A post by Lisa Färber, former Student Ambassador on our MSc. in Public Policy and Human Development (MPP)
Just a couple of years ago, I was looking for a truly future-oriented Master’s programme. It’s a competitive market, with glossy brochures and slick videos all over social media. But what I’ve always found most helpful is the ‘word of mouth’: i.e. hearing first-hand from alumni or current students what a course is like in practice. So when I saw the advert for the new MPP Ambassador role, I immediately applied because the added value was so clear to me. It was answering my own question from a few months prior — and in the end I loved the role so much that it was pretty hard to hand over.
All throughout the year, I put myself in the position of an interested student and tried to give a realistic and personal picture of my everyday life and the content of my studies. That’s how I found my voice, ‘simply’ doing what comes naturally. My posts often came about spontaneously, so I shared something when I had an idea and thought it would interest others too. And thankfully the feedback was good!
The lockdown has made us all experts in working online with breakfast in bed, but it also put paid to any social events or get-togethers. So, I was very quickly faced with the question of WHAT to post. In the end, though, it worked out well: even though the corona situation filled the posts with lots of online-study-content, I was also able to report on social activities that were possible before and slowly possible again after the lockdown. And we had so many great ones such as the potluck dinner, King’s Day, our MPP Closing Ceremony, etc.
However, my favourite and most exciting online moments as an ambassador were my take-over of the UNU-MERIT account when I was officially allowed to introduce myself on the day of our specialisation presentation and also at the Master’s Open Days. I always love to hear about other people’s experiences and now being in the position to share my experiences in front of a larger crowd and answer questions was super cool. But my absolute highlight was when I was asked to give a short speech as Student Ambassador at our Closing Ceremony. A real honour.
As an ambassador, I think the most important thing is to stay grounded and ‘just’ be yourself. Even though that’s a broader, lifetime challenge, I am already convinced that this is what gets you the furthest and that you then automatically radiate what you think – which brings me neatly to the most rewarding moments during the year: my interactions with future students.
One of the most fun events was the ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Instagram, where I received various questions about the programme from numerous angles. Most of the questions came during spring and summer, as prospective students started to think about the application window and if they were eligible to study. So, I exchanged voice notes (which I find more personal than sending texts) with people from Alaska, India, Nigeria, etc. or simply had quick video calls. It’s amazing to be in contact with people from all over the world and at the same time knowing that we’re passionate about the same thing: making our world a better place in different ways.
In sum, I want to thank you for your trust and the opportunity to be this year’s ‘student voice’. It was an honour to be the first MPP Student Ambassador and I hope I provided some helpful insights for everyone interested in this rewarding and unique double-degree programme. I really loved this role and would wholeheartedly recommend it because it is so much fun. Before handing over the account to our new ambassador, Leopoldo, I was scrolling through my feed and am still surprised by how many different posts I published despite the tough lockdown. I now can’t wait to read and hear content from the new ambassador – and all those who follow once COVID is (hopefully!) a distant memory.
The opinions expressed here are the author’s own; they do not necessarily reflect the views of UNU.
UNU / H. Pijpers