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Student Story: Andrew

Blog — 18th March 2019

NTC Glasgow Learning Centre has a long and rich heritage, providing Christian theological education in the heart of the east end of Glasgow. We spoke to Andrew one of the current students studying on the youth and community programme to ask him about his experiences, both in the classroom and during his practical placements.

Although Andrew benefits from learning how other students approach youth work through weekly placement seminars at Nazarene Theological college (Glasgow Learning Centre), the main questions he is grappling with are, “Who am I as a youth worker? and how do I work within a youth context?

“Studying at NTC is helping me examine these questions and begin to find the answers for myself,” he said.

He explores these questions through his placement two days a week at Whiteinch Transformation, an organization “seeking financial, social, relational and spiritual transformation in Whiteinch, Glasgow,” according to their mission statement. Whiteinch is an industrial area where the residents struggle with generational unemployment and poverty.

“Studying at NTC is helping me examine these questions and begin to find the answers for myself,”

The organisation offers a food bank, counseling services, community and youth groups, as well as a CAP Service (Christians Against Poverty).

Andrew’s primary responsibilities are helping with the youth group twice a week, preparing Bible studies on Sunday, and mentoring youth between the ages of 11 and 16. The placement “gives me a sense of purpose. I actually want to get out of bed in the morning and come to work,” he says. “And that’s new for me.”

Through building and nurturing relationships within a community based organisation, he sees the young people he is mentoring and journeying with grow and change in so many positive ways.

When he returns to the classroom for the Tuesday placement seminars, he hears other students share stories from their placements, and they all encourage one another.

“This is a student-led space,” he says. “We are in a safe space to be able to challenge each other, question each other in a critical thinking space; to freely discuss our thoughts and opinions about what we do and why we do it.”

Placements hold immense value for students, he says, because they are able to implement in reality what they have discussed as theory in class, or studied in their readings.

“For anyone starting out studying theology my advice would be to do the weekly reading, do not be put off by the amount and take regular breaks. Also, don’t be afraid to share your own beliefs or opinions in class, even if they are not fully formed as these will help the other students.”

Andrew is currently looking at becoming a youth worker after he graduates but is also taking it step by step and is open to other possibilities.