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Eman Ghandour

Eman GhandourEman Ghandour
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, Criminology (minor)

After finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the end of last year, Eman started working as a Youth Case Worker for the Dunedin Red Cross, focused on how best to settle former refugee youth into New Zealand and into Dunedin.

“I’m in love with it, I think it’s one of the best jobs a fresh graduate could get. It involves everything from talking one on one with refugee youth, to making personalised plans with schools, to transitioning them into work.

“A lot of people have this perception that if you study Sociology you won’t get to work in a job related to your degree but I am exactly where my degree should take me. My study really prepared me for my job now; I do a lot of planning and organising and a lot of connecting with agencies, which we had to do in Sociology.

“I found Sociology so rewarding. To learn things that give you a new perspective on the world is really valuable, and it has led to a career that is just as rewarding. I work with students who may never have had the option of education before, and to help them discover the opportunities available is amazing.”

Having emigrated from Jordan 10 years ago, Eman is able to use her own experiences to connect with the students she works with.

“I came to New Zealand and couldn’t speak English, I had to learn it as I went. To go through that and then go to University and be successful is really inspirational for a lot of students that I work with.”

Growing up Eman always wanted to make a difference and change the world, but it wasn’t until after she started University that she realised Sociology was her passion.

"I came to University to do marketing, but in the first semester I realised it wasn’t something I connected with. I had always thought I liked business because I was good at it in school, but I came to university and was like ‘this is not me’.

“I decided to go to a lot of different lectures for fun and see what I liked. In SOCI 101, we learned about issues of race/ethnicity, gender and class in New Zealand society. . I basically fell in love with Sociology and from there I did every single Sociology paper I could.

“The teaching and support was really amazing. Sociology is quite a small department, so you get a lot of time to work one on one with lecturers, and you get a lot of feedback for the projects you are working on, which is very valuable in terms of improving your skill set.

“Every time you did a paper, you came out as a whole new person with a whole new perspective, and I think that is really good. I would make everyone do a Sociology paper, if I was able to, just so you can learn to see things from other perspectives.”