Working to help applicants successfully submit an application
Each year, thousands of people apply for a Chevening Award. Chevening officer Kimi Yoshimura shares how alumni and embassy staff work together to make sure that everyone in Mexico has the information they need to make an application.
Helping others to apply for Chevening has always been at the heart of the Chevening Alumni community in Mexico. However, because of Mexico’s size, getting information out across the country can be a logistical challenge—we simply can’t be everywhere at once! Over the past couple of years, we’ve been using Facebook Live to get around this, providing guidance and support for Chevening applicants wherever they are based.
When we visit universities to talk about Chevening, we often run a Question and Answer (Q&A) session where applicants attending the workshop can ask any question about Chevening and receive an answer from a member of FCO staff. Applicants have always enjoyed this part of the event, so we decided to explore the option of running a Q&A online. Although these began as an embassy initiative, it wasn’t long before we brought the alumni on board, as attendees were always most interested in hearing about the process from an alumni point of view.
During these Facebook Live sessions, applicants can hear about real-life experiences from Chevening Alumni, who share their experiences of the application process and their motivations for applying for the scholarship. They can also see first-hand some of the benefits and responsibilities that arise from being part of the Chevening Alumni network.
The Mexican alumni community is a key element in everything we do at the embassy. I have been able to witness the value of their contributions during my presentations, as there is nothing more credible than speaking to someone who has lived the experience and can tell you how influential it has been in both their personal and professional life. This is the sort of person you would want to approach for advice!
Life in the UK
We have covered a myriad of topics in our Facebook Live sessions. We began by going through the Chevening application process (including choosing a course) and the benefits of joining this network of leaders and influencers. We then looked at various elements of life in the UK, including customs and traditions, culture, and the differences between the Mexican and British education systems. We wanted applicants to understand what the student experience was like for Mexicans in the UK, so that they were ready to make the most of their Chevening year!
Around 1,000 people take part in each Facebook Live that we run. We know from application forms and interviews that this is how many people first hear about Chevening, so they have definitely helped us to increase our reach. However, it is important to mention that providing guidance is not the same as doing the work for the candidates. Yes, they do receive advice and some tips, but in the end, their application should reflect who they are, what motivates them, and what their passion is. No amount of guidance we provide can replace the applicant’s own talent and leadership potential.
More to come
Our Facebook Lives have been hugely popular, but we’re not stopping there. Chevening Alumni Mexico (CAM) have also been publishing infographics on their social media accounts to guide prospective applicants on their journey. We want to make our information as accessible and diverse as possible so that all those interested in being part of this community have a chance to apply.