Ambassador for Christ
As a student ambassador tour guide, student Thomas Castro reflects on his representation of Biola and Christ. | Photo courtesy of Thomas Castro
With hundreds of applications submitted to admissions and the selection of roughly 30 individuals to serve as student ambassadors for Biola University, the job is awarded to those who view this job as more than just the clipping on of a name badge. Thomas Castro, junior political science major, continues to serve as a second year ambassador.
a life-giving experience
As student ambassadors they give tours or blog, working 12 to 20 hours a week, including three tours for tour guides, two call nights and attending events like Biola Bound or University Day that take place on some weekends.
“Us as ambassadors, we help students get to where they need to go. We will host them in our rooms… we’ll lead tours, answer questions. That’s pretty much what the job entails, however I find that there’s parts of the job that can be really life giving that necessarily are outside of the job description,” Castro said.
Castro mentioned a life-giving experience he had leading a tour of 65 high school students from South Central Los Angeles. Castro understood at that moment it was his opportunity to encourage and give hope to these students, who are often viewed as incapable of having a bright future.
“One of my favorite parts of being an ambassador is having an impact in students’ lives and in family’s lives, whether they come to Biola or not. Whether they go to another university,” Castro said. “I know that I’ve made an impact in their life and as long as I’m selling seats for the Lord, then I’m able to show them the love of Christ. Then I’ve done my job and I’ve done it well.”
experiencing God’s work
Once Castro fastens his tie and clips his name badge, he has the opportunity to talk, pray and uplift students and their families. He continually sees and experiences God’s work in both his life and the lives of others.
“I know the job title, I’m suppose to serve people in tours, I’m supposed to serve people in calls and events, but knowing that sometimes I need to just be a mirror, to receive what these people are saying, and listen to them. Even when they are talking about their personal life,” Castro said.
During his time serving as a student ambassador, Castro has experienced continuous support and love from his co-workers and managing staff, through the good times and the bad.
“It’s been really difficult, but this semester I’ve grown into appreciation for Biola. Where now I really value the community for just the support that it gives. And I find that the students and faculty, and my co-workers and just everyone, has rallied around me both on really good days. And also, the really not so good days,” Castro said.
sharing life stories
Castro expressed how wonderful it is to be so close with the ambassador faculty, including sharing life stories and laughing together.
“To just be accepted was an amazing time of watching these people who are my coworkers be more than just coworkers, but brothers and sisters in Christ… Of course [we] work hard and do our job, but we can also at the end of the day, relax and just be friends, and enjoy each others company,” Castro said.
In the future, Castro hopes to be a part of the Biola administration, as an admissions counselor or professor to impact this profession for Jesus Christ.
“Now that I’ve been able to work with the faculty, the staff and administration, and my co-workers, I know this is something that I want to do, and I want to really pursue. And just continue to pour into people’s lives [like] prospective students. That would be a big gift,” Castro said.