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19 June 2023

Laura is named double languages prize-winner at College’s annual Prize Giving ceremony

Thirty-eight-year-old Laura Bell was awarded the Achievement Award for SWAP Access to Languages and for British Sign Language at the College’s annual Prize Giving ceremony. Laura, from Bo’ness, came to college after running her own small cleaning business, looking to gain the qualifications she needed to go to university. 

We caught up with Laura about her experience of studying our SWAP Access to Languages, Arts and Social Sciences and British Sign Language Introduction and Level 1 courses:

How old are you and where are you from?

I’m 38 and I’m from Bo’ness

How do you feel about being recognised at Prize Giving?

It feels really nice to be recognised at the prize giving and I wasn’t expecting it at all.

What made you choose Edinburgh College for your studies?

I wanted to do the Swap Access to Languages to give me the qualifications needed for Uni, this course was close to where I live, and I also know someone who done this course a few years ago and highly recommended it to me.

Before attending college, I was running a small cleaning business, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing but I always felt I was maybe too old to go back to college but thought if I didn’t do it now I never would.

What has been the best thing so far about studying at Edinburgh College? Any highlights?

So many good things, firstly getting back into education and learning has been amazing, I think being a little older I have wanted to learn and that has made a huge difference. The course has helped me develop so many skills I thought I never had and has given me confidence in my abilities. The classes have challenged and interested me throughout and my tutors have been very supportive. I have met lots of great people in my classmates too, everyone has been so nice and supportive of one another. It’s just been a really lovely year.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student starting at the college now, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and enjoy learning. Learning opens up so many opportunities and although it’s not always easy, it’s always worth it. And never think you’re too old either, you have some life skills which you may not have had when you were younger that will be a great contribution to your learning.

What are your plans for the future? Are you going on to further study after college or into employment? What is your end goal?

I have had a conditional offer from Heriot-Watt University to start the British Sign Language Interpreting, Translating and Applied Languages Degree course in September so I am awaiting my grades from this course. If all is good I will be going there and hope to become a BSL Interpreter after I complete my studies.

Do you have any messages for the lecturers?

I just want to say a huge thank you to all of my lecturers this year, they’ve all helped me in different ways and have always been very approachable and helpful, offering helpful feedback and advice and helping build my confidence when I was in doubt of my abilities.

Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?

No, for me it was a big risk giving up my wee business to go back into education, but I have no regrets at all. It really has been the best decision for me and for my myself and my children’s future.

What are you most proud of that you have achieved while studying at Edinburgh College?

I am most proud of the effort I have put into my college work, as I found it difficult to juggle study with home life at times, but I am proud to know I’ve always tried my best.

Describe your Edinburgh College experience in three words.

Happy, encouraging, and worthwhile.