Humans of Griffith

Juliane Ferreira de Lima

After growing up in a small city in Brazil, Bachelor of Design student Juliane Ferreira de Lima is driven by a life-long love of creating, drawing and painting, and has been ‘dreaming with her eyes wide open’ since she was little. Her childhood was spent playing outdoors and harnessing her imagination, and while she didn’t think she was creating art back then, she was drawn to creative pursuits—like painting her bedroom wall when her mother wasn’t home! It was only when she started a Bachelor in Advertising, which back then was the most creative program she could find, that Juliane started to contemplate a career in illustration, art and design.   

We’ve asked Juliane about her studies, her move to Australia, and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say. 

What did you study at university?

I graduated with a Bachelor in Advertising in Brazil, I’ve studied Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design and Diploma in Marketing here in Australia. Now, I’m studying a Bachelor of Design at Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art, which is a big achievement for me and I’m very happy to be able to learn from so many amazing people and learn about the creative industry in a different culture. 

What made you want to study abroad?  

The creative industry in Brazil is huge and very competitive and one of many things that can help someone stand out from the crowd is speaking English. I was in my last year of Bachelor in Advertising, so I started planning to study English. So, I came to Australia with my partner as he has relatives who live here. Another important decision maker to choose Australia as our destination was that here we can legally work under a student visa. I studied English for one year, however, at the end of the course I was not confident yet; so, I saw the opportunity to attend an Advanced Diploma in Design which would help me improve my English and my design skills at the same time. After completing this course, Digital Marketing was becoming more and more popular and essential in the creative field and I knew it would be important for my career, it was when I attended a Diploma of Marketing and Communication. Now, I’m having this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of studying at Griffith.  

Why did you choose Griffith University?  

Griffith is one of the greatest universities of Australia and so is QCA itself. Besides that, when I was looking into my options, I found out about the Scholarships that Griffith offers to international students, and this made it possible to pursue this dream. I believe not many international students come to know that Griffith offers scholarships, I was lucky enough to have a friend who told me about occasionally, so my experience as an example, if I knew about it before I would have started my bachelor in Design long ago – but I like to believe that everything happens in the right time, so I’m enjoying the process and having a great time meeting new people and learning a lot.  

What do you love most about your life in Queensland?  

What I love about living here is feeling safe most of the time, which was a concern for me living in Brazil, especially when I was in any of the big cities. Here I feel safe to walk around by myself. Brazil is an amazing and beautiful country, but unfortunately violence is one of the biggest issues people face there. It’s a structural problem that has its roots in bad public politics and who suffer are the people while corruption destroys a country with so much natural resources.?  

Another important aspect of Queensland that I love is nature. We don’t need to travel far to find paradise views, wonderful beaches, natural parks, waterfalls; I love the feeling of living in a city where I have access to everything a big city has, but at the same time feels like a small city surrounded by nature.  

What was your biggest fear/concerns of starting your student journey abroad?  

One of my biggest concerns was communication. I couldn’t finish a sentence properly when I first arrived, it was a struggle for a long time. Another aspect was to be so far away from my family and friends and how I would adapt to that as I’m so close to them.  

How did you overcome your fear?  

I believe after studying for a while what made a big difference was being brave enough to speak up even with my weird accent or making mistakes (which I still do). In order to improve, we need to practice. I guess we all should feel proud to be able to learn and communicate in a second language instead of fear or embarrassment regarding our way of speaking. About the other fear, what I find very helpful is making video calls with family and friends as often as possible, it does help us feeling closer. 

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Last year, right before I started studying at Griffith, I started working with a Brazilian artist who has lived in Australia for 20 years now. Her name is Mari Bray, she is a ceramist, and I was helping her in her art studio. I was once a week with her, and it was amazing, there was so much advice, one of them is: “Enjoy the process of making things that bring you joy and make you feel it comes from your essence. Enjoy the process, don’t waste your time not trying, do it and enjoy the process of doing it.” I used to overthink my project’s ideas, and this would stop me from actually enjoying the process, focusing only on the results or sometimes it would even stop me from starting it, so this great piece of advice really changed how I experience my work now. 

