What's it like to be a distance learning student at ION? Feature We speak to some of our alumni about their experiences with online learning Sara Borg | Alumna (2019) Why did you choose distance learning over campus learning? “I am based in Malta, therefore this made most sense to me so that I could keep up with my full-time job and study at the same time.” How did you find distance learning? “I loved the flexibility of it all. At first, it took some getting used to as I had never studied online before and was very much used to a classroom setting. However, the recordings were always very clear, tutors offered support for e-students outside of lecture time and we were always given any classroom activities prior to lectures in order to be able to follow as if we were present in class.” Did you feel you had the same support as a campus learning student? “I believe the support was very equal. The only downside for me was not being able to put my hand up and get an answer straight away. Therefore, a tip from experience - write your questions down and send them in to your tutor after the lecture!” What have you been up to since graduating from ION? “As of January I officially launched my own nutritional therapy clinic and have seen a number of clients so far. I have found a special interest in gut and hormonal health as this is an area I have struggled with personally and is a huge passion of mine. I have also hosted workshops, wellness talks both corporate and private, and collaborated with an established juice bar/health cafe. The journey is amazing - work hard, keep on going, at times you may feel like you want to give up but it will all be worth it in the end!” Laura MacDonald | Alumna (2019) Why did you choose distance learning over campus learning? “It was more convenient for me as I don't live in London, and I found it easier to fit around my other work. I also couldn't commit to specific weekends. I did attend a couple of the lecture weekends and really loved them too, but preferred the flexibility of distance learning.” What was your experience like? “I did have to learn to be quite organised to make sure that I was keeping on track, but I liked being able to pause to look things up or to have a tea break! The technology side of things was very simple which helped.” Did you feel you had the same support as a campus student? “This was my main concern when I opted for distance learning but not once did I feel like I didn't have enough support. Even though you're not meeting face-to-face each month, you become familiar with who's who really quickly, and I always found all the tutors and ION staff to be helpful and understanding. The highlight of the course for me was actually the network of student support - which was also unexpected as an online student. Even though I did not meet them in person until clinical practice in the third year, I spoke to many of my peers each week through online forums or Facebook and we remain close friends.” What have you been up to since graduating from ION? “I have set up my own business and am seeing clients on a 1-1 basis.” Carol Davison | Alumna (2020) Why did you choose distance learning over campus learning? “I chose distance learning because I was living in America and the campus option was not a possibility for me. I was determined to complete my studies and become a Nutritional Therapist at ION because of its reputation; ION has a dedication to provide its students with the education needed to become a safe and scientifically educated practitioner. On moving back to Ireland I did attend campus several months in a row and found this experience to be very rewarding too. However, most of my clinicals were carried out via distance learning and they definitely created a very safe and professional learning environment for clients and students.” How did you find distance learning? “I found emails and phone calls were always answered promptly. There is so much tutor and student support through each module, including study skills support. Distance learning at ION gave me the support needed to achieve 2:1 results at level 6 modules and be able to fit my learning around my everyday commitments.” What have you been up to since graduating from ION? “I completed my Diploma in February and have focused on joining appropriate affiliations (BANT and CNHC), working on my own CPD credits and looking into postgraduate training. "Studying at ION, has given me the skills needed to set up a Nutritional Therapy clinic with the knowledge that I am a safe and educated practitioner, giving appropriate nutrition and lifestyle advice and standing apart from those who have not undergone the professional training needed for such a vital career.” Find out more about our flexible study options here.