Case Study

Gabriela Preteusi

BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care (Top-Up)


Gabriela came to the UK when her son was diagnosed with a sensory disability. She tells us how the experience drove her to study for her Health and Social Care degree, and how she found a passion for helping her fellow students along the way.

From my very first day, the staff were so supportive. They’ve given me so much guidance and helped me get involved in life here.

“I’m the mother of a son with a sensory disability. That’s what motivated me to study for my BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care (Top-Up). It’s also the reason we came to London from Romania to find a solution, hoping for surgery. But by the time we got here, his condition has gotten to the point where the operation wouldn’t have worked.

That wasn’t an easy thing to accept, but I was so inspired by the attitude my son had to the whole situation. He didn’t let it upset him. Instead, he completed courses in English and Maths to make sure he could do well in society.

The experience left me with an understanding of what families go through when they get a long-term diagnosis as we did. I wanted to help people that were facing the same kinds of things that I had experienced. So I did an HND in health and social care and later applied to the University of Sunderland in London to ‘top-up’ my degree to a full undergraduate honours. 

I did a lot of research before I applied to study here. I found that the University’s reputation is great. From my very first day, the staff were really supportive. They’ve given me so much guidance and helped me get involved in life here. For example, the Events Manager, and the Health and Wellbeing Managers, helped me set up the Health and Wellbeing Society. We ran loads of activities around important things like smoking awareness and stress management. I felt like I was given the tools I needed to help my new community.

During my time at the University, I applied for, and got an Internship with the Library which gave me the confidence to apply for a position in Student Engagement, which I was delighted to get. Now I feel that I get to give something back to the place that did so much for me. And I get to be that helpful person that I relied on so much. 

The things I’ve learned at the University have had a huge impact on my personal life and on my career path. I’m looking forward to graduating and fulfilling my dreams. I dedicated my life to my son when I was younger. Now, I’m a very proud grandmother of two young children. It’s been a long journey and life-changing experience. I’m pleased that what’s motivated me has become a source of inspiration for my children, grandchildren and, hopefully, fellow students at the University.

I’m so grateful to the University and the staff who have made a huge contribution to shaping my future and making it so bright.”

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