Image of Florencia sitting outside on the left hand side. The right hand side contains a digital illustration of a character with a cape

Hi everyone! My name is Florencia. I am a Student Engagement Ambassador at the University of Reading. In this blog, I will share a little bit of what this job is and my own experiences with different projects. I truly love being a student ambassador, and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to expand their skills and share their thoughts.

I joined the team last year. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the position. However, right after the first meeting, I was excited. The team was super friendly and open, and I was pleased to see them welcoming input from students.

To briefly explain the role, student ambassadors are tasked with sharing experiences about life at University with other students through social media and feedback to the communications team. Currently, this includes blogging, vlogs, and Instagram posts. The main goal of the position is to be inclusive and share many different points of view and experiences to welcome students to university life. For me, this was a great opportunity. As an international student, I am aware of how confusing and intimidating moving alone to a new country can be, so I welcomed the chance to share my own thoughts and advice with new students. I like the idea of making someone’s life at university better. I was also excited to try different mediums, especially visuals, to improve communication.

Furthermore, this was also an excellent opportunity to gain skills. English is not my first language, so when I arrived at university, I focused all my energy on learning academic writing. However, I later discovered that it was hard to snap out of the scholarly mode and write more casually. All my writing was stiff and very formal. This was very restrictive. I wanted to be able to relax. Moreover, I have noticed more recently that social media and science communication has become fundamental in research. It is crucial to know how to share your experiences and research with a broader audience in an engaging way. This makes perfect sense as science is not complete until you share your results, and these results should also not stay contained in the tiny elitist niche of scholarly debate. For this purpose, the role of Student Ambassador became useful.

The position of Student Ambassador has given me the chance to practice and gain experience writing blogs, managing social media, and editing vlogs. It also allowed me to be more creative and explore areas I couldn’t before. For example, I had the chance of including more drawings in my blogs and Instagram entries, making them more unique. I was even able to submit my own topics for Instagram posts. My favourite task was related to mental health. I proposed writing a small comic to share my feelings and experiences with mental health during the lockdown, and it was accepted.

The role of Student Ambassador has also been helpful to me for a much more practical reason. As an international student, I have many limitations in the types of jobs I can do. This position has been very convenient for me (and I believe students in general). I can choose the projects I feel comfortable making and arrange my hours to suit my PhD schedule and Visa restrictions. This also means that I get to participate in projects that truly interested me, so they have been much more enjoyable. After a year, I am proud of the portfolio of work and skills I have built. I even received my very first LinkedIn recommendation. I also have gained confidence in myself and my work. I noticed this mostly on the vlogs I made. The first few videos I edited were painful to watch. I felt very shy of appearing on camera. However, after some practice and feedback, I am finding more confidence in speaking my thoughts and looking at a camera. This aspect is perhaps one of the nicest, if not unexpected, perks of the job.

My experience so far as a student ambassador has been great, and I am looking forward to continuing next year. I am excited about new projects and expanding my creativity in communication. If you are interested in the position, please check out Campus Jobs for more information. The team is always welcoming new voices!

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