Rural men’s experience of returning to study in human services and social sciences


  • Natasha Long La Trobe Rural Health School
  • Rob Townsend


rural, men, returning to study, human services, social sciences, experience


This article discusses the narratives of twelve participants who shared their experiences of returning to study as mature-age men. The majority of the participants came from small rural farming communities where the expectation from their family and friends was about finding employment, preferably working on the family farm, not about continuing with education. Significant life events such as family illness also impacted on decisions in relation to further study. The narratives reveal a complex composition of societally gendered expectations, family expectations and individual expectations that influence boys’/men’s identities as learners no matter their age. Questions remain in relation to how mature-aged men can be engaged to consider education as an available option. Tertiary education for the participants in this research clearly had positive outcomes in relation to familial relationships and wellbeing.


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