Catherine Brownlie is proof that it's never too late to follow your passions. As a child, she dreamed of being an Egyptologist but instead fell into a career in the IT industry. When a conversation at a party planted the idea of returning to study, an internet search revealed the possibility of studying Theology through the University of Otago's Distance Learning programme.
With a full-time job and a blended family of four children and several pets, Catherine's life is busy. But the flexibility of distance learning means she's able to fit study around her other commitments.
“The support of the Distance Learning programme is phenomenal, with access to library resources, teaching resources through Blackboard, targeted teaching days in my location (Wellington) and excellent communication from lecturers. Videoconferencing allows you to be part of lectures, to ask questions and to feel like distance is actually no barrier. Lectures are even recorded so you can catch up if you miss anything.”
Catherine discovered she loved exploring biblical texts and is specialising in Biblical Studies. Encompassing history, archaeology, ancient languages, critical thinking and theology, she says the course allows you to challenge your beliefs and preconceptions in a compassionate environment.
“I've discovered friendships with people in other parts of the country because of the opportunity that distance learning has provided and because of a shared love of the subjects we are studying regardless of personal world views.”