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THE UK: Subject Guides

Studying Public Relations: Tatsuya Ishii

Interested in Public Relations? Read about a Japanese student studying Public Relations

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Name: Tatsuya Ishii
CourseBA (Hons) Public Relations
Study Level: Undergraduate
University: University of Westminster
Country of origin: Japan

Q. Why did you enroll on your course and how did you choose your university?
 I did A-Levels at one of colleges in Cambridge and I particularly had a quite strong interest in PR/marketing/advertising through Business Studies. I then started looking for a university focusing on these 3 subjects with location, teaching quality and reputation. The University of Westminster matched all my criteria, therefore I chose this university.

Q. Why did you choose the UK as a study destination?
 Studying abroad was one of my dreams since I visited my sister in the USA back in 1998 and lived there for a little while. To be really fair, I was very tempted to study in the States as I already had a few friends there, but I thought that it would be a great opportunity to study in other countries with completely different environment. Studying in the UK, therefore, was the first choice to me at the time because of the world’s most famous universities such as Oxbridge and positive reputations of its education system.

Q. How would you describe the structure of your course?
 My course, I would say, is very practical compared to other courses. There are no exams, but lots of essays, presentations, projects and group works involved through the whole year. The course provides and develops specific skills and knowledge required in the PR industry such as learning how to write a press release, how to organise a good PR campaign, how to control a reputational management of a corporation etc… I would, therefore, say that students from the course would have more opportunities to get a job into the PR industry. Additionally, guest lecturers from specific PR industries such as from the celebrity PR or the corporate PR industry are usually invited to class. Having such guest lecturers in class is also a great opportunity for students to listen to a real voice and help us to decide where we would like to go in the future. Moreover, these guest lecturers sometimes kindly offer us an internship opportunity, so it is the best environment to people who would like to get a PR job in the future.

Q. How does the English teaching style differ from that in your home country?
 It is completely different, I would say. In Japan, we have to learn passively. We just have to sit down, take notes and memorise what teachers say. Whereas here, the UK, students are actively involved into lectures and teaching is definitely livelier, for instance there are a lot of discussions involved in class.

Q. How did you fund your studies?
 I did not really want to rely on my parents, so I started working after graduating high school in Japan. I covered 1/3 and the rest is my family’s support.

Q. What were the biggest challenges that you faced in your first year?
Reading. I am not fond of reading at all, especially one of those academic theory books with lots of jargons in it. I am used to it now, but I had to read at least 10 books for an essay in the first year and, thus, I was struggling with reading such books every time.  

Q. What are the best things about your course?
 As I mentioned previously, my course involves several guest lectures. In the PR industries, experiences and connections are always essential and the course is willing to provide these two necessities through the degree, which would definitely help our future career. Additionally, I really appreciate that there are no exams through the course, because I know how stressful having exams are. Obviously, there are people who prefer having exams rather than having constant work on a regular basis, but having no exams is one of the best things, I would say.

Q. What are you planning to do after graduation?
 Currently I am planning to do masters in Advertising or Marketing.

Q. What advice would you give to other new international students?
 It is definitely important to have a certain level of English before coming to the UK, but English can be improved dramatically as soon as you start studying. Do not be shy and speak up! You will be surprised by the improvement in few months.

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