Hailey Savage, a student on our Interior Architecture and Design (including foundation year) BA (Hons) course, recently caught up with us to tell us about her time so far at London Met. Hailey chats to us about being an international student, why she decided to study at London Met and her plans for the future.
Hi Hailey, thanks for catching up with us! Could you start off by telling us why you picked London Met and particularly your course over other institutions or courses?
I knew I wanted to study Architecture or Interior Design because of my fascination with our built environment combined with my interest in the arts.
London Met stood out over other institutions because of its statistical evidence of a broad international student population. As an international student, I wanted to meet other students who could relate to the changes that come with moving to a different country. I also enjoyed the idea that, though London Met is not classified as an “art school”, there is a separate campus for the School of Art, Architecture and Design which gives us the ability to be surrounded by others doing arts-based degrees. This has really helped me in staying inspired and focused on my degree.
Do you feel supported by the lecturers on your course?
Absolutely. The lecturers are so supportive and I feel so incredibly lucky to know all of them. I have kept in touch with my lecturers from my foundation year, and they will often contact students in years above to put together infographics or short presentations to help current students understand the importance of certain lectures. This doesn’t seem like extra work, but an opportunity to revise and relish in how much I have grown during the course of my studies.
After my foundation year, I was also surprised over summer break with a lovely mention in an article written by my foundation lecturer, Aleks Catina. It was published in The Architectural Review. I excitedly bought the magazine, and it is something I will continue to look back on and share with others. When you work hard at London Met, it doesn’t go unnoticed. When you struggle, the lecturers are right there all the same.
What has been your favourite project or piece of work you’ve done so far in your degree?
The last project of my foundation year was called “The Explorer”. Students had to survey, record and observe a chosen site and design an object which would enhance a certain feeling which was present on the site. We could focus on light, sounds and movements. My site was the historical Artillery Passage in Spitalfields, right around the corner from campus. I became so enticed by the passage, endlessly researching and making various connections between history and present. This project taught me to think with my senses and notice the smallest details or happenings, and how these are necessary tools when designing. It was the perfect introduction to site observation and made me realise the importance of this before ever designing an actual building.
What do you like most about your course?
By now, it should go without saying that there are so many things I love about my course. Mostly, I love the connections I have made with fellow students. Being a bit of an outcast growing up, I can honestly say that I have never felt such a sense of belonging. Technically speaking though, the course itself offers a variety of teaching styles. I appreciate the way that modules are all interconnected. For example, an essay that you write in the Contextual and Critical Studies module will certainly play a part in your Projects and Design module. In some way or another, everything you are learning in separate modules is perfectly timed to compliment your understanding of the next module. This has really helped me to absorb and retain new information.
Do you have a favourite place in London?
Another question with many answers – haha! My favorite place in London is Taj Mahal restaurant in Streatham. It’s the first place I went to eat when arriving in London, and every time I go and sit down for a curry there it feels a little bit emotional. Though, to be a little bit more relatable and talk about a place that others might know, my other favorite place in London is the Barbican Centre. It’s an actual post-war microcosm, with almost everything a community needs to thrive. It’s the best place to go for a walk in my opinion. They put on some amazing art exhibitions as well, and it will be the first place I go when things start reopening after lockdown.
Any tips for new students who might be thinking about studying Interior Architecture and Design (including foundation year) at London Met?
Get your architectural drawing supplies/tools ready and have them before you begin so you can get an idea of how to use them. This is much more important than, say, studying up on various architecture movements or famous architects in the hopes of carrying a conversation with fellow students or lecturers. That information won't often be expected of you, but knowing how to use an adjustable set square definitely will be! Also, if you can, buy them in person at one of the amazing art stores around London Met, as opposed to on Amazon, because the quality is much better. My favorite store is Great Art in Hoxton. You won’t regret investing in your tools as you will use them for years and years to come.
Do you know what you’d like to do in the future or which career path you’d like to take?
I want to be certified by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). After that, I don’t know where architecture will take me. The great thing about a degree in architecture is that there are many directions you can go with it. I would love to do something community-based, possibly even residential. I can imagine myself employed at a smaller firm which identifies and solves local issues in community housing and development. I have also thought about studying product design as I have always wanted to invent things that can improve the human experience.
Thank you for such a detailed insight into your course, Hailey! Finally, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time at London Met that we didn't cover?
The experiences I’ve gained since studying at London Met are invaluable to me. I have changed and developed so much that who I was before is hardly recognisable to me now, and I’m genuinely proud of that growth.
Don’t be afraid to do the things you want to do. I was 24 when I began university again. I could have easily said that it was “too late” and I truly would have not known what I was missing out on. Utilise the help you’re offered in any necessary way you can. The support systems and faculty at London Met will help you through the whole process, from applying to preparing for your first day. The friends you meet will be there for you when things aren’t going your way. The place from which you moved will be waiting for you when you go back to visit. To any current or prospective students out there, international or studying in your home city, you are brave. The education you’re getting can only change your life in positive ways.