Cody Steens says he has had “the best time of his life” after joining the Design Factory at Wintec and travelling to China on a prestigious Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia.
If you’d met Wintec student, Cody Steens two years ago, chances are you wouldn’t have guessed that in 2019 he’d be living in China and jumping at every opportunity that came his way.
In 2017, Cody was studying Graphic Design at Wintec, and was not someone who enjoyed taking centre-stage. In his own words – “I was an awkward person, who didn’t speak much”. Kind and caring, Cody would sit-back in group situations, and not propose ideas or put up his hand when the opportunity arose.
During this time, Cody chose to study at Design Factory NZ – Wintec’s specialised co-creation and innovation space. During the 16-week programme, Design Factory staff saw Cody gradually begin to involve himself more and more, taking opportunities and letting his voice be heard. He grew in confidence, learning how to communicate with business professionals, community leaders, academic staff and his team-mates, who came from a range of disciplines outside of his graphic design world.
When the opportunity came for Design Factory NZ students to attend a design competition in Chengdu, China – Cody jumped at the chance. Over the intense week, he got his first experience of international travel, a new culture and ended up leading his team’s presentation in front of an audience of more than 300 people.
This experience also planted the growth bug firmly in Cody’s mind. When he returned, he applied for a prestigious Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia to attend Chengdu University as a student and has now been living in China for six months, studying Post-Graduate Graphic Design and Mandarin.
“My friends that I have met along the way have made my experience here so much better,” says Cody.
“I've experienced some of the festivals and other cultural things during my time here. The food is one of my favourite parts, spicy and very different from the food back home. I have been to some traditional streets and temples, as well as the newer city. I've been to the countryside with some friends too, trying to see and do as much as I can.”
This new approach to life has had a powerful impact on Cody. Seeking to be relentlessly curious and positive, he has had opportunities to form new friendships and discover new skills that he did not realise he had.
Cody is a vocal advocate for the support and opportunities that Wintec’s Design Factory offered him. The core Design Factory module offers regular coaching, goal-setting and problem solving on real industry problems – all key contributors to Cody’s growth.
“I've had the best time of my life so far, experiencing so many new things, improving myself and still have half a year left!” says Cody.
“This is due to putting myself out of my comfort zone and just saying yes to things that I never thought I would do.”
The Design Factory team are delighted to be part of Cody’s story and look forward to having him back to share his experience with students and staff in late 2019.
Find out more about Wintec’s Design Factory NZ.
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