Staff Spotlight: Ed Hands

Tutor (trainee)

Ed is a former Art History Abroad (AHA) student in 2015 and has joined AHA as a Trainee Tutor. Having graduated from Contemporary Media Practice from the University of Westminster – a practice-based arts course specializing in lens-based media, Ed is off to study at the Royal College of Art in September 2019. He also has an unstoppable appetite for any kind of pasta!

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory is of a moment I experienced as an AHA student, of course – a private viewing of St. Mark's at night time, specifically when the lights were out. Mesmeric!

Tutors always talk about looking at objects with the “period eye” which means looking at the object from the same viewpoint as someone who was living at the same time the object was created. In this case, there was no need to think about that; it was in front of us! It was absolutely stunning!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I'm currently doing work both in a school and university in London alongside working for AHA, and spending time with AHA has helped me realize that although there is great satisfaction in helping students with their creative work (as I do at both the school and uni I work at), there is no greater reward than seeing students happy, smile, and have a great time. There is something fundamentally rewarding to that.

I'm only 23 – maybe this makes me incredibly middle-aged, but really, it's a key part of a tutor's job to make sure everyone is having fun, and it is so satisfying to see it on AHA.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Given that I'm only a trainee, I must admit I don't know that many yet, but I'm hopeful I'll hear many more in the future!

One I do know about though, is of a student who really enjoyed his time earlier this year with AHA. He told me he is in the process of taking part of another AHA course later this year. Perhaps more importantly, he has expressed that his time with AHA was the best time of his life and that it was revelatory and life-changing. I felt so lucky to have been on AHA, and if students leave feeling the same way I did, in so many ways, it actually feels better than if I myself were to do it.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I’d choose the Semester course just because I can't get enough of Italy and AHA, and certainly could do with the chance of improving my Italian!

It's the chance to not only get to grips with so much of Italy, but Europe, even London as well! I've lived in London for a few years now, and looking at this year's semester course, all of it looks so interesting. Sessions on Open House London, introduction to the villages that make London, and Women's Place in Parliament really catch my eye. The tutors are all so varied. I’m sure I would learn so many things even from the things I’ve already seen before!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I'm always proud of AHA!

What makes AHA unique is its emphasis on enjoyment, and enjoying learning. So often in schools and universities, you spend time trying to complete exams, homework, reading, etc. In some cases, the idea of enjoyment and enjoying to learn is completely lost. With AHA, it's at the core of what the company strives for; AHA isn't just about courses in Art History, it is 6 weeks of unbelievable fun with friends you'll likely have for life in one of the most fascinating and amazing countries in the world!

On AHA, learning is not a task or a chore, it just flows freely. The important part is to have fun, enjoy the incredible scenery, and enjoy the incredible people you'll meet along the way.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

When it comes to AHA, it has to do with putting students’ happiness and enjoyment first. Not far after, there's such an amazing diversity to all the tutors; we all come from various backgrounds having done all sorts of things. It's clear from being a student, and now learning the ropes with them, how much they care and enjoy what they do.