Why You Should be An Ambassador (Pt. 2)

Welcome back! This is a continuation of my previous blog post on the same topic (this tends to happen a lot… maybe I should try being a bit more succinct in my writing). Anyway, if you’re still on the fence about applying for the scheme, perhaps the next points will change your mind:

2. Develop your skills

Because you’re given immense freedom to select your tasks from the portal, you can either play to your strengths and apply for jobs that are right down your league, or you could step out of your comfort zone and try something completely different. Whichever the case, your competence in that area will certainly grow as a result. To illustrate my point, here are the main skills that I personally feel I’ve seen improvements in:

  • Writing skills
    I’ve always had a passion for writing, so I seized at the chance to contribute to the university’s international blog (such as the one you’re reading right now!). Choosing to pursue a healthcare degree meant having to peruse and produce numerous scientific reports on a regular basis, so I’m sure you can imagine how this is a much-appreciated break from the monotony of methodical writing. Well, that got depressing really quickly, so let’s move swiftly onto the next point:
  • Communication skills
    This is pretty much a no-brainer! Speaking to new people forms the basis of what an ambassador does, so you can expect to improve your communication skills by leaps and bounds as you progress through the years. Speaking in front of the camera terrifies me to no end, but I still took on the challenge of hosting a Facebook live-streaming session during an open day last summer, and I’m now one step closer towards conquering my fear!
    Furthermore, delivering weekly campus tours to groups of different demographics and nationalities has developed into somewhat of a routine for me, and I’ve found myself getting much more comfortable at public speaking. Also, I’ve been a phone operator for the Clearing call centre for two years now — the role really challenges you to adapt your approach depending on the student’s emotional state and to give crystal clear responses to avoid any confusion.
  • Problem solving ability
    You’ll be surprised, but incidents do occur even in something as innocuous as an orientation event! Last summer, since I was leading a game involving visuals and auditory effects in a closed hall, many of the participants didn’t so much as flinch even when the building’s fire alarm started buzzing at full volume. I had to lead the students out calmly, and this was made all the more challenging considering it was their first day of university! This is obviously a bit far down the spectrum, but things do happen and you’ll need to think on your feet to keep problems from getting out of hand.

3. Integrate into kings

This point resonates with me particularly as an international student because being an ambassador played a huge role in me acclimatising to the university community. I was surrounded by an amazing group of people, namely my marketing managers and fellow ambassadors who were incredibly accommodating to me. Also, I began to know the university inside out through giving campus tours and working with various departments across the institution.

4. Give back to the university

As nice as it is to develop yourself through the scheme, it’s also immensely gratifying to give back to the community by helping:

  • New students
    Ambassadors are employed during Welcome Week to help students move into residences, manage queues for ID collections and deliver culture shock quizzes to name a few. You may also get the opportunity to call 1st year students to check in on how they’re getting on and provide them with any sage advice you might have garnered as a senior.
  • Promote King’s to the world!
    The university is regularly visited by students from all corners of the world, and you might get the opportunity to not only share some of your experiences with them, but also deliver “Welcome to King’s” presentations as well. Some jobs might even involve you travelling to schools or attend education fairs to represent King’s.

As I had alluded to in the previous blog, signing up for the ambassador scheme was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made at King’s. Since I’m getting precariously close to my graduation, I would like to end this article by thanking everyone who had helped make my journey as an ambassador such a pleasant one, particularly that one friend of mine who had given me just enough confidence to click ‘send’ on my application document all those years ago.

Why You Should be An Ambassador! (Part. 1)

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.

Meet new friends through the ambassador scheme!

Meet new friends through the ambassador scheme!

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!

Me playing the violin at the Desmond Tutu Scholarship event.

Me playing the violin at the Desmond Tutu Scholarship event.

  • 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.

Immerse yourself in the rich history of King’s through delivering campus tours!

Immerse yourself in the rich history of King’s through delivering campus tours!

  •  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.

Students having some craftwork fun at the Global Lounge during Christmas.

Students having some craftwork fun at the Global Lounge during Christmas.

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.

Quick Q&A with a recent graduate – part 1

Author: Julie

Hi there. Considering that you are reading this blog, I am going to go out on a limb and assume that you are considering applying to or joining King’s College London – good choice. As such, in this first blog post, I will attempt to answer some very popular questions that I have been asked as a King’s student. Happy reading!

About me

Who are you? My name is Thuy Duong Chu, but my friends all know me as Julie. I grew up in Hanoi, Vietnam; did my high school education in Berlin, Germany; and just graduated from King’s. I studied BSc (Hons) Business Management which is in the same department as BSc (Hons) Economics and Management, BSc (Hons) Economics, and BSc (Hons) International Management.

Why did you choose King’s?  The biggest reason is that I wanted as much flexibility in my career choice as possible. At 18 I knew I wanted to study a business-related subject – I just didn’t know which area of business I would fancy the most. In BSc (Hons) Business Management, I studied the basics of economics, marketing, HR, and finance and accounting in my first year and the first half of my second year. From the second year onwards, after having had more knowledge about different fields in business, I felt more comfortable picking my area of focus. Essentially, I wanted to make a more informed decision about my specialisation while keeping my options open.

As a business student, being in London is very important for me. A home of many international corporations, London offers many opportunities for career building and networking.

waterloo aerial - celum

  • What do you do outside of university?  

I was a member of the Vietnamese Society and KCLBC which was King’s Business Club. I founded a volunteering society that worked with local year 6 students to raise their awareness of local issues and improve their literary skills.

As a King’s student ambassador, I led Strand campus tours on a regular basis; attended higher education fair in London and the surrounding areas; and delivered talks about King’s and studying in London.

In my free time, I like to go to stationery shops because I love stationery! As you obviously could see, I like to write as well.

Bonus questions

Where is your favourite spot in London? I like to sit on the stairs in front of National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, although I don’t do it often enough because the area is always extremely busy.

Trafalgar Square - celum

Is London expensive like people say? Yes and no. Rent is more expensive, living cost is similar to other cities in the UK. If you are aware of your expenses and do not eat at a fancy restaurant every week, you are in good shape.