An International POV with Ahmed Salim

Photo courtesy of Ahmed Salim.

SCAD has a diverse student population with students coming from all 50 states and from all over the world. 15 percent of SCAD’s student population is international and these students come from over 100 different countries. The experience of coming to college and leaving home for the first time can be daunting. For many of these students, they are accepting the struggle of long plane rides far away from their homes, families and familiar surroundings to step into what can be a total culture shock. Admed Salim is just one of these students who adds to the diverse culture that make up SCAD life and without people like him, our creative atmosphere would be lack luster.

Chel Howard: Would you mind introducing yourself and saying where you’re from?

Ahmed Salim: My Name is Ahmed Salim and I’m from Niamey in Niger, West Africa. I’m 25 and I’m a senior majoring in Graphic Design.

CH: As an international student why did you decide to study design?

AS: Basically I didn’t know much about design at first. I came here like most people from where I’m from choosing something safe, something we knew of. I started in IT at another college. I took a foundation Graphic Design class as an elective. The professor, Timothy Hartfield, was a graphic designer. He saw I had potential and told me about the philosophy of graphic design. He became a mentor and through him I learned about SCAD.

CH: What have been some challenges you have faced and overcame being an international student?

AS: French being my native language, I would say the main challenge was the language barrier.

CH: Do you feel your culture and background have influenced your design? And if so, how?

AS: I think as designers cultural background definitely influences us as far as having different experiences and different sources of knowledge. For example, when doing projects that are targeting an international audience, you want to take into consideration the different cultural ideals and try to use them together without compromising one culture over another. Knowing information that you can’t necessarily get from going to the library and having a different cultural upbringing could be a blessing. Having those different experiences and having that knowledge; if you can turn them into useful information then they can help you turn into a multifaceted designer.

CH: You have traveled quite a bit, where was your favorite place you have been to?

AS: Here, simply because this is a place of opportunities and a place where if you apply yourself the sky is the limit. I can access any information; I can learn anything I want to learn. Also this a place where I have history and family. I’ve visited the U.S. ever since I was a kid.

CH: Your graduating soon, what is one of your favorite memories you’ll be taking away with you?

AS:  Not so much as memories I will be taking with me but mostly the knowledge I’ve acquired here at SCAD and also the relationships. I’m happy if I can leave this place with all that.

CH: What are you planning for the future? Any potential jobs lined up or internships?

AS: I want to be a multifaceted designer and work on different projects. One of my biggest interests right now is branding which I would love to specialize in but ultimately what I want for the future is to bring design to my hometown and show its true power and potential in a place where creativity is often overlooked and where innovation is a scary concept for diverse reasons. Good design is good business and I want to make that a clear fact in Niamey.

If you are or know someone who is looking to become a SCAD international student, see the SCAD international admission information.