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How to create a study routine that works for you

Posted on 11/04/2018 by

A good study routine will remove ‘decision fatigue’ and increase your productivity. 

If you want studying from home to be enjoyable, successful, and stress-free, then it’s a good idea to follow a study routine.

What is a study routine?

Great question! Similar to a study schedule, a study routine is when you plan to study at the same time each day/week. When you have a study routine, you also follow the same steps each time you sit down to study.

Here is an example of a common study routine:

  1. Make coffee or tea
  2. Check emails/student forum
  3. Write to-do list
  4. Spend 1hr on assignment
  5. Take a short break
  6. Spend 1hr on assignment
  7. Check emails/student forum
  8. Take a meal break
  9. Spend 1hr on assignment
  10. Proofread today’s work

 
Why are study routines helpful?

When you create a routine, you remove ‘decision fatigue’ from your day. You know exactly what you need to do, so when you sit down at your desk you won’t feel overwhelmed with indecision.

A routine will also help you from jumping back and forth between your email inbox and your assignments throughout the day. Multitasking only slows you down! It’s better to shut down your email inbox and student forum while you work on your assignments.

How do I create a study routine?

Think about how and when you work best. Here are some questions to help you create a routine that works for you:

  • Are you a morning person or night owl?
  • How often do you need to take breaks for coffee/tea/food to keep your energy levels up?
  • Do you prefer working in long blocks or short bursts?
  • How often do you need to check your emails?
  • Where do you study best? At home, at the library, in a cafe?
  • What other commitments do you need to include in your routine? E.g. childcare, part-time work?

 
An easy way to think of your study routine is like a to-do list for your day. The purpose of your routine is to outline what you’re doing and when, so you don’t suffer from indecision – it really is that simple.

Taking a few moments to create a routine that works for you will make a huge difference to your productivity levels.

And don’t forget to include some fun things in your routine, like short coffee breaks or a yummy dinner at the end of a long day.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

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Five tips for studying in cafes

Posted on 21/02/2018 by

Studying from a cafe is a great way to beat cabin fever, especially in the winter months.

One of the best things about studying tourism with ITC Study From Home is that you can study anywhere, anytime. And that includes your favourite cafes!

However, studying in cafes can be counter-productive – especially if you spend more time people-watching than you do working on your assignments.

But never fear, we have five tips to help you make the most of your cafe study sessions.

1. Aim for a power hour

Let’s be honest, most cafe owners don’t want you to be sitting in their cafe for five hours nursing one cold coffee. To avoid overstaying your welcome – or spending too much money on food – try to keep your cafe study sessions short and sweet.

Aim for a super productive ‘power hour’. Set aside 60 minutes to work on your assignment and then either move on or order something else off the menu to keep your cafe hosts happy.

2. Find a quiet table in the corner

Set yourself up away from the action so you can hear yourself think – and so you don’t take up a valuable table for six people.

You’ll still feel part of the action but you won’t be too distracted.

Bonus tip: try to avoid sitting right next to the coffee machine (unless you love working in loud spaces!)

3. Make sure the internet connection is fast and reliable

If you need to access the ITC Study From Home forums or Moodle site, then make sure the cafe has a reliable internet connection.

Keep an eye out for cafes with power points, too!

4. Pack a study bag

The last thing you want is to arrive at a cafe without your notes, laptop, pens or something else essential.

Make sure you pack a study bag before you go. Write a list of everything you need so you don’t forget anything important.

5. Choose somewhere local

If possible, choose a cafe that’s within 15 minutes of your front door – or less. If you spend too long getting to the cafe, you’ll cut into valuable study time.

The point of studying in cafes is to mix up your environment and be more productive. If you find that studying in cafes has the opposite effect, then it might be a good idea to stay home instead.

Would you like the flexibility and freedom to study in cafes? Study tourism with ITC Study From Home! We’re accepting applications now – contact us today to learn more.

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Motivational study tips from ITC graduates

Posted on 29/11/2017 by

Want to feel like this about your studies? Read on for motivational tips from ITC graduates.

Need some motivation to study? These motivational tips from ITC graduates will do the trick!

“Always keep on top of assessments” – Kristina McGaffin (Air New Zealand Lounge Host)

Kristina’s study tip is to stay up-to-date with all of your assessments. “Don’t leave/skip them till the last minute,” she says.

If you don’t keep on top of your assessments, you could risk falling behind. The longer you take to complete your qualification, the longer you will take to find a job in the industry. So do your best to stay focused.

“Don’t be shy” – Mary Jean Rivera (Passenger Services Agent for Menzies Aviation)

If you have a question, “don’t be shy”, advises Mary Jean Rivera. After all, that’s what the tutors are there for – to educate you and answer your questions along the way.

“Ask for help from your tutor if you’re not sure. They’re always willing to help you.”

“Be brave, be bold, be you!” – Arietta Pauva (Customer Service Representative for Jetstar)

There’s only one you so don’t be afraid to be yourself, says Arietta Pauva. “One thing that this field has taught me is to speak up and shine,” she says.

She also advocates “doing everything with reliability and commitment”.

“Remember why you applied” – Adrian Bunn (Delivery Care Consultant for Air New Zealand)

Whenever you’re tempted to give up, “remember why you applied”, says Adrian.

“Never think you can’t, because you can. Always try and try, again and again,” he adds.

“Be patient” – Cassandra Devas (Customer Service Consultant for Fullers Group)

Achieving a qualification doesn’t happen overnight, so “be patient” and keep working towards your goals, says Cassandra Devas.

“Don’t lose hope and give up if things aren’t working. Just try your best and be patient.”

“Don’t worry about any set backs along the way” – Taryn Brown (Flight Attendant for Air New Zealand)

Everyone makes mistakes – but the trick is not to let them hold you back, says Taryn Brown.

“Aim high and you will get there. Don’t worry about the set backs and bumps along the way as they are a great learning curve.”

