Sisters Soule Teh Su Lian and Berry Teh Chieng Fen, who are both studying Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture, recently brought back another award from the MIID Dulux Interior Design Students’ Saturday 2016 that was held in October.
Soule was the captain of the team which won 3rd Prize for Recyclable Dustbin Creation during the workshop competition that was organised by the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) and hosted by Erican College Kuala Lumpur.
MIID is the national institute representing the interior design profession in Malaysia. The institute conducts various programmes throughout the year to educate, promote and foster better ties between the public and its professional members.
As part of the University’s industry focused learning approach, students are encouraged to participate in various competitions, exhibitions and contests. The exposure enables students to gain real world experience and develop critical skills needed to compete in a multicultural work environment.
Taking the Initiative
Both sisters had just begun their classes at Limkokwing University when they received their first industry exposure.
“Initially, we had no intention to be involved in this competition,” said Soule. “We were just new to the University and the team did not have enough members.”
The sisters took it upon themselves to face the challenge by helping lead the group in the workshop competition.
“We had just transferred from another college and we didn’t know much about the competition,” she said while adding that they were quickly inducted into the competition by their lecturer.
They were briefed about the preparation and the details of workshop competition by the University’s lecturer as they joined the team. Their team discussed various aspect of the competition including design and concept.
“We had a lecturer who was in charge of our project,” said Soule. “She asked advice from someone in architecture to help them brainstorm new ideas for their designs.”
They learned how to source information while utilising their networking. The University’s staff were also very helpful in providing assistance to help source for various materials needed to create the design.
They also learned how to resolve conflicts while creating different revisions of various designs before establishing the final product design.
Open-Minded Advantage in Multiculturalism
During the workshop competition, both sisters worked with students from other countries.
“We have a multicultural atmosphere here, so that means that when you study you will be able to make friends from a different country,” said Soule. “It is quite a good opportunity for us.”
They describe Limkokwing as all about ‘Freestyle’ learning environment whereby students have numerous opportunities to express themselves and enhance their creative skills.
“You can innovate yourself to create a better design,” Berry explained while adding that students learn to ‘think out of the box’.
She also explained that students have greater creative freedom when studying in an open-minded learning atmosphere. At the same time, the University promotes a nurturing environment whereby students gain more confidence in their creations.
“When you are confident in your own creation, then it will be good for your future career.”
Improving Communication Skills
The experience enabled the sisters to improve their communication skills especially in terms of the English language mastery.
“Most of our classmates are not local,” said Soule. “So we had to learn to improve our English with them which helped us and our future.”
“It was a little bit hard to work with them at first,” Soule added. “We had to learn to overcome language barriers so we could communicate our ideas across different cultures.”
“Sometimes it is about having the right channels,” she said. Soule explained that while English is the main medium of communication, describing abstract ideas are often the most difficult part in many group related projects.
Berry also commented that the experience at Limkokwing University gave her more confidence to communicate her message to people from different countries. The experience also made her more willing to experiment with new ideas.
Advice to Other Students
“From my perception, you have to go to competition as much as possible so that you can get more exposure,” said Soule. “It might help your studies because when you go out, you can see something different.”
She added that this would enable students to see how others work while learning other useful skills that can make them more competitive.
“You can find inspiration and know how to do your work in a better way,” said Soule.
“Because of the awards you have received, you will become more recognisable and a lot of employers will know you, and they will try to hire you,” added Berry. “Then you get more opportunities to find work.”
They added that the experiences help students with their future careers as employers seek to hire and give priority to those who have received awards. Furthermore, the media exposure helps employers to notice promising talents.
“Don’t wait for people to find you, you must be proactive,” both sisters advised.