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International Baccalaureate paves path to success

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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) laid the perfect foundation for a BA in Architecture for ACG School Jakarta alumna Anisa Mini.

Now in her second year at London’s University of Westminster, Anisa says the two years she spent at ACG School Jakarta prepared her well for the rigorous requirements of her university studies.

“My course is quite intensive, and we have to produce a lot of work every week, from drawings and model making, to client research and site analysis. Having so many different modules and deadlines can get stressful and being surrounded by students who are just as driven, it definitely can be a challenge to stand out from my peers,” says Anisa.

“But during the IBDP there were also a lot of subjects to handle at once. Time management was a crucial skill that I developed which definitely eased my transition to university.”

The IBDP also helped her discover her optimum way of studying.

“Everyone is different and whatever works for them might not necessarily work for you. Some people are visual learners, some are auditory learners so finding the optimal way to study and manage time brings big benefits in the long run. The IBDP helped me do this.”

Half French, half Indonesian, but born and raised in Indonesia, Anisa has had a passion for art since childhood. However, it wasn’t until Year 10 when she developed a fascination for science and maths, that her interest in architecture was triggered. Now she has her sights set on not just becoming a certified architect but starting up her own architecture firm.

“There’s a phrase often mentioned in architecture, ‘An architect’s dream is an engineer’s nightmare’. I find this both funny and inspiring. There is no end to where our ideas and designs can stop (unless the engineers say so!). Beyond looking at a building itself, architecture enriches society and helps deliver messages.”

With great IBDP results and an outstanding art portfolio, Anisa had her pick of universities.

“I was pretty confident about getting into a good university because the IBDP is widely recognised worldwide, and I’d had a lot of friends who had completed the programme and gotten into great universities all over the world.

“All of my university options were UK based, but some were in smaller cities such as Edinburgh and Belfast. In the end I decided London would be the best fit because I had visited the city the summer before and loved it. The University of Westminster is also registered and accredited under RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) which was essential for me.”

Anisa couldn’t be happier with her choice.

“London is an amazing city. There’s always something happening in different parts of the city, which is a great bonus as a student who needs to constantly be inspired. I think that a lot of students pressure themselves to pick a university with the best rankings. Of course this is very important, but at the same time, if you don’t enjoy your surroundings outside of university, the whole student experience won’t be as enjoyable.

“Being in London where I’m surrounded by so much architecture is incredible and my course enables us to go on site visits and explore a bit instead of being cramped up in the studio constantly.”

Industry talks from leading experts have been a regular highlight however Anisa says the most memorable part of her studies so far was being tasked with recreating the work of SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), one of the most influential architecture, interior design, engineering and urban planning firms on the planet.

“We had to use software such as Rhino and then create models with laser cutters. At the end there was an exhibition and people from SOM came to look at our work. It was definitely very nerve-wracking but at the same time it was extremely enjoyable.”