“Never give up” – Andrea Liu-Dantzer (Check-in Agent for Air New Zealand)

Andrea believes “it’s crucial to stay focused” and to “never give up”. She says it took her two years to reach her goal, but it was worth the wait and effort.

“If you have a goal in mind, pursue it. Chase your dream. Never give up. Focus on doing what you need to do to achieve your dream.”

ITC Study From Home is enrolling now for 2018 courses. Get in touch today to find out how we can get your airline, travel and tourism career off to a flying start.

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How to make friends when you study from home

Posted on 29/03/2017 by

One of the best ways to make friends when studying from home is to call your classmates at least once a week.

Are you scared you will become a social recluse if you study from home?

Don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to make friends when you study tourism via distance learning. You just have to get a little creative.

Here are some of our favourite ways to expand your social circle, both online and offline, when you study from home with ITC.

1. Attend Study From Home’s Orientation Day

We host an Orientation Day at the beginning of every Study From Home qualification. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet your tutors and your classmates and get your studies off to a social start.

You do need to make your way to Auckland for the Orientation Day, but we will give you plenty of time to book ahead so you can secure affordable transport and (hopefully!) stay with friends or family.

If you can’t attend our Orientation Day, don’t worry – you can email us a video introduction instead.

2. Organise an ‘e-meeting’ with your classmates

There are so many ways to ‘e-meet’ people online. Arrange a Skype date with your classmates, use FaceTime, or create a class group on WhatsApp, Viber or Facebook.

Make the most of social media to get to know other people on the same course. After exchanging a few Snapchats, it’ll feel like you’ve been friends for years!

3. Pick up the phone

Take it “old school” and give your classmates a call. You could form a wonderful friendship with someone just by chatting on the phone once a week. Schedule in a regular chat to exchange study notes and catch up on life.

4. Join a local coffee group

Do you study from home because you have little ones? Connect with local mums by joining a coffee group nearby. This is a great chance to get out of the house and meet like-minded souls. Your kids will make new friends, too.

5. Volunteer for work experience

Make friends in the tourism industry and give your career a headstart at the same time by volunteering for work experience. Offer to help out at a nearby business once a month or as a one-off.

You’ll get a glimpse into the tourism industry and make new friends – a win-win situation.

6. Switch up your study space

Just because you study from home doesn’t mean you need to stay at home all the time. Take your study notes to your local library or a nearby cafe every now and then. Chances are you’ll run into other people studying or working from home.

At the very least, you might make friends with your barista!

7. Get a part-time job

If you study from home part-time, you’ll probably have the flexibility to apply for a part-time job. This is a great way to earn some money while you study and maintain your social life.

Look for part-time jobs in the tourism industry or in customer service. These will set you up well for your first full-time tourism role after graduating.

We hope these tips help you make friends when you study from home. We know it’s not always easy, but the flexibility of setting your own study schedule is often worth the extra effort.

Remember: you don’t need to see people in person for them to become close friends. With social media and modern technology, you can meet new people all over the country. Good luck!

Study From Home is enrolling now for airline, travel and tourism courses beginning in May 2017. Contact us today to register your interest.

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The power of studying in the same spot every day

Posted on 10/08/2016 by
Studying in the same spot every day can help you stay focused.

Studying in the same spot every day can help you stay focused.

One of the perks about studying from home is that you can technically study anywhere – from bed in your pajamas, from the library, from your local cafe. Wherever you can get electricity and an internet connection, you can study!

Yet, just because you can study from anywhere, doesn’t mean you should. There’s power in creating a designated study space and studying in the same spot every day.

Here are three ways this makes you more productive.

1. Everything you need is in one place

How many times have you gone to the library only to realise that you’ve left half your study notes at home? It’s easy to forget things when you’re rushing from one place to the next. With a designated study space, you can enjoy peace of mind that everything is right where you left it.

2. Your study space is a distraction-free zone

If you study somewhere different every day, you’re more likely to stumble across distractions. But if you’re studying in the same spot, you’ll start to associate it with learning. When you sit down at your desk, you’ll know it’s ‘study time’. The good news is, this also works in reverse – when you leave your desk, you’ll know study time is over and that you can relax.

3. Better study-life balance

Following on from point number two, creating a designated study space helps you enjoy better study-life balance. When you’re studying from home, it can be hard to switch off – especially if your study notes are scattered throughout the house. Many people find that keeping their study notes in one place helps them to feel more organised and less overwhelmed. And the good news is, you don’t need a home office to make this work: check out this motivated mum who created a study space in her wardrobe.

These are just some of the benefits of studying in the same spot every day. Have you tried this technique? Do you find that it makes you more productive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Online communication tips for distance learners

Posted on 03/08/2016 by
When you study from home, most of your communication with classmates and tutors will be done online. Read on for some tips on how to communicate effectively via email and forums.

When you study from home, most of your communication with classmates and tutors will be done online. Read on for some tips on how to communicate effectively via email and forums.

What do long distance relationships and studying from home have in common? The importance of communication.

Anyone who’s in a long distance relationship will know that communication is key. It’s hard to keep the love alive if you’re not regularly communicating with your partner.

The same ‘rule’ applies to distance learning. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to communicate with others, no matter how many miles keep you apart (thank you internet).

When you study from home, you’ll spend a lot of time chatting with tutors and classmates via email and online forums. Below we’ve outlined a few tips to help you navigate the world of online communication with ease.

1. Keep it real

The first thing to remember when communicating online is that you’re chatting to real people with real feelings! Your online classmates are just like you. Make sure you communicate with the same level of respect and compassion as you would in a classroom environment.

2. Keep it clean

Take care not to swear, make insensitive jokes, or use too much slang. You don’t have to be completely formal – the use of some ‘text language’ is okay within reason – but try to remember that not everyone will understand what you mean. Where possible, use polite and friendly language, and avoid making jokes that some people could find offensive.

3. Keep it concise

Try to communicate in a clear, concise manner so you don’t overwhelm your classmates with long messages. If your note is more than a few sentences, use paragraphs and subheadings to break up the text for easy reading.

