Kelly Fernandes

Originally from Mumbai, India, Kelly Fernandes is studying a Bachelor of Design Innovation at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington.

Portrait of Kelly Fernandes

What’s your name and where are you from?

Hey! I’m Kelly Fernandes. I am originally from Mumbai, India. My family and I moved to New Zealand when I was 4 years old where I got a glimpse of this beautiful place I now call home. We moved back to India when I was 6, where I studied IB/ Cambridge and then returned to Auckland to complete High School.

Please tell us a little about yourself

I have always absolutely loved the creative side to everything. It simply makes the world a bit more playful and fun! As a child, my favorite pastime was drawing or trying new clothing styles or even painting fun styles on my little brother's nails! He never lets me live that down unfortunately.

In school my favorite classes were art or design related though I also enjoyed science. Over the past few years fitness, nutrition and psychology have become interesting to me as well.

How did you hear about the Future Designer’s scholarship?

In my last year of high school we were encouraged to look through scholarships for our university. I had applied for this one and also the Leavers Scholarship by chance really, not even fully thinking of moving out of Auckland. Getting these two scholarships was a big push for the move to Wellington and I am so grateful for it now that I have learnt so much from this experience in a new city.

What do you study and why did you choose to study at Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington?

At the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to study something along the lines of design but was never sure. The only universities that seemed to offer design at the time were in Auckland and Wellington.

Victoria University of Wellington has many opportunities for students (especially in the first year) and the Bachelor of Design Innovation was ideal for me and a hard opportunity to pass up. It was amazing how in your first year you can experiment with all the papers before starting to pivot to one pathway.

Why did you choose your degree?

Art and Design and Visual Communications at school provided a fun but solid base that helped me develop skills before university. These classes steered me towards the degree. Design also provides many opportunities for exciting careers.

How would you describe your student experience on the first year?

Absolutely crazy and new. These were great experiences I was lucky to have. It has been one of the most valuable years of my life. I have made new friends and gained skills from various experiences that pushed me to become the best version of myself so far.

What advice would you give the prospective students?

Do not be afraid to try new things, especially in your first year of university. Possibly try to find yourself in a new city, out of your comfort zone. Maybe even discover a different side of yourself through new experiences and most importantly - remember that everyone starting their university life is in the same boat as you, so don’t be afraid to talk to them.

What is Wellington like to live while studying?

Wellington is a lively and fun place with a creative vibe. The atmosphere is friendly and open minded, which is perfect to start your university/independent life in. Living a few minutes away from campus makes it much more enjoyable and university work easier to complete. The many attractions around such as Mt Victoria, the waterfront, botanical gardens, the numerous restaurants and bars are wonderful to explore.

Any memorable moments, projects, courses or lecturers from the first year? What made them memorable?

I think the biggest motivator is watching others do the same project as you but with a completely different perspective. Some fun courses I enjoyed were DSDN151 (graphic) which involved creating a brand of your liking and DSDN152 drawing. I also picked up Design Psychology as my minor later on in the year. It is a wonderful course where you fully focus on the user and their experience.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Don’t say no to new experiences due to the fear of not knowing what to do.

If you could say one thing to current high school students?

Have a goal you’re working towards constantly so you’re always taking a step in some direction. From saving more money than the month before, to getting a grade better than the assignment before, or being a bit more confident around new people. Find a goal that suits you.

Plans for the future?

I guess I’ll find out as I go along with my courses and see what inspires me the most.

What would someone be surprised to know about you?

I have traveled to more than 25 countries, starting with an elephant safari in Nepal when I was just 6 months old. Some of the most enjoyable were Italy, Greece, USA, Canada, Bahamas, Fiji, Samoa, Malaysia, Dubai, China, Thailand and my most recent being France. In 2019, I traveled to Paris alone for a month and lived with a friend who had come to New Zealand as an exchange student. These experiences have broadened my horizons and showed me that there is beauty in different ways all over the world.