Sara Yeong Suet Sum

What made you apply to your course at Leeds?

Leeds was my first choice because it has always been ranked top 50 in the world, its top two in the UK for communication and media studies and is ranked among the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2019.

The course offers a perfect combination of practice-based learning mixed with critical investigation into the latest debated topics such as big data, algorithms and gamification.

I’ve enjoyed the hands-on approach to teaching when it comes to web design and app development, and I’ve had the chance to explore what it’s like to work in the new media industries. Each week, we upload our work to the website that we’ve created from scratch! I enjoy experimenting with emerging digital practices and techniques every week during the workshops.

From a theoretical perspective, I enjoy the way lecturers prompt us with critical questions about digital media such as: is data raw? What are algorithms? Do you have privacy online?  All these critical questions and workshops help me to develop an in-depth understanding of existing practices and traditions, as well as the possibilities and their constraints.

It’s so easy to borrow professional equipment like soundman solo binaural headsets, audio recorders and DSLRs for assignments. The staff are very helpful in teaching you how to operate equipment that you’re not familiar with.

The School of Media and Communication has amazing resources available. Staff are willing to go above and beyond to provide you with help and any equipment you need. It’s so easy to borrow professional equipment like soundman solo binaural headsets, audio recorders and DSLRs for assignments. The staff are very helpful in teaching you how to operate equipment that you’re not familiar with.

There are also many places where you can create your creative art pieces in a great environment! For example, our lessons and workshops are normally held in the edit room, where we can use PCs with the same specialist kit that you’d find in the digital media lab or the newsroom.

Edit room with edit pods

The edit room – take a 360 tour

editing software

Editing software

What other opportunities have you taken advantage of and what are you planning to do after graduation?

I was elected Course Rep for MA New Media. The one thing that I enjoyed the most and always felt most passionate about was attending the student-staff forum; this was the opportunity for me to raise concerns on behalf of my classmates and discuss and work out solutions with the academics. Being Course Rep has opened a lot of doors for me and improved my confidence and communication skills incredibly.

During my time at Leeds, I’ve been an active member of the Data Science Society, Trade and Investments Society, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Society as well as the Consulting Society; they hold events at least once every week. I gained so much knowledge, skills and friends after attending those sessions! Thanks to the Trade and Investments Society, I can now call myself a junior investor after learning how to place trades and buy stocks! See all the societies at LUU.

Outside of studying, I’ve always made use of my weekends and joined the trips organised by Leeds University Union (LUU). So far, I’ve visited 18 places in the UK. Because of the various events and trips that LUU organizes, I’ve managed to balance academic life with a rich social experience. 

After completing my Masters, I intend to look for a 3-month internship in the consultancy industry. Then, I wish to be taken as a full-time employee at my previous place of work, I’d like to develop an app and a website to globalise the company. I’m also passionate about working with others and developing tools that put the world in a better state than currently.

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

Think of the University of Leeds as a new beginning. It’s a time to rewrite or enhance your life story.

Challenge yourself to take on something new and out of your comfort zone – participate in all kinds of extracurricular activities and volunteer to be a Course Rep, International Ambassador or just any role that you are passionate about! Dive into your studies and take the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops that are outside of your field, talk to your personal mentors and learn from them.

Outside of that, there is so much more to discover – get yourself involved in the trips and the volunteering opportunities offered by LUU. This time in your life comes around only once. Reach out to new friends, be involved, and enjoy this incredible journey!