societies they exist in, which makes me understand myself and my role in society better.
3. I want to figure out what I want, instead of blindly working in search for something but never finding it because I never knew what I was searching for—I’ll learn the options that I have to construct a creative lifestyle I would thrive most in.
4. And of course, I want to try out food from another culture!

Professionally,
1. I hope to become a better communicator through exposing myself in a new environment and widening my perspective so that I can speak to a wider range of audience through design or approach a problem with different way of thinking.
2. Studying abroad will also expand my network and present new possibilities for creative collaboration.
3. It will also provide me with more information and insight on how and what I can contribute to society, which I think is crucial for a designer because it can inspire awareness, action, and change. 

In terms of academics,
1. I believe gaining a fresh perspective abroad will help me understand my fellow classmates’ work in a different light, which will make me more effective and helpful during critique.
2. It will also have an impact on my design process, because I will be introduced to ways, media, and expectations I have never considered before.
3. Last but not least, I hope the experience studying abroad will create more questions and aspects to consider as to how a particular project will affect people who view or interact with it, which I hope to reflect in my school work as school is a chance to explore and try new things.

And finally, if accepted to the program, I will step into this journey with as little ethnocentrism and judgment as possible; and with the awareness of my privilege to have this opportunity, I will open my mind to learning the creative language there and what, why, and how this culture came to be.
Back to Top