Sarah Cusworth Sarah Cusworth originally comes from the UK but has lived in China, South Korea and Mexico. She studied for an online psychology MSc with the University of Liverpool while living in Malaysia, working as Head of Social Sciences for an international school in Kuala Lumpur.

She graduated with her master’s in December 2014 and received a Student of the Year award. We interviewed Sarah when she was roughly half-way through her master’s.

What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool for this degree?

I had been looking for a degree that was flexible and also linked in with my work for a couple of years but hadn't found the right one. The University of Liverpool grabbed my attention due to how hands-on the studying was and the level of classroom interaction that was expected, plus the modules really fit well with my work.

At what stage are you in the programme and what have been the highlights and challenges so far?

I have just come to the end of my fifth module. I have really enjoyed everything so far as the course content is interesting and applicable to my general worklife. I have found the biggest challenge to be the balance between work and studying.

What are you enjoying most about studying online with the University of Liverpool?

I absolutely love the classroom participation and interaction with students from all over the globe. I have been pleasantly surprised to see how diverse people's backgrounds are, and really enjoy the group discussions that take place. I find these discussions to be a very valuable tool which everyone can benefit from.

How are you expanding your international network by studying online for your MSc?

I am meeting a fantastic variety of individuals in the online classroom, with people from all over the world with a wide range of backgrounds. I have even met a Malaysian, although she is currently living in Europe.

There are people from other parts of Asia, and Europe, a few North and South Americans, and several South Africans; in fact it feels like every module has widened my international network one step further!

How do you fit online study into your life? How does it work out in practice?

Fitting online study into my life has been a real challenge as not only is work extremely busy, but I tend to travel a lot in my free time and also as part of my work. Recently I was trekking in the jungle with a group of students which meant that I had no internet connection; that proved very difficult to manage the studies.

Normally when I travel, I will sit on the beach or in a café with my laptop working at the same time. During term time I have to get up at 5am to study before work, and usually work later in the evening when I get home.

How is the programme helping you in your life and career?

I have been working as the Head of Social Sciences for a few years already at the school I am currently working at, but the course has really helped me to consolidate my subject knowledge in Psychology and push my students to higher levels. The understanding I am currently gaining has allowed me to speak at greater depths regarding issues in the classroom and student body, which is proving useful across the board.

Please explain how useful and relevant this MSc programme is for your current and potential roles.

From an academic knowledge perspective, it has deepened my understanding allowing me to challenge my students further, but also the upcoming modules on the psychology of learning and social psychology will prove to be extremely useful from an applied sense.

Do you have an idea already of what you will research for your dissertation?

I have not decided exactly what I will research for my dissertation yet, however working as a teacher in an international school I have realised that I would like to delve deeper into the area of third culture kids (TCK) and investigate this in more depth.

Students in international schools are different to other types of schools and I am interested in finding out more about the positive impact of growing up in a different international setting to the one that your parents are from.

I would recommend the University of Liverpool because...

...it is a fantastic, interactive learning environment which allows a flexibility to study not offered by many other institutions. The diverse mix of students and supportive faculty members offer a variety of experiences which facilitate the learning process even more than I ever expected to be possible.

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