Greg Stark – Public Sociology – Level 3

Slippery Rock University, USA

Part 1

An International exchange?

Can I do an exchange to the United States when I am 28 years old, married, have a mortgage to pay and have a job?

Let’s start by rewinding ten years…

When I first came to QMU in 2006 as a fresh faced eighteen-year-old to study Sociology and Cultural Studies I was ready to take on the world. The sociological world that is. Most reading this blog will not be able to comprehend that I came from Fife to study at QMU…in Corstorphine! Before the huge, shiny, hospital like Craighall Campus was erected I studied at the old campus which was a world away from pre lecture, student discounted Lattes from Starbucks.

Fast forward to the age of twenty and I was defeated. Struggling to cope with the financial challenges of being a student and the work / life balance, I decided to take a year out after my second year. After obtaining my Diploma in Higher Education I planned to return a year later. After a few quick promotions at work I was earning well and living a more comfortable life. I asked myself; why go back and eat super noodles and drink Value Lager when I can afford to eat out and buy beer that’s not on promotion? That would be crazy…wouldn’t it?

Well no it wouldn’t be. After eight years working with the same company, a good five years picking up invaluable management experience, I decided enough is enough. If I ever want to get my degree and follow my dream to do a job helping people improve their lives, it needs to be now.

With a wedding coming up…that’s my wedding I’m talking about…a mortgage payment coming out the bank every month and a honeymoon to pay for would this be the best decision? After much deliberation and support from my now wife, I decided it was time.

After a few chats with a very helpful head of department I was back at QMU as an associate student. Studying one day a week, whilst working fulltime, I obtained a satisfactory grade to return as a direct entry to 3rd year Public Sociology. I couldn’t believe that I was going to get my degree. Super chuffed!

That brings us to September 2016.

Now a third year Public Sociology student, working as a disability employment advisor for a fantastic voluntary organisation based in Edinburgh, I am now on track to achieve my goal.

You’re now probably thinking, well that was a very nice story Greg however what about the exchange? Ah yes…this is all relevant to the decision to go on an international exchange in which I will share next…

Semester Abroad Experiences

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