From the age of about 16, I'd always wanted to get into the advertising industry. My cousin was/is an independent filmmaker in California. My mother works for Disneyland Hong Kong. My godmother is the Editor-in-Chief of Women's Health in the Philippines, while many more relatives have worked at places like The Discovery Channel and HBO. You could say it was inevitable that I chose to work in the media industry. But for me, it wasn't about the glitz and the glam of the media that got me interested. For me, it was always about the story - having a really good story that is worth telling, and then the access and the influence to make it happen.
When choosing what university to go to, I had two choices and been accepted into both: USC's Annenberg School for Communication, or Goldsmiths College, University of London. One in the land of sunshine and the other in cold, grey and wet London. So why Goldsmiths?
Honestly? It wasn't a case of which school was better than the other. Both are highly regarded and well-respected training grounds worldwide. But ultimately what swung my vote was the fact that Goldsmiths was 1 year shorter and much more affordable. The British university system seemed more focused and specialised, and to me that meant I could hopefully streamline my career path that much better. Plus, the fact that it was located in London gave me greater access to this cosmopolitan city and the rest of Europe, which I wanted to explore.
Like a true arts college, Goldsmiths has its own unique attitude and culture. It's apparent in the mix of people, the eclectic clothes, the black and white checkerboard floors of the Richard Hoggart Building; the contrast of old, historical buildings versus the library and new media and arts centre's; the atmosphere of independent thought, creativity and progression set against (or arguably supported by) the backdrop of New Cross, South-East London.
Goldsmiths is an ecosystem and stage to learn and build your craft, whatever that might be. It delivers in real terms, what real culture is about.
I'd say the greatest thing I got from my time there is a better ability to watch, observe and critique the world around me. And to not take things at face value. If media and communications is a lens to view the world, used to reflect back to you what we think is the world, then what Goldsmiths does is hands you the world and then asks you to hold it close to your eye; then hold it far away; turn it inside out; and outside in; mould it; stretch it; scratch it; transform it; look at it from all sides, all angles, top, bottom and side to side. And then asks at the end of it, with a calm expectancy: "Now, what are you going to do about it?"
Since my time at Goldsmiths, I've worked at a Digital agency developing a career that's taken me to the Caribbean islands, Hong Kong and Australia for work. I've trained and become a qualified yoga instructor on the side. And I'm most recently known as the CEO & Founder of a new start-up called Friends of Friends Travel, an online marketplace and social network that encourage collaborative consumption and being a part of the 'shared economy'. We allow friends and friends of friends to exchange travel services for free, and we're all about Trust, Philanthropy and Wanderlust.