Distance learning: The world is your classroom

  • Distance learning
Interview
Published 2 years ago

Living abroad can be a great adventure — especially when you are young. Moving to a foreign country comes with many challenges and rewards — an original lifestyle, new friends, unique culture, and new habits. It's also an excellent excuse for you to discover the contemporary way of learning (aka distance learning), and prepare from wherever with access to the Internet for your future job in who-knows-where. Find out more about distance learning from Aurelien, a French expat and digital student in Australia.

Aurélien LEPLAT

Aurélien LEPLAT

Having followed a professional orientation process based on the RIASEC theory and moved to Australia in November 2015, I'm currently following a curriculum about the basics of Graphic Design. My aim is to create a personalized graphic design and visual communication service, specializing in providing assistance to start-up companies.

Have you ever felt that your job might not be as fulfilling as you had expected it to be? Or maybe, you have accidentally landed on a job that you don't particularly enjoy. If this is the case, moving abroad could be a wonderful way to rejuvinate, put things into a perspective, plan the future, and boost your career — all at the same time.

Information has never been more accessible than it is today, which makes expatriation and adaptation to the destination country a whole lot easier. However, the change in the environment, in your priorities and obligations in the new country shift your focus, and you are caught up in a new project. For me, it was distance learning.

When I graduated, I believed that studying was a chapter in my life that I would forever close. But later on, during a period of personal and professional reinvenation, I definitely changed my mind, and clearly saw that studying was the most suitable action, if I wanted to achieve my future goals. This is when I got into distance learning — a more flexible and liberal way of learning that was in total agreement with my new lifestyle.

I'm happy to live in Melbourne, a city that has been named six times in a row “the most pleasant city in the world”. Indeed, Australia is a top destination for expatriates who are looking for new professional opportunities — even for those who do not have high profiles with a ton of qualifications.

In Australia there are opportunities for everyone, and you will be only assessed on your particular skills. In fact, you don't need a Master's degree or ten years of experience to work in most fields — you need the skills and a good command of English, if you are ready to start from square one.

Taking into account my new goals in Australia, I looked for a training program, which suited my new commitments. I was then in between two options: a face-to-face or a virtual class. Each of these alternatives had its own benefits and drawbacks. On-campus studies mean having a specific pace of work while adding to a more promissing social life. Online courses, on the other hand are more flexible but implicate a lot of self-study and online interaction.

Given the equivalence of diplomas offered, I prefered the flexibility stemming from distance learning courses. I can snooze till late morning, plan each day differently, take part in arts and sports activities, explore the country on long weekends — for many (including me) it's a dream life.

Of course, there are some not so bright aspects of distance learning. Think of 12 to 15-hour-long working days in silence and isolation, and to top it off there are moments or even days that you will feel homesick and you will self-doubt your decisions and capability. But at the end of the day, all you need is a solid project, motivation, and any kind of support that you can get to face these ordeals.

I embarked on this adventure with all my uncertainties, but after six months of distance lerning, I finally found the right balance. I have to admit that I have no regrets at all. I have not only been able to improve my knowledge of the world but also to progress more rapidly than I would have in a face-to-face course. And I've been able to reach my professional goals faster than ever expected.

Self-studying has helped me to better understand myself and urged me to find other ways to communicate with the rest of the world, and make contacts. Of course, distance learning — as much as expatriation — is not meant for everyone. However, being organised, motivated and passionate about your project will definitely help. Expect distance learning to shake your routine, but it's totally worth it!