Kristina Jones is studying towards a BA (Hons) Illustration degree from the University of Hertfordshire, delivered 100% online by IDI. Living as a Canadian national in Ukraine, working full-time as a drama and music teacher, and caring for her four year old daughter, if it wasn't for the opportunity presented by online study, Kristina would not have been able to follow her dream of becoming an illustrator. Now taking full advantage of the chance to earn an internationally respected degree, Kristina is preparing herself for a bright future in the illustration industry.
Kristina has always been interested in art but never really thought of it as a serious career option until very recently:
"I love to create things with my hands and have taken art classes and worked on my own projects for many years. I found that I was thinking about whatever art piece I happened to be working on while I was doing other things. There never seemed to be enough time to really enjoy creating art."
However, after researching a variety of study options, she came across IDI's accredited art and design degree courses taught fully online to students all over the world:
"I was specifically looking for a degree programme and discovered that there are very few online programmes available that offer a full degree. The programmes that I did find were insanely expensive and didn't offer part-time study options. IDI was the perfect fit for me."
Living and working in Ukraine, Kristina and her family are thoroughly enjoying the experience of international life. She says she has not made any plans to travel back to Canada and is even considering travelling further:
"We moved to Ukraine when my daughter was three months old. My husband had a teaching position but I did not. Arriving in a foreign country with a new born baby and not knowing the language or culture was both terrifying and exhilarating. By far, those first few months were the most challenging of my life."
"I've been living in Ukraine for four years and will stay for at least one more. I love the international life and have no plans to return to Canada in the near future. We are currently in the process of applying to international schools around the world, but that is the beauty of an online degree, you can study anywhere."
It's not just the freedom of being able to take her studies with her to anywhere she chooses to move that Kristina is pleased with. She has also found her skills in illustration to have "improved dramatically" since starting out just a little over a year ago:
"I enjoy the hands-on work the most. I like the excitement of reading the brief and letting the ideas begin to flow on paper. I wouldn't say it's the most enjoyable thing, but I certainly have appreciated the digital skills I've had to acquire as well. Working on the computer has given me some great tools that I probably wouldn't have explored otherwise."
"The study site is well organized, efficient, and easy to navigate. It is easy to contact the tutors and both the tutors and the staff at IDI reply promptly with answers to any questions that arise."
Kristina has already experienced success outside of her course work and is confident that the skills she acquires will soon set her in good stead to begin a successful career as an illustrator:
"The confidence I gained after only a few months of study led me to offer my services to the school I work for. After seeing my work, I was hired to create all in-house design for school events and promotions. My hope is that this degree will allow me to teach art, which would definitely make me a more attractive teaching candidate."
"Ideally, in 10 years we will be somewhere that my husband can teach and I can illustrate from home. I can see myself designing and illustrating, children's books or (my real dream) school text books. Some of the text books I've worked with as a teacher are horrible!"
To anyone thinking about studying an art and design qualification with IDI, Kristina says she would be glad to recommend it:
"Don't wait for the perfect time! It doesn't exist. I'm amazed at how flexible my life has been. I've always found the time I needed and the support from tutors and other students is wonderful. I feel like this is something truly for me and I am immensely proud of the work that I am producing."
It's nearing the end of your Inspiration and Research week in #IDIFreshers - have you taken part yet?