When I first heard about the Student Ambassador Scheme at King’s, it was just my second week in London and I was still very much a stranger struggling to get my bearings in the city. I had quickly brushed away the seemingly incredulous idea of me applying for the scheme until one of my friends urged me to push past my insecurities and give the application a shot.
Looking back now from my vantage point in 2018, I can’t even begin to imagine what my university life would have been like if I hadn’t signed up to be an ambassador in my first year. Through the numerous tasks that I had been appointed to over the years, I’ve grown so much as an individual and forged friendships that I know I’ll cherish beyond my graduation day.
In this blog post, I’ll attempt to do what my friend did for me all those years ago — to hopefully nudge you towards filling in that application form and starting your university journey in the best way possible. To kick things off, I’ll briefly explain what the ambassador scheme is. There are five branches of the programme, each specialising in a different area such as the university’s outreach efforts, guided tours of the campuses and subject/course-specific work.
These branches basically dictate what jobs you’re eligible for, so for instance, a campus tour guide will predominantly deliver tours as opposed to engaging in widening participation efforts. There are a myriad of opportunities to work throughout the year, so it’s a fantastic way to earn some pocket money in between lectures or even during the summer break! With all that cleared up, let’s jump right into why you should be a King’s ambassador:
1. A world of opportunities await you!
From the jobs listed on the portal, you’re free to choose whichever ones you’re available for, so that means every ambassador’s experience is unique. Here are just a few examples of what I’ve been involved in so far:
- Events at King’s
Times Higher Education organised the 2017 World Academic Summit at King’s, and it was an incredible honour being in the same venue as many distinguished leaders in the education sector. Adding to the thrill of it all was finding out the new university rankings as they were announced in real time! Equally humbling was my involvement in the launch of the King’s Business School last year in Bush House, which you might know as the former BBC World headquarters.
Furthermore, I’ve been invited to play the violin at the Desmond Tutu Scholarship Dinner for the last two years! Phyllida Lloyd, the director of the film adaptation of Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady was the keynote speaker at the event last year, but I was glad to have not been informed of her attendance until after my performance!
- Open Day tasks
King’s takes its open days very seriously, as the university is committed to providing the most intuitive and informative experience for its future students. Dozens of ambassadors will be on campus to perform a multitude of tasks, such as representing their faculties to answer course-specific questions, delivering campus and residential tours, and giving general directions.
One of my most memorable roles during an open day was leading a live streaming session on Facebook. As an international student, this was especially satisfying for me as I understood the frustration of not being able to attend an open day due to the sheer cost of travelling abroad. Besides delivering a tour of Guy’s Campus, I also interviewed members of staff from various departments on topics such as admission guidelines, study abroad opportunities and accommodation details.
- Assist various teams at King’s
The marketing team is mainly who you’ll be working with as an ambassador, but other departments will seek out your help for their events as well. The International Advice team organises dedicated welcome sessions for new international students, as well as social spaces during Christmas to provide that extra sense of belonging for students who might be unable to return home during the holiday.
Other teams that I’ve worked with include the English Language Centre (ELC), where I took on a job as their receptionist during the summer among other tasks. I also assisted with the setting up of the medical students’ practical examination last year. Being a healthcare student myself, the experience was invaluable as it gave me a glimpse of how my own exam will be run.
I’ve only just begun with this list (yes, I’m quite long-winded if you can’t tell already), so stay tuned for the next half of my blog post where I divulge 3 more reasons for why you should don that striking red ambassador t-shirt.