Iranian Interior Design student Manoochehr originally joined UCLan for a foundation year that he believes equipped him with the required skillset before progressing to study a bachelor’s degree. Flourishing with the help of UCLan’s cutting-edge facilities and student support network, Manoochehr tells us all about his student life in Preston so far.
"I chose to study at UCLan because I have a friend who was already studying Sport and Exercise Science here and he highly recommend the University. Also, in my research I found that it’s not an expensive place to live. I applied for universities in Liverpool and London but the living costs were much higher there. When I arrived in Preston, Welcome Week was very nice; there were lots of events that allowed you to meet new friends and socialise. It was a friendly atmosphere with well-organised events. I noticed that the campus felt smaller than other universities I’d visited, which contributes to the friendly atmosphere.
Progressing from an Art and Design foundation entry year gave me the confidence and experience to get through the next few years studying a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. During my foundation year, communicating my ideas to my tutors and explaining how to reach my final vision was a bit of a challenge. At first you don’t know how to come up with the right ideas, but the tutors encourage you to be creative and find out about design and the history. Then you can show your skills by finding new ideas and manipulating them to come up with your own piece of work. The tutors here are very approachable and they always have time for you; all you need to do is knock on their door.
Foundation years really help students to gain the skills needed to develop, and I was honoured that my work was nominated as one of the best designs and I was nominated as one of the best students. Progressing to BA (Hons) Interior Design the practical modules, like the sketching modules, are what I enjoy the most. The most challenging part is time management with regards to work and assignments, but the tutors are really supportive and help is always available. In terms of the facilities that we learn and work in, the workshop has absolutely everything and is very modern.
Within both the foundation year and my bachelor’s course I have had the opportunity to visit Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and we also went to London for a 2 night stay where we visited a number of museums and art galleries. I have also benefitted from guest lectures from industry figures, who explained how they progressed through university, found work placements and how they forged a career. They showed us their projects and designs from their degree course, alongside their work for their company. This helps to give an insight to other artists and their ideas.
Back home in Iran the education system is based on exams, but here it’s based on assignments that you need to do research for before you write them and hand them in. Back home there are more theoretical and less practical modules, and they don’t emphasise on cutting-edge facilities so you can’t engage in practical learning as well as in the UK. Here, you can really take what’s in your mind and do it.
In my spare time I like to go out with friends, watch movies, watch football games and exercise. It’s easy to make friends because Preston is a student city and most of the Lancashire people are friendly – the city is well integrated with the students. The city is small but has a variety of grocery and clothing shops to suit all budgets. We have easy access to the city centre without needing public transport.
There are various restaurants, from Indian to Thai cuisine nearby. I like the cafes and bars, I usually go there for coffee as they are nice places for meetings with friends. There are even places with Middle Eastern style of food, like ‘Jaffa’ which I like a lot!
At first, I was feeling a bit homesick, but then I began to participate in societies and they organise basketball games and meetings at the local pubs which is a great chance to meet friends. I also play tennis and badminton at the Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre on campus."
6 November 2019