4.Keep it appropriate

Online forums are for study purposes, so don’t use this tool to have private conversations or share inappropriate content. We understand that some conversations will naturally veer away from study, but try to stick to the topic at-hand where possible.

5. Keep it friendly

If you take one thing away from this article, make it this. As long as you communicate in a nice, friendly manner you can’t go too far wrong! Treat other people as you would like to be treated, and you’ll find that the world of online communication can be a warm and welcoming place.

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What are you willing to give up in order to achieve your dreams?

Posted on 20/07/2016 by
In order to achieve our dreams, we need to make some small sacrifices along the way.

Sometimes in order to achieve our dreams, we need to make some small sacrifices along the way.

This is a big question, but try to put some thought into it, as your answer could lead to big success.

Whenever we think about achieving something, our focus tends to be on what we’re going to gain – not on what we might have to give up.

But ask any successful person and they will tell you they didn’t get to where they are today without making some sacrifices.

“The most important decision about your goals is not what you are willing to do to achieve them, but what you are willing to give up.” – Dave Ramsey.

There are only so many hours in the day, and when you start studying, you might have to give up a few things to stay on top of your assignments.

It’s all about making the best use of your time.

When Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love set out to be a writer, she gave up television so she could focus on her creative projects.

“What are you willing to give up, in order to become who you really need to be?” – Elizabeth Gilbert.

Grab a blank piece of paper and write down everything you spend your time doing. Next, highlight everything you would be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your qualification.

This simple exercise will help you identify the things that you can say no to when life gets busy. You don’t need to give things up for good, or all the time – just when you’re behind on your studies.

For example, you might highlight things like television, going out with friends, or baking. Even though these are things you love, they won’t help you achieve your goals – and therefore they can wait until you’ve finished studying.

As hard as this sounds, we promise it will make it easier to reach your dreams.

What’s one thing you would be willing to give up? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Study tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Posted on 13/07/2016 by
It's always a good idea to reach out to friends or family when you need a helping hand.

It’s always a good idea to reach out to friends or family when you need a helping hand.

One of the best study tips we can share with you is this: don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your studies, see if there is anyone in your network who can lend you a helping hand.

For example, ask your family if they can help you with some of the household chores so you have more time to study in the evening.

Or, if you have children, see if you know of anyone who would be willing to babysit for a couple of hours a week.

We understand it can be hard to ask for help, but you’ll never know unless you try. From our experience, people are often really supportive.

Here are a few tips to make asking for help easier:

  • Ask as early as possible. Ideally, you should ask for help before you really need it. Talk to your friends and family before you start studying, and let them know you might need some support along the way.
  • Offer to return the favour. You won’t be studying forever. Offer to lend a helping hand once you have more free time.
  • Be open to suggestions. When you ask for help, people will probably give you some advice. This is their way of showing they care, and some of their suggestions might be really helpful. Try to keep an open mind and take some of their tips on board.

 
Don’t forget that we’re here to help you, too. You can contact your tutor through Moodle or by calling 0800 788 394. We’ve all studied via distance learning, so we’ve got plenty of tips and tricks up our sleeves to help you succeed.

Good luck, and remember – asking for help is a strength, not a weakness!

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness

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Are you ready to study from home?

Posted on 06/07/2016 by
Follow our simple checklist to figure out if you're ready to study from home.

Follow our simple checklist to figure out if you’re ready to study from home.

Studying from home is a big commitment, so it’s a good idea to wait until you’re ready to fully immerse yourself in the learning experience. Rushing into study could cause stress and compromise your success – it’s best to be as prepared as possible.

So, how will you know when you’re ready?

We’ve compiled a checklist of things you should do before you enrol on a distance learning course. These steps will help you prepare for student life.

Please note, this checklist is intended as a guide only. If you have any questions about any of our courses, please contact us.

1. Talk to friends and family

Tell your loved ones that you’re thinking about studying from home. They might have some valuable advice for you, or even offer to help out from time to time. Studying is much easier with the support of your friends and family.

2. Speak with an ITC Study From Home tutor

You probably have lots of questions about studying from home. The best people to ask are the ITC Study From Home tutors. They will be able to help you figure out which course is right for you. Call 0800 788 394 to request to speak with a tutor.

3. Decide whether to study part-time or full-time

We offer two study options for distance learning – part-time or full-time. Part-time courses take on average 40 weeks to complete, and you must do a minimum of 10-15 hours study each week. Full-time courses are 20 weeks on average, and require a minimum of 20-25 hours of study each week. Figure out which option will suit you best.

4. Create a draft study plan

The best way to see whether you have the time to study from home is to create a draft study plan. Follow the steps in this helpful guide to see if you have enough ‘study hours’ each week. Sometimes we don’t know how much spare time we actually have until we see it on paper.

5. Write down what you would be prepared to give up in order to study

One of the hardest things about study is that it often requires you to make some short-term sacrifices. What would you give up for six months or a year in order to achieve your qualification? Write a list of things that you could “live without”. Some examples include television, going out on the weekends, and spending time on social media. You probably won’t have to give these up completely, but you may have to go without them for a week or two during busy times.

Being aware of these sacrifices before you start your course ensures you’re not in for any surprises. We promise all your favourite TV shows will be waiting for you once you’ve achieved your qualification!

We hope this checklist has helped you figure out if you’re ready to Study From Home. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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How to set up a distraction-free study space

Posted on 20/04/2016 by
Are you someone who gets distracted easily? You'll probably learn better if you strip your study space of any unnecessary distractions - read on for some tips.

Are you someone who gets distracted easily? You’ll probably learn better if you strip your study space of any unnecessary distractions – read on for some tips.

Distraction: “Something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention.”

Distractions are easily one of the toughest parts of studying from home. Whether it’s your kids, your pets, a sunny day outside, a new game on your phone, or even a pile of laundry that needs sorting, distractions will get in the way of your study and can slow you down significantly.

So how can you avoid them? Start by setting up a study space that’s as distraction-free as possible with these simple tips.

