Robert first got involved with the University of Strathclyde after his wife Joy took some evening Spanish classes at the Centre for Lifelong Learning and recommended he join her. Ever since then, Robert has been a very active student taking classes in Spanish, Glasgow local history and Writing for the Stage & Screen.
In early 2018, Robert was also an active volunteer in the Centre’s Erasmus + intergenerational project ‘Sharing Childhood 2’ (SACHI2) sharing his life experience and knowledge of the Spanish language with primary school children in Glasgow.
Were you previously aware of the opportunities that the University of Strathclyde offered for older adults?
No, not really. It was only when my wife took classes at the CLL that I learned about the wide range of courses available. I have been taking classes for some time now and the development of the online catalogue has been particularly helpful in exploring all the different options of courses available.
What did you enjoy the most about the courses you completed?
For me, the enthusiasm of the tutors in the classes is a big strength. I'm a former teacher myself, so I tend to be aware when a tutor has a real passion for their subject.
I also really enjoy meeting the other students in the class and hearing everyone’s different thoughts and opinions on different subjects. It's always refreshing to be reminded of what a pleasure it is to learn. Although the majority of students on the courses I have done have been retired, there has been more of a mix of age groups in the evening classes. It's great to have the opportunity to meet new people of all ages and backgrounds.
What do you plan to do next with the skills you have developed?
I am keen to get to know Spain better – it is amazing what it does for your confidence being able to express yourself in the native language when you are there. I'm also interested in picking up some Italian too, as culturally it offers many new possibilities, as well as a new cuisine to explore. I’ve also tinkered with creative writing for a number of years now. Getting involved with this at Strathclyde has helped remind me of a few things and given me the motivation to develop it further.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a course at the University?
I would say try a short, taster course. For example one of the summer courses. This will help you get an understanding of how they work and if they meet your expectations – which I'm sure they will! Also, remember that being part of the University is not only about learning. I would recommend joining the 3Ls Student Association for the social aspect. There are many clubs you can join and organised social outings. I recently went on the 3Ls summer outing to Orvieto in Umbria, which was simply a pleasure and a joy.
I've also been involved with volunteering through the University. The community engagement element and having the chance to give something back to the local community cannot be underestimated. This is something that I hadn’t expected to experience when I first became involved.