The Story So Far

Kia Ora!

My name is Kinanti, or Kina, or Andin (if you know me from Indonesia) - and this is a snapshot of my story so far. I was born in the not-so-little city of Surabaya in Indonesia, with a population of 3.5 million (yeah, just 1 million short of being the same size as the population of New Zealand)

Surabaya, Indonesia

Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

My mother is an ambitious, smart, and hard-working woman from a very humble background - I owe her a lot for what she has taught me and provided for me, trust that I'm very grateful and proud of you ma, and if you're reading this, you know I love you, including the interrogative are-you-okays and how-can-i-help every time I call you ❤️

Luckily mum got a couple of postgraduate scholarships to study overseas, so I grew up in Australia and New Zealand while she completed her postgraduate degrees. She always valued education a lot, as from her experience good education was the door to a lot of opportunities, so after we moved back to Indonesia, she decided to uproot her career and move back to New Zealand so my sister and I could study here at great schools without the crazy international student fees.

Twelvie Kina and supermom Janti

Twelvie Kina and supermom Janti

Sidenote, education in Indonesia is pretty hardcore - when I was in high school, I had to study 13 subjects ranging from religion to computing (aka how to use Microsoft Word), and I could only choose between a set of 3 sciences or 3 social sciences. My friends there were used to this method of education, which is super reliant on memorising information without really comprehending it or remembering it in the long term. So, for me, education in New Zealand, whilst it still has a bit to go, is definitely miles ahead.

Anyway, I went to Auckland Girls’ Grammar School and studied hard there to do pretty well in school, so I didn’t have to worry much about UE. I decided I wanted to study design in university because I wanted to contribute to improving the world but, yknow, also do this with some #aesthetic. I chose to study Product Design at AUT, because AUT teaches Product Design with a Human Centered Design (HCD) focus, and I figured I could integrate my love for graphic design and photography with this user-centred awareness. 

Cheeky sneak peek of the studio at AUT, featuring the famous orange sofas I nap on

Cheeky sneak peek of the studio at AUT, featuring the famous orange sofas I nap on

Even in high school, I wanted to do an exchange when I got to uni, so when AUT’s International Exchange officer did a presentation on doing an exchange with Product Design, I was sold and applied ASAP - more on the process here. A few months later, I got a confirmation that I was accepted as an exchange student for Köln International School of Design (KISD) in Cologne, Germany! 

Growing up, I always wanted to travel and live in Europe, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I could get the chance to do this before I reached 20. So here I am, sharing my adventures so that:

  1. my lovely friends and acquaintances get to know what I’m up to in their own time
  2. hopefully, other students get some travel/study inspiration and maybe learn some tricks that I found useful
  3. I get to reflect on what I did and have a memoir of my adventures

Stay tuned for more cheeky updates!

Aroha nui,



Kinanti Desyanandini