Remove your phone

We’re all guilty of idly picking up our mobile phones to see what’s happening on Facebook or in the news. When it’s sitting right in front of you, it’s hard not to.

So remove it.

It’s unrealistic to suggest to turn it off completely, so leave it on loud in case someone tries to get in touch with you, but place it on the other side of the room where it’s out of sight, and out of reach.

Make your decorations boring

Nobody wants to sit at an ugly study space all day, so many people decorate it with photos of loved ones, fun calendars and other cool items. As great as they are, they will ultimately distract you as you stare at them.

Keep some decorations, but make them simple things you won’t stare at – such as a pot plant or set of fairy lights.

Move your desk

Where does your desk currently face? Out the window and into a garden or over a nice view might sound blissful, but it quickly becomes a distraction when study becomes tough.

The trick is to keep the natural light but avoid facing directly outside, as this can help you focus on what’s in front of you on the screen, rather than what’s in front of you out the window. Save those scenic views for your breaks!

Store snacks at your study space

When study becomes a slog, the kitchen can suddenly start looking like a beacon of light. You’ll find yourself opening the fridge and cupboards looking for snacks and ultimately wasting time.

Start each day with healthy snacks and plenty of water at your study space so you don’t have an excuse to leave and look for something to eat.

Warn others

Flatmates, family members, and children can all be effective distractions from your studies. While some things are important, and some kids won’t understand why they can’t talk to mummy or daddy, make it as clear as possible to others that you need time to focus.

Setting up a routine will help those in your household to let you have your alone time for study. One idea is to let them know when you are planning to take breaks so they can talk to you then.

What’s your biggest distraction when studying from home, and how do you manage it?

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5 signs you’re studying too hard

Posted on 13/04/2016 by
Studying too hard can be just as bad as studying too little. Here are five signs you might be overdoing it (+ how to avoid burnout).

Studying too hard can be just as bad as studying too little. Here are five signs you might be overdoing it (+ how to avoid burnout).

When you study online via distance learning, it can be all too easy for your study to take over if you don’t set some study-life boundaries.

While keeping busy with study is a fantastic way to learn and grow, it’s important that you’re not overdoing it. Here are five signs that you might be studying too hard and need to find a way to cut back!

1. You’re not sleeping well

Sleep is a vital component in everyday life – from health to happiness and energy. Unfortunately, when you study too hard you can become stressed and anxious, and by the time you go to bed, you can’t get to sleep because it’s still all churning through your mind.

Stress about your study might also lead you to wake up throughout the night, or wake up earlier than you need to in the morning. It may help to write a to-do list before bed so that you can get those thoughts down on paper for the next day, rather than letting them circle around all night and keep you awake.

2. You don’t have much to show for your study

As much as this one doesn’t sound like it makes sense, it’s actually a common indicator that you’re studying too hard. If you get to the end of the day and can’t really say what you managed to achieve, it’s possible that your brain was too tired and unfocussed to actually achieve much at all.

It takes focus to get a lot done, and you can’t focus 24/7 no matter how hard you try. Make sure you’re taking regular study breaks to give your mind some reprieve from its workload so that you’re refreshed for the next task.

3. Your friends are giving up on you

Did you turn down that coffee date or miss out on that movie you wanted to see with friends because you were too busy studying? Your mates are probably almost as tired of your study schedule as you are.

Don’t forget to give yourself breaks to see your friends and family. Study is important, but you should never have to miss out on seeing the ones you love.

4. You procrastinate more

Procrastination is a normal human behaviour that you shouldn’t worry about too much. However, if you’re getting to the point where your day is more procrastination than study, it’s a good sign that you’ve already burnt out and simply can’t face getting anything done.

Rather than feel guilty about procrastinating, plan time out so you can do other things, then return to your study ready to get started – without checking all your social media accounts first.

5. Your health is suffering

This is a serious one – if you’re eating poorly, missing out on regular exercise, or simply spending too much time sitting still, you won’t be doing your body any favours.

As it’s all too easy to find an excuse to skip the gym or order takeaways instead of cooking a nutritious meal, health is one of the first things to go out the window when study comes a-knocking. If it goes on too long, it can adversely affect your studies and leave you feeling listless and tired.

Look for ways you can fit exercise and nutrition into your days to maintain good health and put yourself first.

Do any of these signs apply to you? Share your ideas for reducing your stress and workload in the comments below.

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How to make studying from home fun

Posted on 06/04/2016 by
Struggling to find the motivation to study from home? See our three tips below to help find the fun in learning.

Struggling to find the motivation to study from home? Read our three tips to help find the fun in learning.

We share a lot of study tips on this blog. From the best snacks to eat to stay focused, to how to study in summer when the beach is calling your name, we’re dedicated to helping you ace your travel and tourism assignments.

But all of our tips might be worthless if you don’t find any enjoyment in studying. Sure, there’s no avoiding some tedious tasks, but there are ways you can learn to love learning – you just need to think outside of the box.

Here are three tips to help make studying from home fun, so that it becomes less of a chore and more of a passion.

use colour to make study fun

1. Invest in fun stationery

Studying is the perfect excuse to buy cute stationery (as if you needed another one!). Swap boring plain lined paper for a sketch pad, journal or even a whiteboard – whatever works for you. Also, try to use plenty of colour. Think bright felt tip pens and post-it notes. The aim of this is to help get your creative juices flowing. Not only will this make studying more fun, it’ll also encourage you to think creatively about what you’re learning.

Add caption

2. Find real-world examples

Many people find study boring because they can’t connect what they’re learning on paper to what happens in the real world. Where possible, look for ways to experience what you’re learning first-hand. For example, if you are learning about what it’s like to work at the airport, why not visit your nearest airport for lunch and observe your surroundings? Or if you are learning about customer service, see if you can do some work experience at a local tourism operator.

the aural learner

3. Create a study playlist

Some people find music distracting when studying – if this is you, move right along to the next tip. But if you love bopping along to the beat while you learn, turn up the tunes and enjoy! Create a new study playlist every week as motivation to hit the books. Songs without words are best as they aren’t so distracting, but listen to whatever works for you.

