My Experience of GOLD

Abbie Parker, one of our Kent Global Officers, reflects on the GOLD5000 module

GOLD student Abbie Parker

GOLD (Global Officers Leadership Development), whether taken as a co-curricular activity or module, is malleable enough that students from every Division will find something that benefits their student experience and skill set.

During my time on the GOLD5000 module (2021-22), the experiences I chose to take part in helped me map the skills I wanted to cultivate. At the start of the year, we identified the areas we felt we excelled in and areas we could improve upon. The programme and its convenors aim to help you to be able to market your strengths in a way that will promote job opportunities while also helping you develop other skills in your current academic environment. This is done through guest speakers, workshops, Global Hangouts and student-run events.

Being in my second year at the time and having lived on campus, I volunteered to tour international students around the grounds. This helped me develop my organisation, preoperational and communication skills as it is highly advocated in the GOLD programme that students take on the entire process after being given the tools and networks for such. Being thrown in the deep end with peers while also being able to go back to convenors for support was a great place for me to enjoy personal growth and become aware that I can do more than I had initially thought.

One of my favourite experiences from GOLD is the Talking Cultures quiz, held at the student sports bar, Woody’s, that other members from GOLD and I had set up to close off Worldfest. The turnout was amazing, and we got to give out prizes to the winners. At the time, I was also able to develop skills in social media co-ordination as GOLD aims to have a student-run online presence that attracts other students to get involved in the vast range of activities that are set up every year.

As I was on the credit-bearing version of GOLD I did have deadlines that I had to meet for certain projects, like I had to engage in a certain number of activities and complete a reflective journal. Though I did have to meet certain criteria there was never a push for making you do something you couldn’t or didn’t want to do. If any of the pre-scheduled events in the university calendar didn’t appeal to you it was more than ok that you create your own event or contribute to events through online interactions or blog posts.

By the end of my year in GOLD I felt I had sourced more opportunities than I had initially thought I could. The employability points scheme that ties into the things you do during the programme is the cherry on top of the GOLD sundae as while you’re having fun harnessing skills and building networks, you are also earning real-world opportunities. I earned enough points, doing things that I found enjoyable, to spend on opportunities like job shadowing, internships, placements and training in a field of interest.

My advice to someone planning to take this module:

  • Don’t be afraid to take on a big task but also don’t be afraid to ask to delegate
  • make connections with the cultural societies (connections in general help build events)
  • focus on the skills you are building or want to build for the future