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Yaqi Li

Jewellery and Objects - BA (Hons)

After graduating from high school in China, Yaqi came to the UK to fulfil her dreams of studying a subject she was truly interested in. When Yaqi started looking into course-related university rankings, one instantly stood out to her due to its highly respected and worldwide reputation - BCU’s School of Jewellery. After a successful Open Day, Yaqi decided to join the BA (Hons) Jewellery and Objects course and is now preparing for her future career with the support of BCU’s Careers+ team.

“As an international student, I found that the application process was very clear and efficient. The only thing I needed to overcome before I could start my journey at BCU, was the educational difference between China and the UK. I didn’t have a proper portfolio yet, so to get on the course, I spent half a year preparing one with design sketches and gaining the basic required knowledge.

On my first day at the School of Jewellery, I felt more than welcomed. All the staff were really helpful, friendly and enthusiastic. I felt extremely comfortable talking to them and asking them for help, which I think is a very important thing to be capable of doing as a fresher. The most challenging part was just getting used to university life. Unlike high school and primary school, we’re given a final deadline instead of a specific schedule telling you what to do every single day. I wasn’t used to that, so I needed to improve my time management and priorities to decide which tasks are more urgent and which can wait.

I used to be really quiet until I started studying here, but now I get many chances to speak for myself, communicate my ideas and discuss my design plans with the class. I feel like every department at BCU really knows what we as students, need and desire. With the lecturers’ guidance and support, I’ve become more professional in my practice and craft. In particular, silversmithing, which is essential in becoming a jewellery designer/ maker. Moreover, my ability to overcome challenges, whether personal or study-related, has gradually improved. Overall, Birmingham City University has made me a stronger individual.

I feel most proud of the moment my design pieces are finished. Recalling all the processes I have to go through to develop a design (e.g. sketches, models, 2D/3D exploration, samples, etc.), is a really challenging but intriguing and exciting process. During my first year, I really got to develop these abilities and I’m looking forward to getting a jewellery or design-related job or starting my own business.

I wanted to apply for a part-time job last year, but I had never written a CV or cover letter before, so I asked BCU’s Careers+ team for help. They offered me really great and insightful tips and tricks about how to act professionally and be noticed during interviews. All the information they gave me was really enriching and made me feel settled and confident about my application. Being part of BCU’s Career+ support system means I’ve also received guidance about branding and promoting myself, my image and my practice.

To me, ’I AM BCU’ means standing by the University I love and helping BCU to become better and better. It means sharing my stories and let more people know about this place which made me believe in myself. I really appreciate Birmingham City University for being thoughtful and welcoming and I want other students to feel the same as I do.”

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