As student ambassadors (SAs), we are a motivated, enthusiastic group of students, from many different cultures. In this article, we will introduce ourselves: we will tell you who we are, what our goals and vision are and how we intend to achieve these.
The group of student ambassadors started in August 2007 with initially only 8 members. The Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) initiated the program on a trial-basis, to see whether international students could help the faculty to attract new students from abroad and help these students to feel more at home in Groningen and the Netherlands. For the SAs, this included tasks which ranged from helping people with their study progress, to picking up new students from the station. Since the faculty and SAs considered the initiative to be a great success, they decided to continue and expand the SA program in February of this year.
An information meeting was organised, where prospective SAs received information on the student ambassador organisation. Many people attended the meeting and almost everyone signed up immediately afterwards. Right now, we have a great group of 45 student ambassadors from various cultural backgrounds. We have not only extended the number of members, but also the goals of the organisation. The following section will elaborate on what we consider as our main goals and after this, we will form a vision statement, and mention the values we have to achieve this.
One of the initial goals has been to help increase the number of international students to study at our faculty and university. We believe that Groningen is a great place to study and live and we would like to give everyone the opportunity to experience this!
However, besides this, even more important to us is the goal to make international students feel at home in Groningen. We are here to provide assistance and support in every way to achieve this. We are willing to answer all kinds of questions, ranging from ‘What type of courses can I take?’ to ‘Is Groningen a good place to party’ (and yes, it is!). Finally, we want to make your stay in Groningen more fun by organising events and parties!
The third goal we wish to discuss, is the internationalisation of our faculty and university. Nowadays, globalisation is an important issue and the university should keep up with this trend. The FEB has the goal to more than double the number of international students at our faculty within 10 years, and to eventually teach all study programs in English. We provide the Faculty Board with information on how to achieve this and we take a critical standpoint as to the progress towards this ambitious goal. (Please find the article about the meeting with our Dean Henk Sol for more information on internationalisation and contacts with the faculty.)
The final point we want to stress, is the improvement of educational quality. This is a goal of the FEB as well, but we want to make sure that this goal is actually achieved. Although the University of Groningen is a good university, education is a process of continuous improvement and in our contacts with the faculty we stress the topics of education that we find of importance and which we think need improvement.
From the goals mentioned above, we can derive the vision of the student ambassador organisation, which represents where we want to be in the future. First, we want to increase the number of students studying at our faculty each year, furthermore we want every international student to feel at home in Groningen, we intend to transform the FEB into a faculty that is known for its internationality, and we want all the courses provided by the faculty to be of high-quality. To achieve this, we have formed the following values: ‘dedication’, ‘interaction’, and ‘diversity’, which are also included in our logo.
We hope that this article provides clarification on who we, as student ambassadors, are and what we do. Of course, we are also involved in some other matters less related to the goals above, but the four goals mentioned here represent the foundation of our ideas as a group. We will work to reach these goals and we are always open to suggestions. If you have any suggestions as to other topics you want us to discuss, or when you have other ideas or questions, please visit the forum on this website.