Interior Design students learn from the best in Hong Kong

Interior Design students learn from the best in Hong Kong

Declan Shipper and Lu Liu spent one month interning at the Woods Bagot Hong Kong studio, working full-time in their Interior Design Retail and Workplace Design teams.

As part of the Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours), students can gain valuable industry experience through internships in their third and fourth years.

One industry partner that offers an international internship is Woods Bagot, an architectural firm with offices all over the world, including Melbourne and Hong Kong.

Declan and Lu, fourth-year Interior Design students, were presented with the opportunity by their program manager, Dr Phoebe Whitman, late last year and were encouraged to apply.

Five people stand in front of a blue 'Woods Bagot' sign. Declan and Lu lived in Hong Kong for a month whilst working full-time at the Woods Bagot Hong Kong studio

Lu was already in Hong Kong, finishing her exchange semester at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and was able to interview with the Woods Bagot team in-person at the Hong Kong studio.

“It was highly insightful to immerse myself in both the academic and professional cultures of Hong Kong,” she said.

“Living in Hong Kong was so fast paced compared to Melbourne... many people seemed to prioritise study and working, striving to operate at their full potential.”

Declan echoed this sentiment, saying the additional factor of this being his first experience working full-time increased the challenges he faced during the internship. 

“Being overseas, in a foreign city by myself, was something I had to mentally prepare for, with cultural differences and dramatic changes to my everyday routine,” he said.

“I was fortunate to have my classmate Lu doing the same internship, so we could explore the city together when we finished work.”

Lu and Declan were immersed in the complex workings of the Woods Bagot studio, both remarking on the value of working in such a large company.

“Whilst in the office, learning the routines and every day running of such a large company was a challenge,” Declan said. 

“It is so multifaceted; it took a while to adjust to so many people working in the same place. 

“Everyone had different and unique positions and work they individually had to produce, and it just really astonished me how busy and complex the structure is,” he said.

“One of my biggest takeaways from the internship was learning how to work and communicate in such a large, collaborative work environment,” Lu said. 

“Observing how live projects are broken down into tasks for different departments and seeing how people worked together towards a common goal was very eye-opening.” 

Two side by side images showcasing an office and the Hong Kong City skyline. Views from the Woods Bagot office. Left source: Declan Shipper and right source: Lucy Liu

Both students highly recommended current third- and fourth-year interior design students take up the opportunity to gain industry experience.

This internship has strengthened my resolve to pursue a career as an interior designer.

- Lu Liu

“Being involved in the industry and getting connected with professionals has provided invaluable insights that have further reinforced my passion for this field. 

“Witnessing designers and architects collaborate in a real-world environment has enabled me to better envision my own future in the industry.”

“Reflecting on my experience, I really wouldn’t have traded the time spent there for anything else,” Declan said.

“I would highly recommend anyone in the future wanting to do this opportunity, to go for it, it is extremely valuable.”

Find out more about the Bachelor of Interior Design (Honours)

20 June 2024


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.