Getting accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was honestly very unexpected. I applied not expecting to get in...just hopeful.
Well, I did get in, and I have successfully completed 2 incredibly amazing and difficult years, with a well deserved Associates Degree.
FIT has more than 8% of its students coming from outside the United States, majority being from asian countries. I got to be a part of that percentage which, looks like a small percentage but it really didn't feel that way since I encountered more international students on campus than I did Americans - and thats not because I went for International Student Services (ISS) events or anything.
All the questions asked were very similar so I chose 6 main ones that pretty much sum up my experiences at FIT in Q and A form. Enjoy:
Q. What's it like working in America as an International student?
A. In my 2 years as an international student at FIT I had a lot of wonderful moments but of course I was also pretty limited in the things I could freely do. I'm in America on an F1 VISA so I could only work on campus for a year, then apply for a Curricular Practical Training (CPT ) or Optional Practical Training (Pre-OPT) to work outside school, so I worked at the school's bookstore for my 2 years at FIT - good side cash. Now that I'm done I can work wherever I want as long as its in line with the major I studied (Fashion Design) since I applied for the OPT which gives me a year to work before I begin my Bachelors next fall
Q. How did you manage Rent and living expenses
A. My Parents are a huge help in this area lol. Rent in New York is pretty expensive depending on where you live. It's important to be a girl on a budget, but Im quite the spendthrift, so my on-campus job gave me enough money for other expenses and some school supplies. Food is not as expensive, but it's always best to cook and eat out occasionally - I hardly follow this though haha; cooking is not my favorite thing to do, but lucky me, I have people around me who enjoy it and voluntarily do that for me sometimes :)
(I do cook occasionally, I promise, haha)
Q. Did you get a scholarship to study?
A. Sadly no. FIT doesn't offer scholarships for International students, but they did introduce us to SALT, which helps you find Scholarships outside the school as well as manage student loans and all that.
Q. Are you moving back to your homeland?
A. Eventually, YES! I honestly am looking forward to settling back home with my family and friends, but I also have so much I want to do before I move back so I'm working on that. I'm not trying to work on citizenship here or anything because that's not the goal...I love that I have a Ghanaian passport!
Q. Did you experience racism at school?
A. FIT is such a diverse community. So no, I didn't experience racism at school the way I did outside that community - people are very careful to say the 'right' things to each other - but I did have ignorant people place me in a bubble, assuming I didn't know as much as they did because I'm from .
Q. What is studying Fashion Design at FIT like...Honestly?
A. This question had me crying!! Did someone lie to you about studying fashion??
Well, honestly, it's exhilarating, stressful, very hands on and you learn A LOT! I took about 6 classes each semester (hmmm the struggle) and juggled that and work pretty well considering most of these classes were practical.
Once you love what you're doing it's not as difficult to get through it, because you're looking forward to the end result. FIT is not a joke, so you definitely have to be ready for some ass kicking training - very worth it though.
Now revel in these beautiful photos of my final semester garment that got into the AAS Exhibition themed "CABINETS OF CURIOSITIES". Inspired by the items traders and explorers to Africa bought or stole as souvenirs and CURIOS. I focused on my Ghanaian cultural background, weaving different Kente fabrics together to represent both textiles and basketry stolen for curios.The embellishments represent the gold artefacts taken as well.
I made a CURIOS in the form of a garment