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Living as a British expat in Bahrain, Nicola Eagle thought her chances of going back to university to study were, “verging on the impossible.” However, after researching her options she found that a distance learning course with IDI offered her the opportunity to study in her own time without having to worry about travel. Now a student on the level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media, she is well on her way to gaining a recognised qualification.

Art has always been a big part of Nicola’s life but she’d never thought of it as anything more than a hobby. She was always interested in studying a creative subject but was steered away from the prospect by people who convinced her it was not a worthwhile pursuit:

“The response I always got was, “What are you going to do with art?” I ended up studying BA (hons) Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion. I loved it, but it was more business than fashion.”

Before moving to the Middle East, Nicola had a number of design related jobs including working as a visual merchandiser and as a style advisor for Topshop. She continues to have an interest in fashion, keeping up-to-date with all the latest design trends. She maintains her creativity in Bahrain by spending her spare time doing arts and crafts activities with her children. She hopes a qualification will help her to pursue a career that allows her continue to do the things she enjoys:

“I hope to eventually teach art to young children. Whether I go on to get a qualification in teaching or set up my own classes I’m still not sure. What I do know is that I found something I want to do for the rest of my life and thanks to IDI I will hopefully achieve it.”

Nicola still finds it difficult to strike a balance between study and family life, but now both children have started school, she’s managed to find 2 to 3 hours a day to study, so she doesn’t fall behind. Also struggling with confidence in her ability, encouragement from her family is crucial, and along with constructive and informative criticism from her course tutors and fellow students, she is gradually overcoming this issue. So far she has been impressed by the support she has received from IDI and the distance between her and her tutors has not affected her learning:

“So far I am loving the course! My tutor is helpful and supportive, as are all the staff. Any problems I have had have been answered very quickly.”

She plans to spend the rest of her time in Bahrain honing her art and design skills to prepare for her dream career and is looking forward to the future:

“We expect to stay in the Middle East for another few years then we will probably move to the Australian countryside where we have just bought a home. I envisage having an art studio where I could hold art classes for kids or work in the local art school.”

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