Ming Wen,  MA Society, Culture and Media

Ming Wen

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I come from Shanghai, an international city in China. My educational background is like any other Chinese students – I went to public school and passed the College Entrance Test. I was accepted by the University of Leeds when I studied ‘Social Work’ for my undergraduate degree. This course is a good chance for me to do some research work rather than practice.

What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?

I felt really interested in sociology after my undergraduate years, but sociology was introduced into China late. Therefore, different areas of sociology have not been categorised and studied specifically. The reason I chose ‘Society, Culture and Media’ is that the course can provide me a holistic understanding of many great sociologists and their theories. Modules are designed to draw relations between sociology and culture and media. In addition, the optional module allows me to dig deeper in my interest area.

Leeds was often referred to as a ‘college city’ which left me an impression of a good study environment. Additionally, the living costs here are not as high as in London. It is not a big city and you can walk to the campus or the city centre easily.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

Previously I worked in a public relationship agency in China where we communicate with executives of famous social media accounts or magazines. We need to follow the volume in social media platforms and provide strategy for the brands to advertise, which led to me asking how the media play its role in our society and how it affects audience’s consuming choice. In addition, media situation is changing rapidly in China, varieties of forms of content like short videos have taken the place of traditional media. Therefore, I choose media as my area of study.

What has been your highlight of the course so far?

Definitely my module ‘Sociology of Culture and Media’. We have learnt about many great sociologists like Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, etc. and this module is more about media and culture. We have done many interesting readings on the Frankfurt School, Bourdieu and other scholars and books on culture are always fascinating.

I also look forward to my assignment feedback, as I try my best to do every piece of my work, the feedback is important for me and the marker tutors are responsible. They point out my advantages and disadvantages and give me the suggestions to improve.

What do you think of the facilities?

I was impressed by the Edward Boyle Library the first time I visited there. The libraries on campus are convenient for students, like desktops everywhere and group discussion rooms, which can meet all the needs of students. Besides, we can find the Refectory, Terrace and shops in Leeds University Union (LUU) which are helpful for all the students.

How would you describe the guidance you've received?

I can easily contact the teaching staff via emails or go to their open-door times. The ‘Open Door’ policy is helpful because you can discuss anything, like questions on the lecture, or your essay structure with the friendly members of staff.

I went to the advisors in LUU once and they are also warm-hearted and willingly to help you. They are there to help you with multiple issues you could face during your stay in Leeds.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?

There are many outdoor activities such as jogging organized by LUU or Give-it-a-Go sessions (GIAG), also you can learn something new like yoga, or Tai Chi if you wish. Many charity or volunteer organizations will come to recruit members. I paid a visit to Whitby on a trip organised by LUU and went to the Labour Party talk with Hilary Benn, which was an interesting experience for me.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

It is quite different from Shanghai, where I grew up. It is a quiet and slow-pace city. I live a little further out from campus and city centre, and it is enjoyable and comfortable. You will not feel inconvenience as there are always shops around. Besides, the environment is much better than in Shanghai. Clubs, shopping malls, theatres are situated in the city centre which give people in Leeds a diverse leisure life.

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

I strongly recommend my course to you. The friendly teaching staff, the abundant learning resources on campus and the incredible classmates will make you enjoy studying here. You should prepare for a lot of readings and writings, but you will also get beneficial from this. Just work hard and you will not regret to choose it.

What are your plans for the future?

I will probably go back to China and continue to work in a public relation agency. I look forward to becoming a consultant in the future and being able to provide professional advice to my clients to build a good corporate image. There is also a possibility for me to considering staring a PhD course here or to join a research organization in China.

Any other comment you would like to make?

I love Leeds so much and my university leaves me an incredible impression. Despite it being hard to stay in Britain afterwards, it is still a good opportunity to study at the University of Leeds. Here you can encounter people from many cultural backgrounds with different ideas and opinions which may inspire you. One year seems too short for me, but I will cherish my stay here and would recommend it.