Do a short summer course and learn something new

[box]Shona McCombes[/box]

So, you’ve finished exams; you’re enjoying the novelty of dedicating your full brain capacity to the task of deciding where to go on holiday, what you should have for dinner, or trying to remember the names of all the characters in Game of Thrones. More studying might not seem like the most enticing prospect right now. But to help along the process of forgetting everything you learned last year, why not learn something completely different?

ILA Scotland is a scheme that provides £200 towards the cost of learning, but from the 1st of July this year full-time students (and anyone with a degree) will no longer be eligible. So go and take advantage of it while you still can! Right now, anyone ordinarily resident in Scotland and earning less than £22,000 is eligible; you can request an application pack from the ILA website, but processing can take two to three weeks, so act fast. Short summer courses are a chance to leave the pressure of grades to one side and learn for the sake of it – here are some suggestions …


Learn a language

Our university’s own Centre for Open Studies (formerly named DACE) is running beginner’s language courses in Spanish and Italian. Starting from the 25th of June, they can be completed in two or four week blocks. There are also short taster sessions in a variety of languages for a tenner each – check out the summer brochure here. Strathclyde’s summer programme offers a wider range of languages and levels throughout the summer; as these are not credit-bearing, they’re not eligible for ILA funding, but at £60 for six weeks they might be worth splashing out on.

…or learn how to teach one

A qualification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language can be a route to finding work anywhere in the world. TEFL Scotland offer courses at several different levels of intensity; a weekend taster course is fully covered by ILA funding, while more in-depth training comes in various packages combining classes and online learning.

Create something

Aspiring but inexperienced artists can head to the Centre for Open Studies for week-long introductory drawing courses. If you’re interested in working in a more esoteric medium, Glasgow School of Art runs a summer school programme in July, covering everything from comic books to stained glass to lithography, as well as plenty of drawing and painting classes. These week-long courses are open to all levels of ability and experience, but they’re pricey at around £300, and not covered by ILA. For a cheaper option, spend a few days at North Glasgow College learning to make your own jewellery.

The Centre for Open Studies and Strathclyde both offer a variety of creative writing classes, including one-day events and longer courses. Here at Glasgow you can learn about writing for children, comedy writing, or reworking myths, while Strathclyde features crime writing, historical fiction, poetry and journalism; both also run general fiction workshops for tips, technique and critique.

Discover Scottish history

If you’ve come to university from across the border or further afield and your local knowledge is still a bit patchy, or if you just fancy learning more about Scotland’s past, the Centre for Open Studies has a few day events covering key historical events and periods, as well as a couple of guided walks focusing on Glasgow’s history and architecture. These aren’t funded and range in price from £10-23. If you’re interested in history on a more personal scale, try the Beginner’s guide to Scottish family history research, an ILA-funded 4-week course which includes a guided tour of an archive.


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