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Five study break ideas to boost your concentration

Posted on 30/03/2016 by
One of the best ways to recharge your mind when you're studying is by taking a quick break to exercise and stretch.

One of the best ways to recharge your mind when you’re studying is by taking a quick break to exercise.

As counter intuitive as this may sound, one of the best study tips we can give you is this: take regular breaks. Many studies have shown that the human mind can only concentrate for short blocks at a time and requires a ‘pause’ approximately every 45 minutes.

Studying for hours and hours on end, without taking breaks, may actually negatively impact your ability to retain key information. For better results, aim to step away from your notes and recharge your batteries at least once every two hours.

Before you get too excited and turn on the television, ‘recharge your batteries’ doesn’t mean binge-watching your favourite television programme. Ideally, study breaks shouldn’t last any longer than 30 minutes and should be something which relaxes and clears your mind, and reenergises you to tackle your next assignment.

Unsure what constitutes a ‘healthy’ study break? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below are five study break ideas which are guaranteed to boost your concentrate levels.

1. Exercise

The best thing you can do for your brain is get your blood pumping. Go for a walk around the block, hit the gym, do some weights in your lounge – whatever you do, aim to get out of your computer chair and increase your heart rate. If possible, exercise outdoors – the fresh air will do you good!

2. Meditation

Studying can be stressful and overwhelming. If you begin to feel anxious, take some time away from your desk to practice meditation. Never meditated before? Don’t worry, there are several free smartphone apps which can guide you through the process. Download one today to be one step closer to relaxation.

3. Nap

As indulgent as it may feel to take a nap in the middle of the day, this is often exactly what your brain needs. Just remember a nap is about 20 to 30 minutes maximum, so remember to set an alarm. If you sleep any longer than this, you will likely feel worse.

4. Colouring In

There’s a reason adult colouring in books are flying off the shelves – this arty activity is incredibly relaxing and brings out your creative side. Many people view this as a form of meditation, as the act of colouring allows your mind to freely wander and break free from anxious thoughts. Grab your colouring pens and give it a try.

5. Clean

Feel like you have ants in your pants and can’t concentrate on your study? Put on some gloves and give your home a spring clean! The simple act of doing dishes or vacuuming can help to relax your mind and give your body a much-needed break from the computer chair. Plus you’ll get to enjoy a sparkling clean house!

How do you enjoy your study breaks? Share your favourite break ideas in the comments below.

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10 healthy study snacks to help you stay focused

Posted on 16/03/2016 by
The best study snacks are light and nutritious, providing you with plenty of energy to hit the books.

The best study snacks are light and nutritious, providing you with plenty of energy to hit the books.

For many people, one of the hardest things about studying from home is resisting the call of the kitchen. Do you ever find yourself snacking out of boredom, procrastination or habit? I don’t know about you, but every time I have to learn a difficult topic, I somehow find myself peering into the fridge instead.

Or maybe you have the opposite problem. Perhaps you get so absorbed in your studies that you forget to eat proper meals and end up snacking on whatever’s easiest to prepare – lollies, potato chips, two-minute noodles. This can negatively impact your study, as you won’t be providing the brain with enough fuel to absorb new information.

What you eat throughout the day can have a huge impact on your overall energy levels and your ability to concentrate on studying. To help you make better food decisions (and avoid running to the kitchen every few minutes out of boredom), here’s a list of 10 healthy snack ideas. Give these a try and see how you feel.

1. Carrot sticks and hummus

Fresh, fast and easy to prepare – not to mention delicious – this is a healthy filling snack that will keep ‘hanger’ away.

2. Fruit

An obvious yet underrated choice. Fruit requires minimal preparation and is the perfect thing to eat on-the-go.

3. Nuts

A handful of almonds, cashews or peanuts can be just enough to tide you over between meals. Just watch your portion sizes, as nuts have a high fat content.

4. Yoghurt

Packed with protein, a pot of natural yoghurt is the ideal thing to keep in the fridge for morning or afternoon tea.

5. Brown rice crackers

A healthy alternative to potato chips, these crackers are best enjoyed with sliced tomato or avocado.

6. Popcorn

Believe it or not, without oodles of butter and salt, popcorn is actually a light, healthy snack. Keep a bowl of popped goodness on hand for days when you’re feeling particularly peckish.

7. Muesli bars

Store-bought muesli bars are often full of sugar (you might as well just eat chocolate), but we can’t deny that they are very convenient. Look for low sugar options at the supermarket, or, if you’re feeling really inspired, make your own!

8. Cheese

A few slices of cheese can do much to satiate cravings for fatty foods such as hot chips. Spread a little peanut butter on a slice of cheese for a taste sensation!

9. Milky coffee

Although technically not food, a milky coffee can be filling, not to mention energising. Try this next time you are feeling tired mid-afternoon.

10. Dark chocolate

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be healthy, chocolate is the only snack that will do. If you are a self-confessed chocoholic, choose brands that have at least 70% cocoa content. And remember – portion control!

Do you have any go-to study snacks to help you stay focused at home? Share your favourites in the comments below.

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5 apps to help you study

Posted on 09/03/2016 by
Technology can be a massive distraction... but it can also be a huge help! Read on for five great apps to help you study.

Technology can be a massive distraction… but it can also be a huge help! Read on for five great apps to help you study.

Study can be a challenge in a digital world that’s full of online distractions. Between updating Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, it’s a wonder we find the time to do anything else!

In all seriousness, social media can really undermine your ability to study from home if you don’t find ways to manage the addiction (yes, addiction!). When was the last time you went for an hour without checking your phone? It can be tough to concentrate on bookwork when all you want to do is send funny cat photos to your friend (trust me, I’ve been there).

The good news is, technology is not all bad. There are actually some great apps that can help you study. We’ve rounded up our five favourites below.