Who in your life has had the most influence on your career and life choices and why? 

I could mention a few people here, but I think I will say my mother. She is a teacher, and she always would talk to me about how much knowledge changes our lives. I remember her saying since I was very little that knowledge is something that no one can take it from you, you can share your knowledge and it will never end, it’s always an addition not a subtraction. She always supported me with my studies, I grew up in a small city where there were not universities back then, so I had to move to the capital city to be able to go to college and she supported throughout the journey even not knowing a lot about the creative industry, but she would always celebrate my achievements with me, as she still does.? 

I know it is very hard for her to have her daughter living so far away for quite a while now, and even though she respects my choices and keeps supporting my decision. I know she wants me back in Brazil, but she keeps encouraging me and always saying that I can do it. Always saying that I should try, I should take a leap of faith and that has been one of the essential things that gives me strength.?  

I come from a humble family that believes that the studies are what change our future. I am the first of my family to study abroad and that’s something that we are all proud of and we value that. We miss each other a lot, there are a lot of struggles, but I am doing what I’ve learnt from her – seeking knowledge, trusting the process, doing my part, and having faith.? 

What has been a key moment in your life as an international student? 

I believe the present moment is the key moment, I’m truly enjoying studying at Griffith, it’s been an amazing experience. Meeting people from so many different places, learning from excellent professionals, having access to super interesting content, having to work on projects that challenges me as a creative, it really excites me and make me get out of my comfort zone with a smile on my face, so I’m hopeful that this will be a life changing achievement for my career.  

What has been your overall experience studying at Griffith as an international student?  

As I mentioned above, the experience at Griffith it’s been amazing. There are a lot of challenges, timetables are busy, lots of assignments, projects after projects, but I feel happy to be experiencing all of it. It’s not easy, but it’s interesting, it does make us get out of our comfort zone, figure out creative solutions, and have a more critical thinking, which is so important for life. Different from other institutions that I have studied, we go beyond ideas on paper, we are actually making/building ‘prototypes’ as an example – individually or collaboratively. It’s exciting! As I heard one time, hard doesn’t need to be bad, so it’s hard, especially having work responsibilities as well and a whole life to take care of, but it been very good. 

Are you part of any clubs, if yes, which ones? 

I’m not part of any yet, but I definitely intend to be part of QCA ISA. I’m not coming to the meetings because I work the whole week, but I hope in the near future I can have the time. 

Where can we find you at the weekends? 

When I can, I love going to the beach, or a picnic at Burleigh Hill, or just staying home with some friends over for a barbecue and quality time.  

What are your dreams after graduating?

My dream job is being able to work with what I love – which is creativity through illustrations and design, from anywhere, no matter where I am, here in Australia, in another country or back home in Brazil, I’m able to work with professionals and business from anywhere in the world and I can connect collaboratively with other creatives with different backgrounds and culture, doing meaningful and exciting work. I love to think that I’ll keep studying and practicing my design and illustration skills so that one day I’ll get to a point that I’ll have my own unique style, so people will approach me because they want my work as part of their project – and I also hope that I can speak about important topics of our society in my work – I really believe design changes people and the world we live in and vice versa, so I want to contribute as much as I can.  


Want to connect and hear more from Juliane?

Connect via LinkedIn – Juliane Ferreira de Lima


At Griffith University, we celebrate diversity and difference. Our community is made up of students from around the globe, all with a unique story to tell. 

In this Humans of Griffith series, a selection of our international students have chosen to share their experiences, unedited in their own words – from the challenges of studying abroad, to building community and independence, and their dreams after graduation and beyond. 

No matter who you are, or where you are in the world, whatever your study journey, Griffith University is with you all the way. Find out more at 

Interested in sharing your story? DM us on Instagram @griffithinternational.

View more Humans of Griffith student stories here.

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