Nina: I already knew a lot about graphic design and web design, what I learned is how to build concepts for design and how to present concept to potential clients. Also through this I learned how to communicate and organise my work better. I would definitely encourage anybody to participate in this programme. I have a very positive experience being a parto of the programme, not only for getting new skills that will help me in building and managing my own business but also because I was living in another country, learned a new language and got to knew a new culture.
Website from Nina:
Fortystuff – www.fortystuff.si
Story: I come from Slovenia and ever since I was a child I wanted my job when I grew up to be connected to art. The career path I wanted changed from wanting to be a painter, interior designer, fashion designer to architect. But when I had to pick a college I chose to study theoretical politics, because this was seen as a more serious career path. I got my degree in political science in 2015 and started searching for a job. I got a job in pharmaceutical company Novartis where I was working as a buyer. Even tough my work was completely different from my childhood wishes, art remained to be my hobby. After 2 years working as a buyer I got opportunity to paint a few surfboards a friend made. Because of that I went surfing for the first time and my friend and I actually started a company of custom made surfboards and skateboards, named Dropin Boards. Soon we needed a logo and a website and I decided to learn how to do web design and graphic design. I found my passion for design again and quit my job as a buyer to gain skills needed to work in graphic design and web design. I started learning by making logos and other designs for businesses I knew for free and making designs for previously mentioned company Dropin Boards. When a friend told me about Erasmus programme I decided to apply, because I wanted to go to another country, learn new skills and go surfing. When I got accepted I saw HE Magid Motamedian has a business on Fuerteventura, which was perfect. He told me his company for 19 years mostly works in the field of graphic design and web design and that he is starting a new project named Street is culture. The vision for this project is to prevent youth and children to get involved in criminal activities, through teaching them about street culture such as skateboarding, breakdancing, graffiti art, parkour and bmx. Since I also skateboard and I used to breakdance, this was a perfect fit, which is why we decided to work together. I got to Fuerteventura a few weeks before the exchange started for vacation and to have a meeting with Magid. He told me he needs a person to help with graphic design and web design for different clients but that the focus will be on project street is culture. I expected I will gain experience in managing project and clients, building my design portfolio and learn Spanish.
Middle / during the exchange: Magid (HE) mostly has local clients from Fuerteventura and clients from Italy. We sometimes worked together each on our own computer and sometimes from home. Each day began with him calling me about stuff that needed to be done in the day, if there was no need for us to meet, I worked from home. Whenever we got a new project or client he explained me the details and we discussed how to start and until when the project needs to be finished. I liked that he always had trust in my abilities and aesthetics. Usually I made a design concept proposal which he reviewed and then gave me feedback about possible improvements and changes. In the beginning we presented the concepts to clients together so I learned about how to make presentations and later I presented and communicated to clients by myself. I also had a lot of input in project street is culture, because my responsibility was to make a website, manage social media and oversee the team that was based in Italy. The only obstacle I sometimes encountered was being overwhelmed by many different projects at the same time. Through this I learned to manage and organise my time better. Since my wish was also to learn Spanish, Magid decided to gave me responsibility to communicate with some of the local businesses in Spanish and to translate some of the content of Street is culture to Spanish. This was at the beginning scary, but later I realised this was a really good way to learn the language. I lived in a town Corralejo where I met a lot of people and made some amazing friends. My day consisted of working a few hours in the morning, surfing and then working a few hours in the afternoon. Coming from Slovenia I was not familiar with “siesta” – meaning taking a break from 2 to 5 p.m. After a while I realised that people in Spain just relax during this hours, so I did the same; working until 2 and then again after 5. I fell in love with the way people on this island live their life. In comparison with Slovenia I would say the environment on Fuerteventura is much less stressful and more relaxed.
End / after the exchange: My goals were to firstly to learn how to manage my own business and clients. Since I want to have a business that is selling services to people, I wanted to learn about best ways to communicate to clients on professional level. Since I already know a lot about design and can do design pretty much independently, it was easier to focus on getting better in communicating and Magid was very helpful with this, I learned a lot. Because I had a lot of different projects I also learned to organise and manage my time better. I liked that Magid gave an option to work and talk to clients independently, and was always available for any kind of questions. Working in this way made me even more sure about my abilities and I got confidence to run my own business. One of my goals was also to learn Spanish, which I could say was achieved. I do not speak perfectly, but I can communicate in Spanish normally. Coming out of the programme I am now sure I will open my business, the only question that remains is if I will go back to Slovenia or move to Spain.