Over the past year, I have been working on campus at the University of Bath as a Student Brand Ambassador for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). This means that I am representing the FCO and promoting their Travel Aware campaign on campus. The Travel Aware campaign is not just for students; it is aimed at anyone who is going abroad, be that for an 8-month gap year adventure, or a weekend away with family! However, as a Student Brand Ambassador it is my job to make sure the Travel Aware message relates to the students of Bath. The biggest issue for most young people is a lack of research, or preparation – especially when travelling in a group, it is easy to leave the responsibility of travelling safely to someone else, whilst you head straight for duty free/the beach/the bar. The FCO has so many useful resources for students going away, and it’s my job to make people aware of them.
I found out about the new role at Bath Online, after realizing that I could use my passion for travel to strengthen my experience and my bank account! Working for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office had always been hugely appealing to me, and the opportunity to promote one of their campaigns seemed too good to miss! After I applied through an online application form, I waited nervously to hear back from Campus Industries. After that, I had a telephone interview which, although nerve-wracking, basically consisted of a long and enthusiastic chat about the importance of travelling as much as you can, whenever you can! Thankfully my enthusiasm paid off, and I was offered the role – which has been amazing! I was given the chance to visit the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London for training at the beginning of the year, and then again before Christmas to network and learn from the other partners of the Travel Aware campaign.
The Travel Aware campaign is promoted by Student Ambassadors across 30 universities, and each ambassador works closely with student activities departments, year abroad departments and media outlets to make sure as many students as possible are learning about how to travel sensibly. The role means that ambassadors get to write and publish articles not only with university media but with larger platforms, such as Student Universe, The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. The best bit is that you get to write about travelling – you can never be short of material when your subject is your most recent holiday! As well as writing articles, Student Brand Ambassadors are active on campus, taking part in fairs and big events, running competitions at the Student Union and holding smaller events such as Q&As and briefings with groups going away on tour, or placements abroad. Students will never tire of telling you about their latest escapades on tour, or their plans for their Year Abroad, so promoting the ‘Ski Safe’ message or the FCO advice on adventures is so easy!
Throughout the year, I have loved working as a Student Brand Ambassador alongside my degree; writing travel-related articles; organising events around the university; and handing out freebies and information to as many students as I can. There are loads of ways to travel whilst at university and I would urge every student to make the most of those opportunities to travel. Universities offers so many trips, and the more societies you join the better! Given all these chances to see the world, it is so important that students understand what they need to do in preparation before travelling, and be aware of their responsibility as a young traveller – and I get to help them do it.