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My experience of being an international student ambassador  

22 November 2023

4 mins

Safia smiling

Hi, I am Safia, a student from India who is undertaking a PhD in Civil Engineering at Loughborough, and I am here to share my experience of being an international student ambassador for Loughborough University.  

I will never forget my first day as an international student who had just arrived in the UK for their master’s. It was the perfect autumn day; the leaves were colour-coordinated, and rain had started the day off. I had packed my documents and layers of warmth, ready to take each one out as needed. The University website had prepared me for my arrival, but something that etched in my mind that day were the smiling faces and purple t-shirts that read ‘Team Loughborough’.  

A couple of years after that day, I arrived at Loughborough again for my PhD. I knew the student ambassador role was something I wanted to do during my time at Loughborough. I knew briefly about the paid role, but what attracted me to the role was the opportunity to express to the rest of the world what studying and living in Loughborough looked like. Loughborough offers you a range of activities to get involved in, be it volunteering, sports, cultural activities and much more. However, the role of student ambassador stands out for me as it helps me share all those experiences with others who are considering Loughborough as their home for the next year and beyond.  

Starting out as an international student helper, my initial work was focussed on interacting with potential students from all over the world. As part of this, I participated in telephone conversations, online webchats and webinars where prospective students had the opportunity to ask questions and find out about the University. While the University website is a good source of information for anyone who cannot visit the campus before applying, these virtual engagements provide a space for sharing authentic experiences at Loughborough as an international student. The personal satisfaction of seeing a student on campus next year who remembers you from these engagements is just something else! 

Safia at the Hazlerigg/Rutland Fountain

The University also engages with prospective students in their home countries and, where possible, the team helps you participate in these events. In addition to that, as a student ambassador on campus, you also have the opportunity to represent the University at a range of events that happen across the year. From open days and campus tours to visiting schools and helping the University run graduation events and residential programmes, there are a lot of opportunities to get involved in through this role. I thoroughly enjoy speaking about my learning experience in higher education and Loughborough with young people and sometimes their parents. I especially enjoy answering their questions related to University subjects when they are confused between different disciplines.  

This role has brushed up and improved my communication skills as a result. Regardless of whether it was a one-on-one telephone conversation or a campus tour where you are guiding a large group of visitors, the role helps you to proactively contribute to a welcoming, friendly and inclusive atmosphere for others. I found this particularly rewarding as this was the atmosphere that welcomed me to Loughborough in the first place. It also prepares you with marketing and problem-solving skills. In many ways, this is a customer-facing role, just that you are speaking from your own experience and knowledge as a Loughborough student.  

While all of this can sound like a lot, one might wonder how much time this takes up. You can do as many hours as you would like to and there is flexibility in deciding how much you want to do. I tend to balance it with my teaching and research activities as a PhD student. As you are working with University staff and the rest of the team of student ambassadors, everyone understands that there can be times when you are pressed for time, for example, academic deadlines. In that sense, this role has actually taught me to manage my time and also communicate effectively in a team environment.  

When I graduate in a few months’ time, I know that I will be leaving with more than just a degree. My academic knowledge and expertise are crucial to getting that dream job. But the skills I developed as a student ambassador for my university will also prepare me for my professional future. To conclude, I think that being a student ambassador for the University has been one of my favourite experiences at Loughborough. I will forever cherish the journey from seeing the smiling faces and purple t-shirts that read ‘Team Loughborough’ to being one myself! 

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