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Last month, the annual Study Abroad Fair took place, showcasing opportunites to go on a foreign exchange through the University of Liverpool’s partnerships with Higher Education institutions around the world. Now in the second year of her French with Spanish degree, Olivia Barnes-Brett was at the fair in her role as Student Brand Ambassador for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She tells us more about the role here.

This year, I am working as a Student Brand Ambassador (SBA) for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The aim of the role is to promote the government’s Travel Aware campaign on the University of Liverpool campus and online. The campaign targets 16-25 year olds, with the goal of raising awareness about travel safety by providing vital information and resources for young people, before and during their travels.

I applied for the position because I am interested in foreign cultures, languages and travelling. While many brand ambassador roles are about selling something to students, this one is about guiding people towards important, free resources. I feel as though I am genuinely helping students on campus to make their time away more enjoyable!

Imagine you have planned to travel around Thailand this year; you would want to make the most of your time away and enjoy the culture and spectacular sites, without worrying about problems that may get in your way. Did you know that you are supposed to wear dark clothes in public following the recent death of king Bhumibol Adulyadej? Do you know which festivals will be cancelled as a result of the period of mourning? Do you know why the FCO advise against all but essential travel to certain southern provinces? Are you clear on which vaccinations you need, how to avoid altitude sickness and what insurance is necessary? How long you can stay without a visa? When monsoon season is?


Olivia at the Study Abroad Fair

The answers to these types of questions about any country can be found on the FCO’s foreign travel advice website, making it easier for travellers to find out relevant information. This is the message I aim to get across by manning stalls at university events, giving short presentations, speaking to societies and writing online articles.

The role is particularly relevant to languages students, given that they tend to be keen on travelling and good with words. Next year, I will be going on my year abroad so a new Student Brand Ambassador will be needed. The position has many benefits; not only does working alongside the government look great on your CV, your published articles become a portfolio for your work and you also get to network, interacting with some really interesting people on and off campus that you wouldn’t otherwise have met! If you are interested in applying, you can email me for more information at hsobarne@liv.ac.uk