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Studying Creative Arts and Design abroad

Why should you study Creative Arts and Design abroad? While this field sounds like a creatively-fulfilling area, what can you actually do once you've graduated? Read our full guide...

Creative Arts and Design abroad

What is Creative Arts and Design?

The name – particularly the ‘Creative Arts’ aspect – may seem a little broad or vague. It’s really an umbrella term which covers the study of any subject which allows students to express themselves in some manner, whether using their own bodies to do this or in some physical or tangible object or structure.



Why should you study Creative Arts and Design?

Many people like to think of themselves as ‘creative’ in some way and usually they express this in a hobby or personal interest which is separate from their studies. However there is no reason why you can’t turn this passion into something you study, and even a career later on – after all, retirement is a long way away so you might as well find a career you enjoy! If you’re talented (and fortunate) enough, you can make a good living salary-wise, though many who do find a career in this area will say that they also get a great deal of personal satisfaction each day from their job which they wouldn’t trade in.


Some students may not envisage themselves working a regular 9 to 5 job in an office for one company; for them this might bore them completely! Instead they would prefer a greater sense of flexibility in the way they work, when it comes to hours, location, who they work with, their employer etc. This constant change keeps them fresh and creative. The Creative Arts and Design field can offer more opportunities for freelancers and independent contractors. In exchange for some of the stability you get with working as a full-time employee for a company, you can really explore the world and enjoy a greater sense of variety in your work.


Plus the sectors which Creative Arts and Design qualifications lead to are amongst the more glamorous out there, including advertising, fashion and show-business. As well as the monetary reward, there is also the opportunity to rub shoulders with the rich and famous!



Who would be good at Creative Arts and Design?

Because Creative Arts and Design covers so many different areas, from performance to design, it really depends on where a student’s interest and talent lies. Usually the field attracts students with big imaginations who have always thrived in expressing themselves through dance, drawing, writing, crafts, music etc. Imagination is especially important in courses where you are charged with creating physical objects and pieces of work from nothing (here patience, foresight and analytical skills are also important). Students must also be prepared to be creative even when they’re tired or when they don’t feel like being so, fully immersing themselves in what they’re working on at all times (this might come as a bit of a shock to those who are studying something they have previously done for pleasure in their free time). A great deal of persistence and determination will help students once they graduate and are competing with others to grab those first career opportunities.


Those areas which involve practical performance will require students to be confident performing in front of an audience in addition to the technical skills required (this is where previous experience performing will help).


While there may be some theory involved, many Creative Arts and Design courses are far more practical in how they are taught and assessed. So if you’re not particularly academic, this isn’t necessarily a negative which goes against you – in fact after years of high school education and academic culture, this will be completely refreshing.



What is the criteria for studying a Creative Arts and Design course?

When applying, you may have to put together a portfolio which showcases your previous work, experience and skills. This might include examples of designs, drawings, paintings, crafts etc. which you’ve produced. You may even have to perform as part of an audition or provide evidence of this.


You should always check the entry requirements for a course with the university themselves.



What specific courses can you study?



What can you do with a Creative Arts and Design qualification?

This will depend on what you study. Because the field is concerned with leisure, entertainment and culture – as opposed to supposedly ‘essential’ subjects like the STEM fields or Medicine – there are fewer opportunities to make a living, though they do exist!

Many who study performance-based courses like Music and Theatre & Drama Studies will do so to fulfil a dream of becoming a professional performer, either nationally or internationally. Others move into teaching their field to others, which is also an excellent opportunity and can prove more stable than waiting for work to come to you.

Those who study design-based subjects can move into roles as designers, either in-house, at an agency or self-employed.

Here are just some of the career paths you can take:

  • Artist
  • Musician
  • Actor
  • Interior designer
  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Photographer
  • Animator
  • Fashion designer

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About Author

Creative Arts and Design abroad

Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience. When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.

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