1.StayFocusd

Do you find yourself refreshing Facebook every five minutes, not because you want to, but out of habit? This app will make this a thing of the past. A Google Chrome extension, StayFocusd can temporarily block time-wasting websites of your choice. Next time you know you need to focus for a day simply use this app to block Facebook, and watch your productivity soar!

2.Trello

Used by businesses, individuals and of course students, Trello is essentially a fancy time-management ‘to-do-list’ app. It allows you to create a ‘card’ for each task and arrange them in order of priority. You can even invite other people to view your Trello boards, perfect for when you have a group assignment. If you love being organised, you’ll love Trello, which describes itself as “the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything”.

3.Flashcards

This iOS app – Flashcards by Brainscape – allows you to create your own digital flashcards; perfect for prepping for a test or trying to memorise important facts. It’s free (or a few dollars without advertisements) and works across all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc).

4. Dragon Dictation

If you find it really hard to ‘think on paper’ and come up with better ideas when talking out loud, the use Dragon Dictation to prepare for assignments. This app will record your voice, so you can play your thoughts back when it comes time to actually write your essay or prep for your test. It’s a good way to make sure you capture all of your ideas without having to take physical notes.

5. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can)

This app is quite possibly one of the most annoying apps ever invented, but it is perfect for those of you who are prone to sleeping in late. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) is very clever; the only way you can turn the alarm off is by taking a photo of a ‘registered object’. For example, you might register a photo of your kitchen sink or your front door – this means that in order to turn your alarm off in the morning, you have to physically get up and take a picture. Sleep if you can!

Do you use any great study apps? Tell us your favourites in the comments below.

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How to study in summer when the beach is calling your name

Posted on 17/02/2016 by
Trying to study but all you can think about is the beach? See our tips below for how to stay focused on beautiful summer days.

Trying to study but all you can think about is the beach? See our tips below for how to stay focused on beautiful summer days.

Studying from home during the warm summer months can be tough. Beautiful blue sky days probably have you dreaming about the beach. It can be tempting to ignore your assignments, pack a picnic and head to the water for a day of sunbathing and swimming.

While trading study for the beach sounds amazing (let’s be honest – we’d all rather be on holiday all summer!), we’re here to help you stay motivated. Here’s how to stay focused during summer, no matter how loudly the beach is calling your name.

Take your books outside

Staying inside on a beautiful day often feels plain wrong – as if you are wasting perfectly good weather. There’s only one way to beat this: take your study stuff outside. Do some reading in your garden, at a nearby park or even outside at a local café. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and sit in the shade where possible. While we wouldn’t recommend studying outside all day, every day, a few hours in the fresh air will help you stay focused and give your soul a much needed dose of nature.

Study in the mornings and evenings

Here’s a genius idea: if you start studying at dawn and study for a few hours after dinner, then you could spend the middle of the day at the beach! This plan only works if you’re disciplined and stick to your new schedule (we’re talking 5am wake-up calls). But, if you think you could totally squeeze in study around your beach outing, then by all means – give it a whirl. There’s nothing nicer than having the beach all to yourself while everyone else is in class or at work.

Buy a fan or study at an air conditioned library

One of the hardest parts about studying from home in summer is staying cool – literally. Unlike classrooms, most homes don’t come with air conditioning. If your house resembles an oven, it’s a good idea to invest in a fan. This will do wonders for your energy levels! Another good idea is to study at the library. These quiet, air conditioned spaces will help you stay focused even on the hottest of days.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet is important all year round, but it’s especially helpful when you’re trying to stay focused in the summer heat. Nothing will put you to sleep faster than a carb-heavy hot meal! Instead of digging into porridge for breakfast and pasta for lunch, try to eat lighter meals such as smoothies and salads. Veggie-packed meals will leave you feeling healthy and energised.

Make the most of your time off

Everyone needs a break every now and then. Next time you have a few hours to yourself, don’t waste them inside watching reruns of Friends. Instead, head straight to the beach to get your fix. Summer is often over before we know it, so be sure to make the most of every bit of downtime you have.

Happy studying!

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Five reasons why it’s never too late to start studying

Posted on 10/02/2016 by
Don't let time pass you by. It's never too late to start studying towards your dream career.

Don’t let time pass you by. It’s never too late to start studying towards your dream career.

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” – Paulo Coelho

Today, many young people are encouraged to pursue higher education once they finish secondary school – but this wasn’t always the case. Earlier generations often embarked on a different path in life, such as going straight into the workforce or having children. They may have sacrificed studying in order to follow a different dream.

If this sounds like you, you may sometimes find yourself wondering what life would have been like if you had chosen to study your passion. Well, maybe it’s time to stop wondering and give further education a try. Thanks to distance learning, it’s now easier than ever to make studying part of your life.

Here are five reasons why it’s never too late to start studying.

1. Life experience will make you a better student

Some mature students worry they won’t be able to keep up with their younger counterparts. In fact, the opposite is often true! Your life experience will likely give you an edge over other students. You’ll be able to bring real-world experience to the table, and may even act as a mentor or role model.

2. You might have more financial stability

Those who start studying later in life can often afford to pay for some of their courses upfront, hereby reducing financial pressure. Although pursuing a new career path is always daunting, you’ll have peace of mind that you have other experience and jobs to fall back on if needed.

3. There are many flexible study options available

Education has adapted to the digital world, meaning you can now study many courses from home, in your own time, at your own pace! This provides you with the freedom to juggle several commitments, such as part-time work and childcare. Study From Home graduate Rebekah Linton has some great tips for balancing work and study.

4. You’ll be a role model for your children

If you have children, you might be worried that returning to study will leave them feeling neglected. In reality, they will probably admire your motivation. You’ll lead by example and show them it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Who knows, you might even inspire them to study too! This happened to one Study From Home graduate; mum Robyn Hicks studied travel and tourism and now both of her daughters are following in her footsteps.

5. Personal fulfilment will make you happier

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as the sense of achievement you feel when you graduate. Studying is not easy; it takes a lot of hard work and commitment. But the light at the end of the tunnel is increased personal fulfilment and overall happiness. You’ll never regret taking steps to follow your dreams.

