PCA sits down with first-year student Aishwary Bundela to discuss the Foundation program and his life in Paris.
Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I grew up in New Delhi, India where I’ve spent my whole life.
What made you interested in studying art in higher education in Paris?
Paris is the hub for fashion. The culture gives me a different experience and perspective from my Indian culture. This newfound diversity is inspiring me to do new things in fashion and art.
How has the foundation year been for you?
I’ve just finished the first semester. And I would say I am truly liberated, there are so many changes I’ve recognized in myself, especially in the way I tackle time management and the way I process thoughts and ideas. Just being in Paris and PCA has made me mature both academically and professionally. But I have also grown emotionally as a person overall. It’s a journey and I’m discovering myself everyday.
What has been the most fulfilling or enriching class/project?
One of my favorite classes is Mr. Paterson’s drawing class, and this is true for almost everyone who takes the class, we all love it. Mr. Paterson nurtures your ability to find yourself and your own style through different exercises. My drawing style has changed so much compared to six months ago. Back then, I was creatively locked up and his class has allowed me to become creatively free and unafraid. I’ve come to realize you can be whoever you want to be and draw and make art however you want to. Another class I enjoyed was the fashion elective class because it is a concrete experience as opposed to picturing designs on a computer screen. You have live models in front of you and actual clothes which creates an experience relevant to the real world.
What major do you see yourself going into? Has it changed from what you had envisioned before starting the foundation year?
All my idols were in the world of fashion, so that’s what really got me interested in it. Fashion is a field where I can express myself; the ability to express is something that helps me cope with day to day of life, and let’s me be me. I’ve always known I want to go into Fashion since I was 12 years old. Initially, I was hesitant about going into a Foundation year but it turned out to be a good thing for me — it has helped me explore different techniques and ways of working. Foundation year also teaches you about all the different conceptual aspects to art and the different thought processes that go into creating something. It prepares you not only for future majors or departments but also for the real world. It’s a year to have fun and learn a lot about how to be professional and how to feed your areas of interest.
What inspires you about Paris?
The history of Paris itself inspires me; everything here is very grand and royal. Everything from the buildings, the streets, the spirit of Paris screams art because Paris is a whole different world. You come here and Paris latches onto you and I believe people can completely change here.
On a normal weekday, what is your life like as a PCA student?
I’m in my second semester here, so my experience with the day to day is limited. I’m still trying to manage my electives and mandatory courses, but what I can say is the school is very professional. The school actually treats you like an adult and PCA is very well organized.
Do you mingle with peers in different departments?
A lot of my friends are from different departments, and different years. At this school, everyone knows each other, you know everyone, and your teachers know you. I think it’s easier here than in a large campus college to have open discussions about what you want in life as an artist because it’s such a tight knit community.
What was the biggest challenge you faced and overcame? Not only related to academia but life in Paris as well?
I took a year off after high school, so in the first semester I wasn’t used to getting back into the routine of classes and deadlines and I had trouble with time management. But after a while, you become a part of the cycle, the cycle becomes a part of you and you stop being late, and start turning in things on time. And in turn, your teachers start appreciating your work since you’re actively showing seriousness in your work, which makes me want to work even harder and do even better. I had never traveled before, so initially it was hard to adjust to Paris and the independence since I had lived a very sheltered life in New Delhi. Coming here, the shock of independence was tough but I eventually adjusted.
Have you ever been homesick? If so, how did you overcome this?
At moments yes, but I have made a new home here. And when I was homesick I was mostly missing food. At these times I put my mom on skype and say “tell me what I am supposed to cook” and I follow her lead as she shows me how.
Do you mingle with Parisians?
Yes I would say I have a few Parisian friends I have met either through mutual friends or through my apartment building since I live in student accommodation.
Where is your favorite hang out in Paris?
I spend a lot of time in the 11th arrondissement because that’s where my close friend’s apartment and gym are. I would say my favorite places to hang out are at friend’s apartments.