When Salma Amin Alfatwa walks across the Yorkville University convocation stage to collect her Bachelor of Interior Design degree next week, it will be her second time doing so.
The first time the Class of 2023 valedictorian earned a degree in her field of passion was in 2018 in Saudi Arabia, where she was recognized amongst the most outstanding students in her program.
After settling in Canada the following year, she quickly realized that she would need to earn Canadian credentials in order to gain work in the field of Interior Design here in her new home – and in 2020, she decided to enroll at Yorkville University to fulfill that dream.
“Today, as a Yorkville University alumna, I realize that choosing this university to continue my education was a great step forward in my academic career,” she said.
“Now, I can proudly say that I hold two degrees in Interior Design – each earned from a different country.”
Amin Alfatwa recently sat down to reflect on her time at Yorkville University and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
What brought you to Yorkville University? Where were you in your life/career when you decided to continue your studies with us?
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Saudi Arabia in 2018, I decided to pursue another degree in my field of study, this time from Canada. I chose Yorkville University as it offers the same program that I already have a degree in. During my first visit to the university, I got a warm reception and the program advisor, who insisted upon looking at my transcript, told me that Yorkville University is the right fit for me, and I am the right fit for it. Today, as a Yorkville University alumna, I realize that choosing this university to continue my education was a great step forward in my academic career.
What made you decide to pursue your studies in Interior Design?
At the age of 14, I discovered my passion for interior design when I came across a magazine showcasing a luxurious villa’s interior design. The unique blend of styles, furniture, and colors used in the designs captured my attention, which motivated me to learn more about the associated area of study. Upon learning more about the field of interior design, my interest in this field only grew stronger, until I was firm on the idea that when I grew up, I wanted to pursue a degree in interior design and be a well-recognized interior designer. Now, I can proudly say that I hold two degrees in interior design, each earned from a different country.
What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at Yorkville University?
One valuable lesson I learned during my time at Yorkville University is the importance of never being afraid to ask for help or clarification. Asking questions is a crucial part of the learning process and can help to deepen one’s understanding of the subject matter. Whether one is seeking guidance from a professor, collaborating with peers, or reaching out to industry professionals, asking for help demonstrates a commitment to growth and development.
What are your plans after graduation, both immediate and long-term?
Following my graduation from the Interior Design program, my immediate plan has been to seek employment with a reputable design firm specializing in residential design. By doing so, I aim to expand my knowledge and gain practical experience in the area of residential design under the guidance of an experienced supervisor. Additionally, this will enable me to stay up to date with the latest trends and innovations in residential design.
My long-term goal is to establish my own interior design business. By maintaining constant personal growth in the field, I am confident that I will have the vision, creativity, and business acumen to achieve this dream. Additionally, I plan to take my professional development to the next level by obtaining the NCIDQ certification.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
My advice to incoming interior design students would be to stay curious, keep an open mind, and never stop learning. Interior design is a constantly evolving industry with new trends, technologies, and innovations emerging regularly.
Finally, it is important to enjoy what you are doing, because having a strong passion and interest in the tasks you are working on will greatly help you to achieve success.