Meet Student Ambassador Lara Birdsall

Student Ambassador Lara Birdsall at SOAS, University of London.

What does a Student Ambassador do?

A Student Ambassador takes on many different roles. The job we do most often is help out on Open Days. We give tours, help guide visitors around the campus, speak on student panels about our experiences at SOAS and help register people on the day. We also help to set up the venue and provide support to many different departments from across the university. I have worked at lectures given outside of class time, at Alumni events and at the opening of the new Paul Webley Wing.

Is it a big commitment?

Being a Student Ambassador only has to take up as much time as you’re able to give. The roles are emailed around about once a week, and if you are available, you can volunteer yourself for that role. The events that take up the most time are the Open Days: sometimes we start at 7am, and work about 10 hours on those days.

How have you benefited from becoming a Student Ambassador?

Being a Student Ambassador is good for me as it has given me the opportunity to work in many different roles, and given me the opportunity to experience working as a team leader. Through being a Student Ambassador I gained insight into working in events. I am also able to fit the job around my studies, which was a very important aspect for me to consider whilst applying for jobs.

How does it help with your leadership skills?

As I’ve been chosen to run as a team leader on a few Open Days, I have been given many responsibilities. I have had to schedule tour times, and make sure that any problems that occur throughout the day have been dealt with efficiently.

Why did you choose SOAS?

I chose SOAS for the diversity of the Study of Religions programme, that included religions not offered at other universities. The campus also had a community like feeling, and was alive and buzzing with activity.

What makes you tick?

Discussing and researching feminism is a major part of what makes me the person I am. Standing up for what I believe in is important, and I’ve done this by attending different marches, such as the Women’s March in London.

On a more personal level, I love to experiment with make up, and find different ways to express myself through the ‘presentation of myself’. You’ll also find me re-reading and watching Harry Potter numerous times.

Who are your idols?

My main idol has to be Beyoncé. She’s a strong woman who is able to express her feminist beliefs and her culture through music. She does this whilst facing adversity and still manages to stay current and popular. She uses her music to stand up to current issues and remains true to herself and her heritage. Her songs encourage me to carry on working hard.

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