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Post-holiday blues? Three ways to re-find your motivation to study

Posted on 20/01/2016 by
Add caption

Does returning to study have you feeling a bit like this? Read on for some strategies for beating the back-to-study blues.

Finding it hard to get back into the swing of study after a relaxing Christmas and New Year break? We feel your pain. Saying goodbye to sleep-ins, lazy days at the beach and uninterrupted family time can be tough!

Unfortunately returning to work and study is inevitable for most people (unless you’ve somehow managed to find the secret to being on holiday all the time – if that’s you, please share!). The good news is – we’re all in this together. And there’s plenty to be positive about, if only you have the right attitude.

Here’s three tried and tested tips to refocus on study and re-find your motivation to succeed.

1. Create a new study schedule

It’s amazing how quickly we fall out of study habits when we’re on holiday. One week you’re waking up at the same time every day and in a really great study routine, the next you’re sleeping in until noon.

A good way to get back into routine is to start fresh. Write a new study schedule (even if it’s exactly the same as your old one). It’s the process of writing it that’s important – it will refocus your mind on your priorities, and it’s much easier than launching straight into study on day one. In other words, start small and you’ll get there.

2. Add a little bit of fun to your everyday life

Getting back into study is hard because we think we have to be studious 24-7 to get good results. While it is important to put in the work, it’s equally important to treat yourself on a regular basis.

If you find a way to add some fun into your everyday routine, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. We’re not saying ditch your notes and head to the beach; instead, set small goals and reward yourself with something you love doing at the end of each study session.

3. Plan your next holiday

One of the main reasons we get depressed after a holiday comes to an end is because it feels like it will be YEARS before we’ll get a chance to go on another one. So why not start planning for your next adventure now?

It may be months before you can get away, but planning is a good cure for wanderlust. It will also motivate you to work harder and save more money – a win-win situation.

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How to succeed at studying from home

Posted on 16/12/2015 by
One of the best ways to ensure study from home success is by creating a weekly or monthly study schedule - and sticking to it!

One of the best ways to ensure study from home success is by creating a weekly or monthly study schedule – and sticking to it!

Nine times out of ten, studying from home feels like a dream. You can revise your notes in your favourite comfy pants, sit outside in the sunshine and drink as many cups of coffee as you want. And my personal favourite? When it’s raining you don’t have to face the elements – you can stay huddled under a blanket with your course books.

But sometimes having the freedom to study whenever you want can work against you. Ever found yourself sitting down to study only to start watching TV or browsing social media? One of the hardest things about studying from home is staying motivated and resisting the temptation of procrastination.

Fortunately over the years we’ve come across some excellent strategies for study from home success. If you’re feeling behind in your course work or worried distance learning isn’t for you, please have a read of these tips – you might be surprised at how one little change in your study habits can make such a difference.

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Three ways to study smarter, not harder

Posted on 18/11/2015 by
Do you often find yourself daydreaming about where you'd rather be when you're meant to be studying? Although fun, this can actually cause you to study for twice as long as you need to!

Do you find it hard to stay focused and motivated when studying? See below for tips on how to improve your study techniques and get better results.

Do you have a limited amount of time to study each day? If so, this post is for you. We understand that not everyone has eight hours a day to spend memorising their notes. This is why we encourage our students to ‘study smarter, not harder’.

So what does this mean, exactly? Smart study is all about making the most of the time you have available to you – whether it’s 30 minutes or two hours. Here are three ways you can maximise your study productivity so that not a second is wasted. You’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve within a short amount of time if you really focus!

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Study tips for busy parents

Posted on 14/10/2015 by
Studying with kids isn't easy, but with the right support and techniques, it is definitely possible.

Studying with kids isn’t easy, but with the right support and techniques, it is definitely possible.

As anyone with children knows, being a parent is a full-time job in itself! Yet many of our students have kids and study part-time in between nappy changes, school runs and the odd tantrum. It’s not easy, but it is possible – and, with the right approach, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Every situation is different, but there are a few tried and tested techniques for juggling study and kids. We rounded up some of the best tips:

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Five minutes with Study From Home student Drue Walker

Posted on 23/09/2015 by
Study From Home student Drue Walker shares some study tips and advice

Study From Home student Drue Walker shares some study tips and advice

What are some of the benefits and challenges about distance learning? We caught up with Study From Home student Drue Walker about her experience so far.

Why is Study From Home the best option for you?

Study From Home seemed like the best option for me as I have a full time job and want to keep earning while studying.

What are some highlights about distance learning?

I’m able to work my course around my day-to-day schedule, and if I have any questions I can easily access answers or information on the ITC website or contact a tutor.
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Study tips: three time management techniques for when stress hits

Posted on 16/09/2015 by
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of study you need to do? We share some time management techniques to help you get back on track.

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of study you need to do? We share some time management techniques to help you get back on track.

Sometimes stress can come out of nowhere. One day you’re feeling focused and in control, the next you feel overwhelmed by the mountain of work in front of you. When this happens, you have three choices:

  • Crawl back under the covers and pretend your to-do list doesn’t exist (aka – procrastinate).
  • Start working frantically, jumping from one task to the next, with barely a moment to stop and eat let alone check whether your work is up to standard (aka – take your stress levels and multiply them by 100).
  • Reassess your priorities (aka – get back in control)

 
Can you guess which approach we support?

When stress hits, the first thing you need to do is get organised and reassess your priorities. If you have a short amount of time to achieve a certain number of goals, then you need to figure out which tasks need to be done immediately, and which tasks can wait.

Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are three time management techniques that will help you become more productive and less stressed.
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Highlights from Orientation Day

Posted on 09/09/2015 by
The Orientation Day includes fun group activities, including a short assessment - you'll walk away from the day with your first credits towards the course

The Orientation Day includes fun group activities, including a short assessment – you’ll walk away from the day with your first credits

Did you know all of our courses include an Orientation Day in Auckland? Held at one of our fabulous campuses, this compulsory, full-day workshop is an excellent opportunity for you to get to know your tutors and fellow classmates.

