Maud Colas finished her Product Design course in 2015 - she agreed to answer our questions and tell us about her educational path, her life in Scotland and her aspirations.
Maud, can you tell us about your academic background?
I got my advanced diploma in Product Design in 2015. It was a work-study program so I was taken on for 2 years in a company called Aric in Segré (49) specialized in lighting. Before my diploma, I did the first year of L’École de design Nantes Atlantique.
What made you decide to continue your studies? And why did go abroad? Why did you choose Napier University in particular?
I wanted to pursue my studies first of all to gain more knowledge before beginning my professional career, but also so that I could apply for more senior positions.
Ever since I left school I wanted to do part of my studies abroad. Firstly to improve my English but above all to experience another culture, meet new people and also discover another way of learning to become a designer.
I applied to Napier University because all the classes are in English of course and also because during my advanced diploma I had the opportunity to spend a week with some of the students from this university. It was this exchange which sparked my interest for Napier University. My apprenticeship supervisor at Aric had also spoken highly of it as one of his designer friends, Neil Poulton, studied there. Finally, I chose Napier as I was attracted by Scotland and its culture.
What do you do at Napier University?
I’m at this university for one academic year - I’m doing the third year of the Bachelor’s degree in Product Design. There’s no exam at the end but the year is validated based on continuous assessment.
What have you learnt at Napier? And what about in Edinburgh and Scotland?
At Napier, the working methods are very different, for example the research phase is really short compared to the projects we did for our advanced diploma, which I found really surprising at the beginning. There are also fewer teaching hours but more personal work. We regularly have to give presentations in front of the class so that everyone can give advice and suggestions on how to improve our work.
In terms of lessons, I have modules in product design similar to the kind of thing I did in France using 3D software, sketches, models, etc. But there are also some lessons which are totally new to me such as coding which give us a foundation in technology products, urban planning, etc.
I’m also learning a lot about Scottish culture outside of the classroom – what with bagpipes, haggis, kilts and whisky, we’re spoilt for choice! The people here are really friendly, and in spite of the rain, the landscapes in Scotland and especially in Edinburgh are stunning.
What do you plan to do after this year in Edinburgh? What are your ambitions for 2016-2017?
After this year at Napier, I’d like to join the Master’s program in Design Management and Innovation as an apprentice at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique. This Master’s degree is an apprenticeship program which is one of the reasons why I chose it, as the apprenticeship I did for my advanced diploma really helped me grow as a designer, and of course it gave me a lot of experience in the business environment. I also want to continue with this Master’s to develop my management skills.
How is this year abroad helping you to grow and mature?
This year abroad has helped me mature in different ways. Firstly, I feel a lot more independent; going to live and study by myself in a country I didn’t know has helped me learn how to manage on my own. I also think that this experience has made me more sociable and open-minded. This year in Edinburgh has been an amazing experience; I’ve met people from all over the world and learnt a lot about Scottish culture but also about the rest of the world.