A firm foundation – and friendships – help Sidney succeed.

UTS Foundation Studies Outstanding Graduate Sidney believes in speaking up.
UTS Foundation Studies Outstanding Graduate Sidney believes in speaking up.

Outstanding Graduate prize-winner in UTS Foundation Studies, Sidney Hana Kho, says the number one factor that helped her succeed was having good friends. “Never underestimate the importance of having someone you can talk to. It might be your parent, or a friend you make through your studies,” she says. “You really never know how much they can help you when things get hard. I know it’s good to rely on yourself to a point, but one of the things that helped me most having strong communication. Remember, you don’t have to go it alone.”

Sidney has been studying from her home in Jakarta, Indonesia, but she hopes to travel to Sydney to complete her Diploma of Design and Architecture in 2022, before enrolling in Bachelor of Visual Communication at UTS. Studying abroad has always been her dream. She says, “I think one of the most important reasons to study abroad is to gain experience in an environment where you mix with people from different cultures. I’m curious about the world.”

Building valuable skills
She chose UTS College with some help from her mother. “My Mum recommended UTS because she knows I’ve wanted to study design for the longest time. The art program at my high school wasn’t so strong and I wanted to build my basic design skills before going to UTS. But before starting my diploma, I wanted to get accustomed to the way Australian education works. That’s one of the reasons I began with UTS Foundation Studies,” she says. “It helped develop a certain awareness of what to expect in the future. For example, the workload in many ways was similar to high school, but there was a lot more reading and group work. I got much more accustomed to talking and working with other people, even when there are cultural and language differences.”

UTS Foundation Studies has helped Sidney feel more confident as she proceeds with her studies, and she found certain subjects particularly beneficial. “Academic Skills was a useful subject for me. All that referencing was unfamiliar to me at first, and now I think it’s one of the most important skills,” she says. Other subjects have helped her make a good start towards her future as a designer. “We had a subject called Multimedia, where I learnt Photoshop and all those basic skills. It sparked my interest to learn more, and now I feel like I have a good foundation to build on,” she says.

Making friends in any situation
Above all, Sidney values the friendships she’s made at UTS College. She says, “I wasn’t sure I’d make friends because I was studying online, but meeting my friends was the most memorable part of my experience.” She’s now a firm believer that, with the right attitude, you can make friends in any situation. “No matter how awkward you feel,” she advises, “try to speak up and make the first move. That can be the starting point for a new friendship, or just to make a good impression on your teacher. Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask a question. It’s okay – be brave and you’ll build your confidence.”

Sidney is excited to be moving a step closer to her UTS degree. At this stage she’s not certain what path she’ll take once she’s completed her studies, but she’s attracted to the fashion world. She says, “I always wanted to work in fashion, or magazine editing. That’s my dream, but I’d be excited to take any industry jobs that would give me experience. I know a strong foundation is the most important thing.”