Exploring student perspectives at QUT’s School of Communication: Yonas Ngaturi
In 2018, QUT’s School of Communication launched its newly developed Bachelor of Communication degree allowing students to enroll in any of its five study areas: Digital Media, Media and Entertainment Industries, Journalism, Professional Communication, and Advertising and Public Relations.
Additionally, students in select study areas can pursue double degrees in business, information technology, justice, law, science, nutrition science, and public health, allowing them greater career flexibility and additional post-graduation options.
The Creative Industries Faculty, in which the School of Communication is housed, hosts more than 7,500 students. Of these, more than 10% are internationals and 63% are women. In 2019, QUT’s School of Communication was recognised as the country’s best and the 16th best worldwide. Beyond these statistics, though, what’s it like to be a student in our School?
“I like QUT’s constructive culture. Here, the teachers always praise us for our initial efforts. When they look at our work, they tell us what works first and then how we can improve later on.”
Q: What attracted you to QUT/The School of Communication?
I was looking for a school and course that has a balance between academic learning and the opportunity to develop some practical skills. I think QUT does that really well because the curriculum does exactly that by providing case studies to teach media theory and encourages students to draw connections between the theory and events happening in the media and around the world. There’s also flexibility for students to take up units beyond their study areas, which allows them to diversify their skills and knowledge.
Q. What skills or experiences learnt here will you take with you beyond the university?
I find that interdisciplinary collaboration is really important. I met a lot of people with different backgrounds and skills and that allows us to draw together our expertise to make a really refined outcome for our final projects and for the work we do. I’ve also become more attuned to wider forces in play. As examples, with design, I didn’t know about hierarchy or unity in design. With speech communication, I didn’t know about ethos and that you bring your authority as a speaker to the table. Or for social media, I didn’t know about networked publics or invisible audiences that you need to take into account. Things like diversity, ethics, or sustainability that I didn’t know had to be factored into projects.
Q. What advice do you have for students who want to study here?
Do your best to attend lectures, classes, and do your readings. Especially readings. They really do help you understand the content better and make you more aware of what’s happening in class. Avail yourself of the university’s resources. There are many tools, events, and people who can help you when you’re having difficulty in your academics or non-academics. They can also help you when you want to do more than what you’re doing already. They can help you find opportunities.
During your first year you’re mainly trying to adjust. After that, look to do more. The university does provide plenty of professional development opportunities and this could include student clubs, events, or programs that can help you grow as an individual or expand your network or skills. It’s good to keep an open mind and being willing to adapt. There’ll be a lot of new knowledge to learn and new people to meet. You have to learn how to accommodate their new perspectives and use those perspectives to make your work better.
Q. What’s something you’ve learnt here that would be difficult to learn on your own or elsewhere?
Given the flexibility of the School of Communication’s curriculum, I was able to learn new things like motion design, multimedia design, and was able to cultivate new skills in a safe, conducive, and constructive environment at QUT. I was able to discuss and analyse complex issues here which might be hard to do elsewhere as they might be considered sensitive. For example, we discussed the #metoo movement and role politicians play in the media. Through that analysis, it made me see everything is not black and white. It’s not one-sided. There’s always another side to the story or argument that would be equally as valid and valuable as the popular opinion. My studies at QUT have also equipped me with an ability to try new things. I find myself pushing myself out of my comfort zone more often and taking on projects that I might not have the complete idea on how to do or that I haven’t done before. This allows me to learn more and grow as a professional.
Yonas is also a Brisbane International Student Ambassador from 2019-20.
Hopefully these insights will provide a better perspective into what it’s like to be a student at Australia’s top-ranked School of Communication. If you’ve already completed a bachelor’s degree and are interested in further study and up-skilling your career, consider our newly launched Master of Digital Communication course or a doctoral-level qualification.