For this term, I started the working as one of the international office ambassadors for the university, along with many other students from all sorts of disciplines and nationalities. Despite the somewhat serious and formal title of the role, the tasks within this post are both gratifying and rewarding.
But before I go into details of what it is like to be working as an ambassador, first, some introductions about the role; As the name suggests, ambassadors are students who work closely with the University’s International Office, aiming to help those thinking of coming to study in the University of Sheffield. To achieve this, ambassadors can offer support and guidance to applicants and new comers, aiming to answer any questions that they might have, and also help them to settle well in the city and the university. Usually, ambassadors are assigned to students from their own country or region, that way, they can communicate with new applications in their mother tongue language, if required, and also, might be able to answer certain questions regarding cultural aspects of living in Sheffield.
The reason I thought of applying for the role was because I still remember my personal experience prior to arriving and studying in Sheffield; moving places all of the sudden, starting a new degree in a new country with different cultural habits can be challenging, maybe even intimidating at first: where do I you even begin? How would I proceed with my application? When should I start with the visa process? How much money would I need? Those and more are all questions that are bound to be on the mind of anyone thinking of studying in a new place, and it is perfectly normal to have those fears, I had all of these questions on my mind, planning ahead, although, it has its perks, it can also be make you lose your sleep ! This is why I now want to be able to help those who are planning to come to Sheffield into conquering those concerns, and help them to settle in and blend with our international and academic community with ease.
As part of the role, ambassadors also get to write in blogs and share with everyone their experiences and activities when here in Sheffield, while also giving the readers a taste of their own cultural heritage. Another duty that ambassadors have, which is my favorite right now, is that they get to lead campus tours for new students. This is an extremely rewarding experience, because you get to interact with people directly rather than through emails or the phone, and get to see their reaction and exhilaration as they’re about to start a new chapter in their academic life. Also, the set of skills that one gets from managing the tours is invaluable, you will be responsible for managing your time, leading a large group, and get to practice your networking and presentation skills.
I have yet to finish my first month working as an international ambassador, but so far, I am enjoying every bit of it, there is always something to learn, and people to meet and work it. New round of applications is opened at the start of each academic year, and I would highly recommend students to consider joining in it, you will have a lot of international friends, acquire invaluable skills and experiences, and grow your network of contacts by the time you graduate from the University.