Edinburgh student becomes #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador
Following a highly competitive application process, an undergraduate student from the University of Edinburgh has been selected to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) Student Ambassador Programme.
Annie (Un leng) Chan, a third-year student in Economics and Statistics was successfully appointed as one of ten International Student Ambassadors and joins the UKCISA student network of global future leaders.
The #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador Programme is an education policy and leadership development scheme for exceptional individuals from around the world who are currently studying in the UK. Students are empowered to use their knowledge and first-hand experience of studying in the UK to influence policy and help deliver a vision for a world-class international student experience.
This year, 235 international students from 67 institutions across the UK applied to join the programme. After being reviewed by a group of 19 judges, 30 students were interviewed by the panel of experts – with the final 10 selected from this group.
Coming from Macau, a small city in China, Annie has realised that more support could be provided for students who come from less well-known places and may need help getting involved in different circles. She is passionate about enhancing the learning and living experience of international students in the UK. Alongside her role as Student Ambassador, Annie has been an international Student Representative at the University.
Many international students are facing challenges regarding employability and immigration, and I hope it can be brought to the attention of the policymakers. I also hope to improve the welfare for international students, especially in areas of reducing cultural barriers and strengthening mental health support.
Annie’s appointment is a continuation Edinburgh’s success from last year when two Edinburgh students Ilona Myllyniemi and Reese Chamberlain impressed the selection panel and joined the Ambassador Programme 2021-2022.
Ilona, from Finland, who is currently completing her final year of MA Sociology and Politics, reflected on her ambassador journey:
“My experience as an UKCISA ambassador so far has been absolutely amazing. I’ve been able to learn so much from fellow ambassadors and other international students, and it has been incredibly empowering to get my voice heard in policy-making and projects that directly impact international student well-being in the UK.”
Reese, from the USA, in his second year studying International Relations shared his experience:
“Serving as a #WeAreInternational Student Ambassador has been an incredibly enriching experience throughout my first year within the programme! The coalition of ambassadors at UKCISA is a tremendously diverse group of students with a multitude of unique perspectives on the world, and I relish every opportunity to collaborate with and learn from my fellow ambassadors. Throughout my first year within the programme I have taken a personal interest in advancing the UKCISA mission through speaking engagements within the higher education sector. Engaging with the likes of university vice-chancellors, government officials, and other key stakeholders has allowed me to inject a student voice into policymaking to ensure that the diverse needs of international students are always the top consideration.”
Reese adds: “Everyone at UKCISA is thrilled to welcome the newly-appointed third cohort of international student ambassadors, and we are all very excited to see what Annie and the entire cohort will achieve throughout their tenure within the programme.”
It is amazing that UKCISA provides lots of support for student ambassadors to discuss issues and policies which affect international students’ lives in the UK. I am so excited to work with Ilona and Reese, and ambassadors from other universities to create positive changes for our represented community over the next two years.