Stories

Melanie Etchart - BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design, 2015

I use my time and expertise to support current and recent Leeds Beckett students through online Q&A sessions, helping current students and recent graduates to negotiate the realities of life and work after university.

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Underground bar with purple lighting and industrial look

You now work as a freelance interior designer after completing the BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design course in 2015. Can you tell us how you also help current students?

“I use my time and expertise to support current and recent Leeds Beckett students through online Q&A sessions, helping current students and recent graduates to negotiate the realities of life and work after university.

“I believe it is important that students have access to the realities of the professional world in order to have a better understanding of their aspirations. Life after university can be very daunting, for some more than others. It is particularly the most vulnerable and worried that I feel compelled to reach out to and hopefully give some clarity on what can be a very confusing experience.”

Why did you choose to study at Leeds Beckett?

“I chose Leeds Beckett University because the facilities and student support was outstanding in comparison to the other options that I had in mind. The course seemed very well rounded and Leeds was such a thrilling city that it was an easy decision to take. The course was very inspiring, it constantly challenged us to think outside of the box and it helped me discover myself as a creative. The course also gave me the opportunity to dive into many art disciplines and develop my interests and resources in a wider field, whilst it also taught me to apply the learnings into evocative and elaborate projects.”

What was your experience of being an international student?

“I came to study in the UK from Spain although I’m originally from Venezuela. As a migrant of different backgrounds, working my way around university in a different language and culture, was certainly a challenge. However, I found myself in a welcoming environment and fellow students or university staff helped me focus on my studies and explore my potential. Ultimately, hard work, dedication and passion have been the key tools that helped me be where I am.”

What do you enjoy about your job?

“I love creating spaces that improve people's lives and working with inspiring people that love what they do. Being an interior designer entails having many different roles. Research, space planning, concept design, sketching, visualising and project management are just some of the different aspects of the profession. It is a constant learning experience every single day and being able to take on different responsibilities makes the job exciting.”

What advice would you give to current students?

“Be kind to yourself and get plenty of sleep! Never be too scared to share your ideas; in my experience, constructive criticism and self-reflection are key to having successful ideas. University is the time to grow your interests, discover what creative process works best, and what makes your mind spark. Once at work, knowing where or how to find inspiration will prove key to achieve unique and beautiful projects.

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