It has been a year since I left South Africa. Since I set out on a journey that would take me around the world; from South Africa to Australia, New Zealand (or Middle Earth rather), the USA and, ultimately, The UK. I have now been in the UK for 7 Months and am 5 months into my masters degree at Cranfield University.
I am here studying an MDes in Innovation and Creativity in Industry at the Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D) at Cranfield University. It has been a roller coaster ride thus far and I have worked harder than I ever have before, but I have learned more than I could have dreamed of. Not necessarily in terms of academic knowledge (I can hardly claim to be learning more than any other masters students around the world), but so much more than that.
I am part of a cohort of around thirty students who come from no less than 15 countries, including China, Mexico and Poland. Just having the chance to learn and work with such a diverse group of people has been an experience in itself. When you spend an entire weekend in the studio attempting to finish a piece of work with your team, you learn things about cultural differences that are impossible to learn while on holiday! We have, however, developed a great tradition: on Friday evenings, when the weeks work is done, we have an international dinner where people endeavour to share food that is traditional to their country. It always turns into an night of sharing stories of life at home and usually ends up on the Student Association dance floor.
On the academic side we have been exposed to ideas and concepts at the cutting edge. We have been lectured by industry leaders, formula 1 engineers and world-renowned researchers. We had 8 week-long taught modules on topics such as innovation management, consumer trends and behaviours, and whole system design. We are now into the next phase of the program, a three month group project conducted in collaboration with industry. My own project, which involves research into the Circular Economy, is running full-steam ahead.
Following the completion of the group project at the end of April we will immediately begin our individual thesis projects. This will make up the final stretch of the one year masters degree that concludes in September. Once all that is done it will be time for me to start thinking about the next adventure.