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Return to learn at UEA's arts and humanities event

The joy and value of learning and studying a degree is something anyone can enjoy at any age and for many returning to university as a mature student has opened the doors to new opportunities.

UEA’s Arts and Humanities Faculty will be hosting an open evening for people interested in studying as a mature student on Wednesday 23 May on the campus from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

It’s a perfect opportunity to pop along, speak to current mature students, listen and ask questions of tutors and find out more about the funding that’s available to help you get back into learning.

Two mature students took the time out from their studies to talk about their experience of returning to learning with UEA.

Maria Aranda-Bravo, 31, signed up for a degree in Translation, Media and Modern Languages at UEA two years ago and will be heading off to Japan for a year’s study from September.

Maria, from Madrid had been working in Oxford before deciding to return to studying. She said: “I had a great job however I always felt that I needed to do something different. Since I was a child, I have always loved languages and other cultures, therefore I decided that it was time to pursue my real passion.

“I have found the experience challenging but rewarding at the same time. After being working for such a long period, going back to study can be a bit overwhelming. However, I consider myself lucky as I have found the support not only from the university but also from the students around me.”

“Being a mature student is an incredible experience. Regardless of the reason why you decide to come back to university, either to pursue your passion or to get a better qualification on your field, we have the advantage that we know what we want and we have the motivation to do it!”

Maria’s tips for people returning to learning are: 

  • Organize your time wisely
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help to your advisor anytime you need to
  • Join a society or club. It will help you to integrate and to meet people in your same situation

Maria added: “Other students didn’t care about my age, and they treated me as any other student, and the same goes for all my lectures.”

Cambridge resident Simone Chalkley, 43, did just that three years ago and is now on the first year of a four-year degree course in Creative Writing at UEA, after leaving school with GCSEs and no A-levels.

“I went to support a friend originally and got chatting with lecturers about English Literature and then decided to give it a go. The open day was really interesting and helped me decide it was something I could do.”

Simone took an access course at Cambridge Regional College and then a Foundation year at UEA before joining the degree course.

“I can’t quite believe I managed to get onto the creative writing course at times, but I’m here and I’m going to make the most of it. It’s excellent fun and I’m getting away with murder – only on paper though!”

“I’ve really enjoyed the lectures and seminars. Lectures help you understand new ways of learning, of grasping concepts I wouldn’t have thought of in those particular ways and seminars help to go through ideas and talk things out in further depth. Even if you don’t know something at the beginning of the seminar, you’ll come out with some understanding at the end because you’ll get everyone else’s perspectives. I came with no preconceptions, I wanted to come along and see where my brain would take me.”

Simone added: “You’re never too old to retrain and learn something new. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to see how far you can push yourself in your thinking. I’ve never really seen myself as academic even though I’ve always liked learning.”

Find out more about the mature students open evening and book your place by going online www.uea.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/mature-students.

Call: 01603 591513 
Email: t.d.smith@uea.ac.uk