Our thirst for knowledge often begins at university, but sometimes strands of that curiosity can be traced all the way back to our childhood. 

“I was first exposed to British and European history as a 7-year-old many years ago, and that experience has provided me with a solid foundation and a continued interest which has paid off in spades as I’ve studied at UNE. Who would have thought climbing over castle ruins as a kid, would have inspired the adult to finally take on a BA in International History?” 

These are the enthusiastic words of UNE student Nanette Reid who is in her final trimester of a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in International History. Nanette’s passion for knowledge and learning won’t be finishing with her Bachelor’s degree either as she plans to continue her study of history in an Honours degree.

A true student of history Nanette is willing to move to as far as London or Berlin to pursue a career in “a heritage or historic environment, Historic England or English Heritage are two favourites”.

While her study journey at UNE has allowed Nanette to explore her historical passion, she has already worked all over the world in the photography industry.

“I was a photographic lab manager for 13 years, before completing an Advanced Diploma in Commercial Photography and moving to London. For the next 10 years, I worked worldwide as a photographer’s assistant, shooting everything from high-end sports cars and large manor houses to 5-star hotels and golf courses in countries that ranged from Egypt to North Korea. Since 2009, I’ve been working as an architectural photographer and was based in Bangkok, before returning home in 2016.”

“I took the long way round for my studies at UNE; initially I was studying through OUA.” After researching universities that allowed for a more expansive online study mode, Nanette changed to studying with UNE in July 2018.

“The difference was immediate – I had to choose a minor (this wasn’t even an option at my former uni). I love history, so it was a no-brainer what I would major in, the hardest part was finding a course that actually covered my area of interest – British history units are thin on the ground but luckily I finally found UNE and the offerings have been superb!”

One of the fantastic aspects of study, especially in history based degrees is the pleasure of research. As Nanette puts it “researching topics of interest is an enjoyable part of my studies – when an assignment just clicks, digging deep to learn more and write about it has been extremely satisfying.”

Expanding your research skills can even open up non-academic avenues, such as researching one’s own family history. “I’ve also been researching my British grandfather’s WWII service since 1982 – the arrival of the internet has sped this up and opened many doors, and uncovered some incredible events that he witnessed and took part in.”

Like many individuals in the UNE community, Nanette’s study has indirectly been affected by the COVID-19 situation. Despite these difficulties Nanette says that her studies have returned to normal now that Trimester 2 has begun, and she offers this advice to those who are struggling:

“There’s no shame in taking care of yourself and stepping away from study, it can often help you to refocus your efforts and offset any anxiety you might have about the current situation or things that will come and go in the future.”