13 July 2021

After searching the world, Dorren Naia stumbled across distance learning at the University Of East London (UEL) in 2020 and has never looked back. The BSc Psychology student says it has given her the ability to work and study again with no obstacles - and in her home country of Brunei.

From 2008-2012, Dorren completed her Biomaterials Science and Tissue Engineering degree at Sheffield University.  But after returning to her Brunei homeland, she felt stagnant and knew she wanted to continue to study further.

I was never 100% satisfied so I searched online for distance learning courses across the UK and Australia because I knew that was the only way I could further my studies. My goal was to find a course in psychology because people have always fascinated me, how they behave, and in particular, issues around mental health and child psychology,"

Dorren Naia, UEL psychology student, said.

Since returning to Brunei, Dorren has been working full time for BruneiLNG, on a large-scale liquefaction plant for one of the world's leading suppliers of natural gas.  The job comes with serious risks, such as the potential hazards of fire, explosion and confined spaces.

Dorren continues, "This is a stressful job and mental health is not a common issue that is discussed in Brunei.  The demand for psychologists is small so my goal would be to finish my degree and get my licence as a therapist so I can offer my services here in Brunei.

"As soon as I found the course at UEL, I knew I had found the right one.  Not only did they offer a variety of modules within the degree, but the biggest advantage was that I did not have to go to campus at any stage during the course duration, not even to sit exams.  Most online courses still expect you to travel to campus at some stage during the degree."

After working for 8 years at the gas plant, sometimes completing 12-hour shifts, Dorren knew it was time to change her future.

She said, "UEL has a great track record and, although the course is challenging, I love the fact that it is flexible, and the lecturers have been incredibly supportive. I can set my own pace and I do not have to worry about missing something important."

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