Student blog post

Taking a leap of faith to study in Dundee

Student Danila explains why she chose to study at DJCAD and the University of Dundee.

On this page

I grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria and for as long as I can remember, there were a few things I knew for certain; with my mum being a teacher, education is extremely important, and I have always been expected to do well in school. I cherish learning and finding ways to grow as a person.

Even then, I am the kind of person who needs to work on something I am passionate about or I struggle to keep my focus. Growing up I always loved the arts; music, literature, art, film, anime… All of it! I always knew I would end up in a creative career, I just was not sure if it would land on music or literature or illustration.

I caught a flight at the beginning of September 2020 and moved to Dundee almost on a whim, having applied to study through Clearing in July. Arguably this was one of the most challenging things I have done, but also the most rewarding and wonderful experience that led to me gaining a lot more than an excellent degree. It has made me determined to continue working on my goals, even when I felt like the world as I knew it was falling apart and I started building up my support system from scratch.

A study experience to remember

Being good with technology and loving digital art and design meant Digital Interaction Design was the perfect course for me as it allowed me to combine both skill sets, as well as the opportunity for a stable and successful career. I have learned so much, not only about digital design and tools I can use, but also about human behaviour, how to prioritise people and their needs at the core of design.

I have made great friends and was able to take on a placement with the Scottish Government that deepened my understanding of what it means to work with a community and focus on accessibility, including everyone regardless of their ability support needs.

I have been thoroughly challenged - but then again, that is exactly what I wanted.

I have now finished my dissertation and am working on my Honours project to present at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) Degree Show in May. Wish me luck!

Why University of Dundee/DJCAD?

First and foremost, it offered the best course for me. I was able to get support towards my tuition fees and it was manageable to work part time to support my living costs.

When I was looking at options for university, I did thorough research on each prospective university’s website and social media account and for me the University of Dundee and DJCAD seemed the most welcoming and international-friendly. There were so many societies, clubs and social events to explore, and I’ve been able to make life-long friends who I now consider family.

The city is small enough to be affordable, but big enough to offer a lot of options for entertainment and access to shops. It’s also close enough to Glasgow and Edinburgh to be able to take a flight home when I wanted to see my family. I have also been able to go to big concerts (so far, I have seen Ed Sheeran, Paramore and Against the Current, live in Glasgow and Harry Styles in Edinburgh!) - making priceless memories.

It’s not been easy to juggle working and studies - but it has been worth it! Being away from family and the environment I grew up in has forced me to choose for myself how I want to live my life and find out what I want from it! I’ve grown so much as a person and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far.

The University of Dundee and DJCAD has been a great support along the way with its student services. In the last 2 years, I have been working with the Counselling and Mental Health Service to help me build sustainable coping mechanisms and a habit of prioritising my health.

Overall, 10/10 would recommend to anyone considering applying to University of Dundee.  

Danila Petrova

Originally from Bulgaria, studied Digital Interaction Design.

View student content creator's page

Student voice category Study, Courses