This year, the Go Abroad team at the University of Edinburgh’s International Office has launched a new programme called Students Abroad Representatives (STAR).
At the core of this programme are 45 students of the University of Edinburgh who are currently studying abroad for one or two semesters and who are going to function as ambassadors for the University.
This semester, there are 45 STAR ambassadors (STARs) operating in 17 countries. Applicants for the position are chosen according to their enthusiasm about the new role, their knowledge about and involvement in university life and the creativity they demonstrate with regards to the content of their ambassadorial role.
The aim of the programme is to create a platform for exchange students of the University of Edinburgh to represent their home university. Due to the personal presence of the STARs and the ties between the Go Abroad team and equivalent institutions, the student bodies at the partner institutions of the University of Edinburgh expect to be strengthened.
The purpose of having the personal presence of student ambassadors is to encourage students at partner institutions to consider the University of Edinburgh, and its summer school, as a destination for their own study or research abroad experiences.
The University hopes that STARs will provide honest and informal advice from a student perspective to prospective exchange students of the University of Edinburgh.
Students at the University of Edinburgh are encouraged to spend one or two semesters at one of its numerous partner institutions, either in Europe through the Erasmus programme, or overseas through the International Exchanges programme.
Each year, approximately 800 students use this opportunity, although Cait Cook from the International Office told The Student that they hope for an even greater interest in student exchanges.
Furthermore, Cook points out that the activity of the STARs goes beyond their exchange: “We’re hoping to expand the programme to include ‘STARs at Home’, where students who have returned from exchange can share their experience on campus, with both prospective students and students considering going on exchange themselves, on a one-to-one basis.”
The personal presence of the student ambassadors is a defining feature of the programme. Therefore, STARs are expected to organise and/or participate in different events, such as Go Abroad fairs or open days.
In order to share their knowledge and experiences and to encourage the various study exchange opportunities, the STARs are instructed to share their impressions in blog posts and via social media.
Image: Adrien Sifre