Leaving her home in India to further her study in architecture was a big step for Divya. So when deciding on a university, she wanted to find one where she’d be supported, challenged and encouraged to grow both professionally and personally.
After discovering two of her architectural inspirations – AIA gold medal winners Richard Leprastrier and Peter Stutchbury – were professors in practice for the University of Newcastle’s Master of Architecture program, she knew she’d found her fit.
“I found out that two of my idols were professors at the University of Newcastle and from there, I looked at a few of the projects produced by students and could see everyone's methodology was well respected.
“The University has plethora of professors who guide you through each and every step. I love the fact that every design detail has been a product of intense research.
“I’m so grateful for the studio spaces we’ve been provided. Watching people work motivates me to work – I’m definitely competitive but in a constructive way,” Divya said.
Not only has Divya been mentored by experienced, award-winning architects, she’s also had the chance to work alongside them on a project in Brazil.
“Last year I participated in an elective course guided by Peter Stutchburyin Brazil where we collaborated with a local community-run childcare center that was being built.
“This experience helped me understand the language of architecture and that the most beautiful things are actually quite simple.
“I saw how much happiness it created in the community and it helped me realise my goal of making people smile through architecture no matter the scale of the project.”
As for life in Newcastle, Divya says there are plenty of ways to overcome feeling homesick.
“I’m a part of Indian Students Association University of Newcastle (ISANU) which is a great opportunity to get together regularly to binge on food and conversation.
“Newcastle has a great art scene, so I usually go the Newcastle Art Gallery or the Lock Up or listen to bands. After a hard day’s work, I might even head to the Greenroof with my uni friends to de-stress.
“If there’s one piece of advice I could offer it’s don’t stick to your community – branch out and meet new people and enjoy exploring new cultures,” Divya said.
Divya Rashmi moved from India to Newcastle to study a Master of Architecture at the University of Newcastle.
The University has plethora of professors who guide you through each and every step. I love the fact that every design detail has been a product of intense research.