Corina Bedlington, North East Market Researcher, Hays Travel
Corina Bedlington was a single mum, doing a variety of part-time jobs when she first thought about studying for a degree.
She saw a degree as a way of escaping a life of doing low-paid, unsatisfying jobs and a chance for her to pursue her dream of working in the travel industry.
And three years after graduating from the University of Sunderland, Corina has realised her dream, working as part of the North East Marketing department for Hays Travel, overseeing online advertising of holidays for Sky, Teletext and the internet.
Corina said: "Studying for a degree seemed like a massive leap, particularly with having a break in my education, but the thought of it was exciting too.
"Although it was a challenge at times, the support I was given from both staff and students at the university was superb. I can honestly say that my experience and time at the University of Sunderland not only changed my life for the better, but that of my family's too."
After completing a foundation degree as a stepping stone to starting at university, Corina enrolled at the University of Sunderland to do a degree in Tourism Management.
Corina said: "It was daunting at first but I very quickly got a taste for it and I loved the studying. The facilities were excellent, the support was amazing and tailored to my individual needs and the one-to-one tutoring was second to none.
"The whole experience definitely excelled my expectations and not only did I learn more through my studies, but I also really grew in self-confidence during my time at university."
Soon after graduating, Corina joined Hays Travel, where she decided to specialise in marketing.
Corina said: "Going to the University of Sunderland was completely the right choice for me - it turned my life around and that of my family's too. My eldest daughter is now 10 and already talking about going to university when she's 18.
"Studying for a degree has given me much more self-belief and what I learned at university is one hundred per cent relevant to the job I am doing now.
"I am still in contact with my tutor and I recently talked to him about the possibility of doing a Masters, which I am hoping to do sometime in the future."
Corina Bedlington, BSc (Hons) Tourism Management, North East Market Researcher, Hays Travel