An Intense Orientation Week

I moved to London two weeks ago. Actually Kingston would be a better word for London, since 90% of my life takes place in Kingston. Living in the UK won’t be a new experience for me since I did my BA here but I’m actually really excited for this master’s degree, living in Kingston and being close to London. Before arriving to Kingston, I had some assumptions about what the course would be about, but wasn’t really sure until the end of the first week. I basically thought it would be about creative industries, start-ups and in my case, business management. Apparently my main assumptions were true, but I never thought we would talk about so many interesting ideas and concepts within these subjects.

Our orientation week was very well planned, intense, informative and fun at the same time. We got to know our classmates and our course director Janja Song. We got introduced to the course and to the learning facilities. We also went to London and visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, which was a fascinating experience.

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At the end of our week, the concept that we were exposed to was ‘home’. We viewed the idea of ‘home’ from 4 different aspects: space, relationships, place and things. We used this table to understand the concept better. We watched interesting short clips of people living differently all around the world. They all had their own particular understandings of their idea of home. For example one couple lived in a house which they found through Airbnb and they changed locations in New York every 1-2 months. For them, the concept of home was their relationship: they experienced living in different houses together and their connection was the main thing that made them feel at home. I had never thought about the concept of home so deeply in my life.

On Friday, apart from watching the videos, we were sent outside in pairs to talk to people about their idea of home and we came up with one character and a story. Every pair presented their character to the class and we chose our groups according to which character we wanted to work with. My group worked on the character Patrick, who was from Nepal and was missing home, his mom’s cooking and he didn’t like cooking in his own kitchen. It was the traditional family food that made him feel closer to home. So we came up with a service, an app called ‘From Heart’ that would turn mom’s recipes into a meal in a restaurant.

nika-1Nika Turkovic (2016)

We collaborated really well and presented our idea to the class. And actually some of the international students in class said they actually liked the idea and that they would try it if it was a real business. I really liked other groups’ ideas as well, they all had great ideas and they all presented their ideas confidently.

When I got out of the class I realised that these two days had gone by so fast and that I had enjoyed every second of it. I was quite nervous about this weekend because finding an idea and coming up with a business plan seemed very difficult, but we actually did it quickly and easily. Also Janja had told us that this weekend would be a mini version of our startup experience this year. So I reassured myself that this year’s startup experience was nothing to be scared of.

In general, the lean startup weekend was a great experience for me where I realised finding a new business idea was not as tough as I had expected, especially if you had a framework to work within. It was also really interesting working around the concept of ‘home’. We of course talked about many more interesting topics during the orientation and the first week of the course so I will write about them very soon. I can gladly say that the orientation week has been a successful start for the challenging masters programme that awaits us.

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