Frequently Asked Questions
What does ExSoc do?
The University of Glasgow Exploration Society (ExSoc) is a student-led society that has been going, in its present form, since 1988. ExSoc runs 7-8 student-led expeditions every year to countries like Iceland, Trinidad, Guyana, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Cameroon and also within Scotland to the Isle of Harris. You can find out more about the history of ExSoc here.
How can I join ExSoc?
You can join ExSoc throughout the academic year however if you want to apply for expeditions, you must become a member until applications close. At the beginning of the year, there are always many opportunities to meet the ExSoc committee and sign up for a membership:
- at Freshers Fair during Freshers Week
- at the GUEST Sustainability Fair during Freshers Week
- at Proposals Evening (read about what it is and when it happens under “How and when can I apply for expeditions?”)
- at ZooSoc or SeaSoc events
- on selected days somewhere on campus (these are usually announced on Facebook a couple days prior)
If you cannot make it to any of the above to get membership, then contact us through social media or email!
What does being part of an expedition mean?
Expedition teams are made up of 6-12 students, including two leaders. Each team starts working together around the end of October to design research projects, apply for grants from the university and other funding bodies, organise fundraising events, obtain necessary equipment and plan their trip. While some weeks are busier than others, being part of an expedition team requires work throughout the whole year and continues after the trip has ended.
How and when can I apply for expeditions?
Applications usually open shortly before Proposals Evening and close roughly within a week after.
Proposals Evening is an event that usually takes place at the beginning of October in the Graham Kerr Building. During Proposals the last years’ leaders give presentations on each expedition outlining the details of the next expedition, like:
- the duration and dates of the trip
- how much is the personal contribution of each member
- the living conditions
- research possibilities
- specific requirements of team members
If you can’t make it to Proposals Evening, don’t worry! All essential details will be posted on our website and if you want to know more, you can always ask! Applications are also online and links will be available on Facebook and on the website.
I do not study Zoology or Geography, can I go on an expedition?
Yes! While research conducted on expeditions is largely zoology, marine biology and geography based, students from all degree groups and years are welcome. Over the years, students from Engineering, Politics, Architecture, Veterinary Medicine, Mathematics, English, Psychology and Business, Theoretical Physics, Earth Sciences and many more disciplines have gone on expeditions and had fantastic experiences.
I am an ERASMUS student, can I go on an expedition?
Expeditions require involvement throughout the whole year, so unfortunately if you are studying at UofG only for a semester, you won’t be able to become an expedition team member. However, you are more than welcome to attend expedition fundraising events!
If you are in Glasgow for the whole year, then you are welcome to apply.
I am a Postgraduate student, can I go on an expedition?
Yes, over the years many PG students have gone on expeditions with great success. You could potentially collect data for your Masters thesis on an expedition as well, however you should check with your advisor first to make sure your thesis deadlines line up with the expedition.
Do I need previous fieldwork experience to go on an expedition?
No! While the fieldwork is important, there are many more components that make an expedition successful. Having fundraising or event organising experience can be sufficient as long as you are willing to learn the research methods. Even if you have had no experience at all, showing that you are hard-working, reliable, take initiative and contribute ideas will be enough for you to be considered. One of the main aims of expeditions is to give less-experienced students, often in lower years, a chance to learn from 3rd and 4th year students while doing research.
Do I need to pay to go on an expedition?
Yes, each expedition requires some amount of personal contributions from each member. These range from £200 to £1,000 depending on the expedition. You can find the specific amounts for each expedition here, although these may change between years. There also might be additional costs depending on what kind of equipment you have personally, like hiking gear, waterproof clothing, or diving gear.
However, we do understand that not everyone will have the privilege of spending a large amount of money on this kind of experience even if our expeditions are comparatively much cheaper than other organisations. If you are worried about being able to cover your personal contribution, you can look into applying for personal grants or fundraising your contribution individually.
What are the start and end dates of expeditions?
Unfortunately at the time of application expedition leaders do not know specific dates of departure or return as these will depend on flights and other factors. However, expeditions do tend to run at the same times each year so you can find approxiamate dates for each expedition here.
Expeditions range from 5 to 12 weeks depending on the location. If you are not sure you could spend half or the whole of your summer on an expedition, see if you can talk to a previous member or leader at Proposals about your concerns as these are fairly common.
I am interested in leading an expedition, what do I do?
Each application form will have a section where you can register your interest in becoming an expedition leader. Remember that you don’t have to have been on an expedition before to lead one! If you have had previous leadership experiences or simply think you have the necessary skills to lead an expedition, that is enough.
Expedition leaders can also be students from all years of study. Again, if you believe you have the necessary skills, we want you!
Talking to previous leaders can also be helpful if you have any specific questions about leading. During Proposals is the perfect time to approach previous expedition leaders and ask if you would be suitable for a leader position for their expedition. Alternatively, you can contact ExSoc or the specific expedition on Facebook.