There are lots of lessons to be learned outside the lecture theatre, says Maria Luiza Amadeu Henriques dos Santos, LLM International Business Law, from Brazil
The International Student Ambassador programme was definitely one of the highlights of my time at Queen’s. Not only has it been a lot of fun, it has also been incredibly helpful in boosting my confidence. The role involved being a first point of contact and friendly face to future Brazilian students coming here which helped me tremendously with public speaking.
During International Welcome Week at Queen’s, we have a million opportunities to meet and get to know people who are going through the same issues that come with being far from home. There are many different activities and you are encouraged to participate and speak to as many people as you can. Free pizza, competitions, pub crawls, traditional dancing and the buddy scheme help us feel welcome and discover this new place together. Later, as part of the International Student Ambassador programme, we had loads of parties and day trips and competitions that helped all of us on the programme get to know one another and connect as a group.
As Ambassadors, we are always invited to events at Queen’s, such as those promoted by Alumni, which are great networking opportunities. I’m extremely proud of being part of the very first batch of International Student Ambassadors and would encourage every international student to apply for the position – I can guarantee it will be a memorable experience and their time at Queen’s will be twice as enjoyable.
At Queen’s, we had training on leadership, social media, customer service, and organised campus tours for new students, all valuable additions to my CV besides the Ambassador Programme itself.
Coming from Brazil, the transition to life in Belfast seemed pretty hard to me: living on my own for the first time, incapable of quick trips home, missing my pets, facing a world of different food, weather, language and culture… But Queen’s made it all a little bit easier. For starters, you can be picked up at the airport by staff and some current students. This way, you don’t have to worry about getting a taxi and you are guaranteed a warm welcome and great company on the journey to your accommodation. In the end, the transition was very easy for me and I felt at home in no time.
Maria Luiza Amadeu Henriques dos Santos
LLM International Business Law | Postgraduate | Brazil, South America
I’m from Brazil, but I’ve been living in Northern Ireland for a year now. I love life in Belfast particularly the cosmopolitan buzz in and around campus. As an International Ambassador to my country, I get the opportunity to pass on my Belfast knowledge to new students arriving. I know what it’s like to be so far from home, so it’s lovely to be able to offer a friendly smile and to show new students around this great city.
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