When I started my degree in Community, Youth and Family Studies, I was volunteering in a youth club in Dublin and working in a corporate environment. My youth club experience was fun and rewarding and it made me rethink my attitudes and beliefs. This was a time in my life where I wanted to motivate myself and learn. I was attracted by NUI Galway’s Adult Learning courses for my personal development. With this course I was able to separate the four years into attaining a diploma and a degree which made the whole course less overwhelming.
Each of the modules reflect the areas of community, youth and family. My goal was to learn about youth and youth work; however, the modules complement each other and guide you through different issues. Each year the modules build on the previous year’s knowledge and each step of the process is well thought-out and managed. I found that I enjoyed the challenge of the academic writing process and I gained research skills and the confidence to explore a topic academically and to use these skills to speak out. This has proven invaluable and I use my newfound understanding of best practice principles and practical skills learned in my volunteering and professional environment.
This degree has given me the knowledge and experience to allow me to develop my confidence. The advantage of this type of blended learning, as an adult learner, means that the mix of class based learning in NUI Galway gives direct connection with your fellow learners and valuable contact with the tutors. The online studies allow for the flexibility to work around family and work life and the space to focus on studies in your own time. The support and encouragement given by the course directors and my fellow adult learners have been my pillar over the four years.
This experience has provided me with the opportunity to have new experiences, make new friends and a chance to reflect and assess my life goals. It has strengthened my commitment to volunteering. I still volunteer with my youth club, but this also has given me the opportunity to now work for the non-profit organisation that I volunteer with.
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