Tatsu Ishikawa is a BA (Hons) Graphic Design graduate who left his home near Tokyo, Japan, to join the college.
We talked to him about making the move to study in the UK, how the college helped to make it a smooth transition, and his experience of studying in Plymouth.
Hi Tatsu, so why did you decide that you wanted to travel and study abroad?
I knew that studying graphic design and improving my English by moving and living in the UK would be the best way to progress my career and help me get a job once I graduated.
And I’m also really interested in the UK’s subcultures, music and style – everything really. Even though I’d never been abroad before, I just really wanted to experience UK culture first hand.
"It’s been even better than I expected. I made some great friends and had really good lecturers and loads of nice colleagues as well.... I hadn’t imagined that I would experience so much.”
How did you find the process of applying to the college as an international student?
It was really smooth. I was able to send my portfolio digitally for my Programme Leader to see, and I had a lot of contact with [college Admissions Manager] Susannah Chambers before I arrived. When I found out I’d got into the college I nearly cried – I was just so happy.
One of the reasons I chose to study at the college was how friendly and helpful Susannah is. Susannah helped me get to the college, and even helped me find a room! When I arrived into Plymouth train station, she was waiting for me with ‘Welcome Tatsu’ written on a name board. She’s my hero.
"I also had a great opportunity to brand the college’s Fashion Show in 2014. I produced the creative, designed the lookbook, and photographed student work."
What were some of your favourite things about the city?
Plymouth is quite a chilled-out and relaxed place, which helped me to settle in. I really like Royal William Yard and I love the Hoe. It was the first time I’d had an ocean view in my hometown so it was really amazing. And I like the pubs!
I’ve been to lots of gigs, exhibitions and shows, and also explored other beautiful local areas like Exeter, Totnes and St Ives....St Ives has the most beautiful ocean views I’ve seen in my life. It’s a completely different experience to my country, but a really positive one.
And how did you find the course?
It was great. In my first year, we covered loads of printing techniques: hand-printing techniques like lino printing, screen printing, and letter pressing. I hadn’t experienced anything like that before, so it was very interesting.
All the desks have Macs, which is great. It was even better than I thought. I also had a great opportunity to brand the college’s Fashion Show in 2014. I produced the creative, designed the lookbook, and photographed student work.
Afterwards, the fashion lecturers came back to give me more branding design projects, which was great because it meant that the client was really happy with my work. That project gave me loads of confidence.
So, looking back, moving to the UK and choosing to study in Plymouth has been a good decision?
Yeah, it’s been even better than I expected. I made some great friends and had really good lecturers and loads of nice colleagues as well.... I hadn’t imagined that I would experience so much. So yes, looking back it was a great decision.
And what are you up to now?
I’m working as an in-house designer at 33seconds on several projects for big clients such as Peugeot, Amazon and Greenpeace. It’s challenging, but I’m excited and enjoying learning new things and skills through my job.