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    Hello all.

    First post on here. Registered mainly to ask this question...

    I'm a 35 year old who already is educated upto Masters degree level (Political Research), which I gained back in 2008. Since then I fell into a completely different field of work, which was financially rewarding, but with little job satisfaction or any feeling that I was using my intellect.

    One of my options for trying to change this has been the possibility of studying abroad for a while. I came across a site which promotes short courses at various institutions across Europe, varying from six weeks to three months, and it all looks quite appealling to me, with courses which I would be really interested in (Mainly surrounding the EU and wider European studies). Some of these are summer schools which last for six weeks, whereas some last a single semester. Only question being to the forum is that, as a 35 year old, am I going to be a good bit older than many of the students on this type of course? This concern particularly applies to the summer school courses, where I have the impression they will be full of 18 year olds just starting uni.

    If anyone here has done any similar courses - wherever it was - then if you have any insights or experience, it would be much appreciated!
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    (Original post by Paul1381)
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    You should be able to tell from the course who it is targeted at. Courses for terms or holidays are usually primarily aimed at school or Uni age people whose lives revolve around those timings already.

    If you specifically want courses targeted at adults/professionals, in the UK try searching on the term 'continuing education' for example the Institute of Continuing Education at Cambridge University runs week-long courses of the type you describe.
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    (Original post by Paul1381)
    Hello all.

    First post on here. Registered mainly to ask this question...

    I'm a 35 year old who already is educated upto Masters degree level (Political Research), which I gained back in 2008. Since then I fell into a completely different field of work, which was financially rewarding, but with little job satisfaction or any feeling that I was using my intellect.

    One of my options for trying to change this has been the possibility of studying abroad for a while. I came across a site which promotes short courses at various institutions across Europe, varying from six weeks to three months, and it all looks quite appealling to me, with courses which I would be really interested in (Mainly surrounding the EU and wider European studies). Some of these are summer schools which last for six weeks, whereas some last a single semester. Only question being to the forum is that, as a 35 year old, am I going to be a good bit older than many of the students on this type of course? This concern particularly applies to the summer school courses, where I have the impression they will be full of 18 year olds just starting uni.

    If anyone here has done any similar courses - wherever it was - then if you have any insights or experience, it would be much appreciated!
    I've attended a number of short courses in the UK and Ireland ranging from long weekends to three weeks in length. Most run outside term times as this is when rooms and facilities are available, academic staff are available to teach on them and (during the summer) temporary accomodation can be offered.

    My experience has been that participants come from a wide range of backgrounds, age and interests. Some with a very direct, professional interest in the subject area, to those with an almost passing, personal interest. In fact I think there may even be a subset of people you could call 'professional' short course attendees - people who have maybe taken early retirement and want to keep their mind active or singletons who almost treat them as a social event. It seems to be a pretty mixed bunch. Some of the summer schools run annually with a different focus each year. Many people return every year, so the 'annual' schools I've been on have had a strong social element in the evenings.

    I've also been on one short course where classes ran until 9pm and you were sent off with a couple of hours 'suggested' reading for the next day. That was more like a 'boot camp'. I didn't respond to their emails offering follow up courses ! !

    Also a bit of a mixed bag in terms of how well (or poorly) they can be run and the standard of facilitators and teachers. Check out their literature and try to have a chat with someone organising.
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    I've done 2 summer schools at Oxford and know of many who return year after year, which is a good sign. They do two types - one known as The Oxford Experience, and is held at Christ Church College, the other is held at Rewley house. The difference is that while it includes lectures on whatever subject you've chosen, the former is very much a social affair, that doesn't contribute to an Oxford qualification. The latter, is more demanding - a fair bit of studying and essay writing - but you earn CATS points towards a degree. Rewley House, Oxford, is pretty central and has it's own library, bar, restaurant, accommodation etc, however you can opt out of the accommodation and stay at a normal Oxford College. For my first Summer School I stayed at Magdalen and Keble, For my second it was Christ Church. Both summer schools offer a huge range of subjects, but you need to book early as they fill up, particularly the Oxford Experience. The age range for both is everything from 18 to 80. I will definitely do another. I haven't done a summer school at Cambridge, but suspect they are good for science, though not in the running with Oxford for other subjects. I did do a more normal degree course at ICE (Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education) and was not impressed. Oxford tend to be a bit more expensive, but worth it, unless you're into science, in which case you might be stuck with Cambridge. However for politics - which seems to be you're area if interest - I'd definitely go for Oxford. Hope this is useful.
 
 
 

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