Life of a Global Officer

by Natashja Wilson

I first applied to the GOLD Programme as it was promoted as a programme that enabled you to have “contact with different countries, cultures and experiences.” This is definitely something they did not fail to deliver as I met individuals from a whole host of different cultures, countries, faculties and backgrounds. As a social anthropology student, this programme enabled me to gain a practical side to my university degree, where I had the opportunity to interact with individuals both outside and within my course. This was really important for me, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as it is was made so much harder to meet new people and so this programme gave me the opportunity to do so.

The GOLD programme was kicked off with an autumn check-in session which enabled everyone to get to know one another. From the first session onwards, the other GOLD Officers and the staff themselves were so welcoming and friendly, making the whole programme a lot more enjoyable. The staff were willing to help wherever and whenever possible and were always striving to ensure you got the most out of the programme. The other GOLD Officers were also so open minded, and it was refreshing to meet individuals who had different perspectives and opinions that differed from my own. I remember sitting in awe in the first session as someone stated they spoke five languages which really motivated me to develop my own skills.

The sessions that followed throughout the year were equally enjoyable; some of the highlights included the Event Management session, Talking Cultures and planning the social media platforms for the KentGoAbroad. Activities included various internationalisation projects throughout the academic year but what I particularly liked about this programme it that it allowed you to choose sessions based on your interests and skills. Personally, I am interested in digital marketing and event planning, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to design and post for the KentGoAbroad Instagram account as well as attend a workshop on Event Management. Although we were given a social media planner regarding the content to include, we were allowed to have complete creative control over the design, text and what we thought was best to include. This, for me, was really enjoyable as I could put my creative cap on and collaborate with others to come up with some innovative designs. Some of the posts we created included Top 5 Study Abroad Tips and Things I Wish I Packed. In the Event Management session, we learnt about branding, appropriate imagery and the promotion of an event as well as having the opportunity to plan our own event with other GOLD Officers and then pitch our ideas to others.

Another component of the programme that I found truly eye-opening was the Curriculum Internationalisation Project which was led by Anthony Manning. This session enabled us to truly reflect on various course curriculums at the University of Kent and the internationalization of higher education. In this session, we were put into breakout rooms, allowing us to talk to individuals from various faculties and courses. Funnily enough, one individual in my group studied Social Anthropology, so we had lots to talk about. We discussed how the curriculum could be further internationalized; some ideas that were thrown around included having more compulsory reading that are written by academics from different countries and cultures as well as lecturers from various countries. I really enjoyed this as I hadn’t really reflected much on the content of my degree therefore this session provided an opportunity for me to take a step back and evaluate my course.

I hope this blog has given you a glimpse into what it is like to be a Global Officer at Kent University. It is hard for me to sum such a unique and eye-opening experience up into one blog as I have learnt and developed so many skills that we be useful far beyond my degree. I have also met so many amazing and talented individuals as well as being able to develop my interests alongside my degree. If you are reading this debating whether to be a Global Officer, I hope I have been able to convince you.