The most recent Orientation Day was in August and held at the ITC City Campus. Our students travelled to Auckland from all around New Zealand to attend this valuable workshop. We promise it’s worth the journey – in fact, according to Study From Home Team Leader Carla Sutton, Orientation Day is often the key to ensuring every student gets off to a flying start.

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Motivated mum of 7 sets up home office in wardrobe

Posted on 26/08/2015 by
Now this is what we call Kiwi ingenuity! Michelle's innovative home office is a shining example of 'when there is a will, there is a way".

Now this is what we call Kiwi ingenuity! Michelle’s innovative home office is a shining example of ‘when there is a will, there is a way”.

Where do you go when you want some peace and quiet away from your children? Why, the wardrobe, of course!

When Michelle Laidlaw decided to study from home, she knew she would need a secluded place where she could concentrate on her work without distractions. So the motivated mother of seven got creative and converted her bedroom wardrobe into a cosy home office.

“With my course related costs I brought myself a new computer and measured up my wardrobe. I then drove to the Warehouse Stationery with my tape measure in order to find a desk that would fit into my wardrobe so I could close the doors when not in use,” Michelle explained.

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Strapped for cash? These three budgeting tips could save you money

Posted on 05/08/2015 by
The more money you save, the more you'll be able to spend in the future; it's a win-win situation!

The more money you save, the more you’ll be able to spend in the future; it’s a win-win situation!

Let’s be honest, student life is pretty sweet. Yes, there are exams and essays and deadlines, but most of the time you’re learning about something you love. There’s just one little thing that would make it better; more money!

One of the hardest things about being a student is managing your finances. It can be difficult to earn a regular income when you are studying, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to get into unnecessary debt, like these students who spent their course related costs on non-study items (this article is a great example of what not to do).

With a little bit of forward thinking and careful planning, you can save some money while you are studying. Feel like you need some help in this department? Here are three of our best budgeting tips.

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How to juggle work and study (and not go crazy!)

Posted on 15/07/2015 by
Feeling overwhelmed by all of the work you have to do? Read on for advice on how to manage study, work and your social life!

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the work you have to do? Read on for advice on how to manage study, work and your social life!

Study From Home student Rebekah Linton is quite the superstar. She is currently studying, working and preparing for her wedding next year. Her grades are outstanding and she is even ahead on some of her courses! We asked her to share some of her study secrets.

How do I do it?

This is quite often the question I get asked when people hear that I am studying long distance while still working full time. And the answer to this question comes in two easy parts – 1. Plan and 2. Get ahead!

How to plan for success

Planning is the key to being successful in studying while working. And it doesn’t take much, just sitting down for a few minutes and writing down a study calendar is a great place to start.

You have to be realistic though! Yes you work many hours a week, and plan to study 15 hours, but don’t forget about meal times, socializing, personal errands and of course SLEEP!  Just dot down all of your fixed hours each week, and slot in some hours for study.

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Five minutes with Study From Home student Rebekah Linton

Posted on 11/06/2015 by
Study From Home student Rebekah Linton is studying towards becoming a travel agent. This is a picture of her from a recent trip to Disney World

Study From Home student Rebekah Linton is studying towards becoming a travel agent. This is a picture of her from a recent trip to Disney World

What is it like to Study From Home? We caught up with current student Rebekah Linton to find out how her distance learning experience is going.

What sparked your interest in travel and tourism?

Travelling has always been something I have loved to do, as I like visiting new places and learning about new cultures. I’m also a real foodie and love to try out local dishes of the places I visit.

Ever since I was young I was lucky enough to be able to do a fair bit of travelling with my family. I would often go on trips around NZ with my grandparents during the school holidays, and I would usually go on some sort of overseas destination with my parents once a year such as Australia or Vanuatu. I’ve also done Camp America for two years – I spent 3 months at a time working in a summer camp in Maine and Connecticut.

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Five myths about distance learning (and why you should ignore them)

Posted on 29/04/2015 by
Sorry to disappoint, but there's more to distance learning than studying in your pajamas with your cat. We bust some common distance learning myths

Sorry to disappoint, but there’s more to distance learning than studying in your pajamas with your cat (although this is a great bonus!) Photo credit: Luke Redmond // Flickr Creative Commons

Thinking about studying from home? A quick Google search of ‘distance learning’ will provide you with plenty of information about this study option, but there may be a few myths lurking among the helpful advice.

We’re here to help clarify any confusion. Here are five common myths about distance learning (and why you should ignore them).

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How to create a dedicated study space at home

Posted on 05/03/2015 by

Does your home study space put you to sleep? Don't worry, we've come up with some tips to create a study space that works for you. Photo credit: CollegeDegrees 360, Flickr Creative Commons

Does your home study space put you to sleep? Don’t worry, we’ve come up with some tips to create a study space that works for you. [Photo credit: CollegeDegrees 360, Flickr Creative Commons]

One of the most challenging aspects of studying from home is creating a space where you can concentrate on your learning with absolutely no distractions.

It’s far too tempting to juggle writing an essay with putting on a load of washing, watching the television or preparing a meal. Everywhere you look, you probably see chores waiting to be done!

The key to success is to set aside a dedicated study space. A space you can retreat to when you need some quiet time. This is especially important if you have a family or share a house with other people.

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Is studying from home right for you?

Posted on 26/02/2015 by
ITC's Study From Home option suits many people from different circumstances. Read on to find out if it could be an option for you

ITC’s Study From Home option suits many people from different circumstances. Read on to find out if it could be an option for you

Studying from home, otherwise known as online learning or distance learning, is an excellent option for people who want a great qualification but cannot attend regular on-campus classes.

At the International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC), we offer the option to study four excellent courses from home. That means you can gain an airline, travel and tourism qualification from anywhere in New Zealand!

Are you thinking about studying from home, but are unsure if this is the right decision for you?

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