Aya is a year 2 student on the BA Education Studies Course.
She originally qualified as a marketing engineer, applying technical knowledge to sales and marketing campaigns. She then worked in advertising.
Upon moving to the UK, she found she had an opportunity to work in education, which was a childhood dream. She started as a playgroup assistant, became an Early Years Practitioner and then a Teaching assistant (TA).
Aya was working in a primary school as a teaching assistant 3 days a week. At the same time she spent 2 days a week on an access to higher education diploma at college. Here she became interested in doing further study and decided to undertake a degree course that offered her the flexibility to continue to work while learning and balancing family commitments.
The teachers she worked with at the primary school had trained at the University of Reading and fed back how much they loved it. This and the location led Aya to investigate the Institute of Education, University of Reading further.
Aya felt the campus was a very nurturing environment and having looked into the courses on offer she decided to undertake the BA in Education Studies.
"I wanted a degree course that offered me broad career prospects and gave me valuable transferable skills. I also liked that I'd be learning about issues applicable to everyday life such as diversity, social justice and disability from a cultural, political and sociological point of view."
Aya initially found the first year scary. Being a mature student with lots of young adults was challenging and the academic requirements were all new to her, but with time and support she felt at ease.
Aya also felt the staff were particularly supportive "At the beginning of the academic year, I went through bereavement and my course director, academic tutor and all my lecturers made me feel like I could go to them whenever I needed."
In general, Aya was impressed by the passion her lecturers showed for education and for the students to succeed. She also liked how all the modules fitted together making for a well-rounded course.
In terms of the modules Aya has enjoyed the most so far she said:
"I found the module on inclusion was particularly inspiring, especially deafness in education."
When speaking of her assignments to date, Aya mentioned the biggest learning curve was understanding how to write academically but she found the support offered by staff helped her get where she wanted to be.
"I chose to write about inclusion having loved the module. Just being able to put all the words together on paper was amazing."
Juggling family, work and study has made Aya a more organized and strong person who in the future wants
"to help people with disabilities get the best education while supporting their families. I would not have thought of this career option before the course."