Catherine is a Postgraduate Organisational Psychology student at Birkbeck University. Here, she talks about her experience of being a Buddy on the Unibuddy platform.
As a Unibuddy ambassador, my job is to answer queries from prospective students about any aspect of university: the application process, student life, or specific questions about a particular course. We communicate the real-life experience of what it’s like to study at university, and act as role models for future students. During my time working as a Unibuddy ambassador, I have also worked on Facebook Lives, social media promotion, written blogs and filmed my first vlog.
I chose to be a Unibuddy ambassador for a few reasons. Having taken a long time to pick a university course myself, I wanted to help students through the application process and make sure that they make the right choice. The more students we speak to, the more students are satisfied with their further education. Secondly, I wanted to develop my professional leadership and communication skills. Writing blogs and filming vlogs has helped my confidence in my writing and helped develop my own voice. Speaking to prospective students has helped me to be more empathetic towards others and communicate with a wide range of people from different backgrounds and countries. Being a Unibuddy ambassador now also means that I am part of a broader community of students who I can network with and learn from. There are 10,000+ Unibuddy representatives at 300 universities around the world!
Being a Unibuddy ambassador is a really enjoyable experience for me. I love being able to help students with answers to questions they have about university life that they might not be able to find elsewhere online. It makes me feel good knowing that my own experiences can be useful to others and their journey into Higher Education. Another great plus about being a Unibuddy ambassador is their app, which means that I can answer messages when I’m on the go. This means that I can use time which otherwise may have not been productive, like my commute to university, to answer messages.
My best experiences have been speaking to prospective students who are applying to do my specific course, because I feel like I can give them a really in-depth insight into what they can expect from the teaching and assessments. In one particular case, I have helped a student over a period of months decide whether the course is right for her, and after applying she received an offer for a place! This was a really special moment for me.
There are of course challenges which come with being a Unibuddy ambassador, but they can be quickly overcome and definitely do not outweigh the positives. At first, I found it difficult to balance answering questions with my university and home-life demands. However, I soon managed to get into the swing of it and now I look forward to answering messages when I’m on the go. Another challenge is not knowing the answer to a question, because it can be difficult to know how to answer. My manager is very supportive and can help with any questions I have if I am unsure how to answer. Thankfully this happens very rarely!
If you are considering becoming a Unibuddy ambassador then I would strongly recommend it. Being an ambassador can make monumental differences to the lives of prospective students, and it is extremely rewarding knowing that you have made a difference.