For the past few years of university, I have looked on in awe as many of my international student friends took part in the Mayor’s Gold Coast International Student Ambassador Program. Late last year it was announced that the program was being extended to include domestic students and I was ecstatic.
The Gold Coast has absolutely opened its doors to me since I moved here in 2014 to study at Griffith and I thought there is no better way to spend my final year at university than showcasing its splendour to the world. Needless to say, I filled out an application straight away. Then bringing in the new year I found that I had been lucky enough to be selected as Mayor’s Gold Coast Student Ambassador for 2017. Well, so far, I can say it has been incredible.
The excitement kicked off in February with our induction day in Burleigh Heads. We had no idea what to expect on the day. I walked into Warehouse No. 5 to a room of the smiling faces of my fellow ambassadors. Everyone was incredibly friendly and came from such diverse disciplines, countries and backgrounds. After a couple of hours training and a delightful lunch, it was time to start the main event, which true to Gold Coast spirit was surfboard painting.
I mean, can you think of anything better than getting your creative juices flowing with loads of spray paint and stencils?
We set about in teams working on our surfboards for a few hours before it was time to present them to the group. I was lucky enough to be in team 5 who were an incredible bunch of people. We created a typical Gold Coast beach scene but added in the gorgeous hinterland to represent that the Coast is about more than just the ocean.
Once we reached the end of the day we all presented our surfboards to the group. Everybody went for a unique design that highlighted a different aspect of the Gold Coast. After some final farewells, we were finished and had completed our first official day of the program.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and it was time for our official induction ceremony. Walking into the Council Chambers was surreal. It was one of those moments where it hits you that this is something that is really happening. We sat and listened to Mayor Tom Tate speak about the program before it was time for each of us to receive our certificates. One by one we made our way up to the front of the room, pausing to take a photo with the Mayor and then returning to our seats.
Upon completion of the ceremony, Study Gold Coast presented the Mayor with one of the surfboards that we had made the week before. My group was delighted to see that ours was the board chosen to be presented.
One of the things that struck me the most during the ceremony was how friendly the Gold Coast Councillors were and how interested they were with speaking to us. It was great to listen to their plans for their electorates and the models they have in place for the public to speak with them about any concerns or ideas for the Coast.
All of that and it was only the second official day on the job as a Mayor’s Gold Coast Student Ambassador. In just a few short weeks we will be hitting the beach for our third event of the year. We have an entire year’s worth of incredible activities planned and we can’t wait to share them with you and the world.
We are all so lucky to be studying up here on the beautiful sunny Gold Coast. If you want to share your experience of studying in Australia with the world, be sure to hashtag #StudyGoldCoast on social media. Hey, you never know, next year this incredible position could be filled by you!
Until next time.