Garyfallia Katsiara

Student spotlight details

Garyfallia enrolled on our Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Local History to develop her research skills and knowledge of historical methodologies. She completed the course entirely online from her home in Athens.

'When I applied to for the Undergraduate Advanced Diploma in Local History (ADLH) in 2020, I had recently quit my job as a production manager in a publishing house in Athens, Greece. I was entering a new era of working with an organization that helps people on the margin, but was also seeking to improve my knowledge in history – a subject I have loved ever since I was a child.

'Last May (2020), I attended an open event at the University of Edinburgh and another attendee mentioned the online ADLH with Oxford University's Department for Continuing Education, so I went home and searched for the course. In the beginning, I was hesitant because English is my second language but I was inspired to research the Lancashire port of Liverpool 1650-1750 and the Oxfordshire market town of Woodstock in the 17th century, as well as criminal records for London from the Old Bailey online database. When I read the details of the course, I was reminded of my passion for the early modern period in English History. I wanted to develop my research skills and my knowledge of historical methodologies and concepts. I was interested to get to know how the past can be revived in the proper way but also how to research and handle primary and secondary sources.

'The most challenging aspect of the programme was using Excel spreadsheets and Access database. I knew how to handle the basics in Excel, but other than that, I was a complete beginner. Although it was difficult I managed to overcome my fear and ignorance on these two Microsoft applications and finally it went well along with my assignments. In fact, I enjoyed learning and being innovative with the programmes.

'I really enjoyed studying English local history and especially the historical context of certain areas. Now I have a better understanding of the early modern period and how people interacted with each other. Moreover, the interaction with the other students in the forums and chat rooms and the ongoing support of our tutors made the difference to feel part of the group and overcome any barriers that language and culture can bring to the surface.

'Having completed this course, I am now keen to study at a higher level and have already searched for a Masters course in History. I have applied to different universities and I am waiting for the results. Hopefully, my ADLH results will enable me to be accepted into the courses I have applied for.

'For everyone interested in distance learning I would definitely recommend the courses offered through the Department for Continuing Education. One of the main advantages is that many are designed for those only able to study online. I would specifically like to mention the tutors, students and the staff who were all so supportive and helpful. I can definitely say that I will miss my class and tutors.'

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