Studying PR & Strategic Communication as an international student
Student spotlight | Paulina Solka, MA Public Relations & Strategic Communication
I am Paulina, 27, from Germany. I graduated as an international student with my MA in PR & Strategic Communication in 2020. After graduating, I started my first job as a communication specialist at a global plastics company and I am responsible for internal and external communications.
- Course: MA PR & Strategic Communication
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you've been doing since you graduated
After graduating, I moved back to Germany because of Brexit and the pandemic. All the plans I had, such as traveling in South America and volunteering had to be postponed and I decided to start job hunting. This was obviously harder regarding the circumstances. Hence, I used the extra time to improve my coding skills by joining a course and taking part in the Oxford School of Climate Change, where I had the chance to deepen my knowledge on sustainability and meet people from around the globe. A couple of months later, I started my job as a communication specialist at a company I used to work for before. I am now responsible for their internal and external communications and taking care of our social media presence.
What have been the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
The biggest challenge for me was finding a job during a global pandemic. It is important to never stop trying, no matter how hard and hopeless a situation seems. I am all the happier today that it worked out after many application and interviews. One of my highlights is that my Masters dissertation was shortlisted for the EUPRERA Masters Award. It took stress, effort and dedication, but thee fact that this was appreciated by external people from the industry means a lot to me.
How has your experience studying at Leeds Beckett influenced you and your career?
I always planned on studying abroad. Since I already spent some time in the UK after leaving school, I decided I wanted to do my Masters there. Leeds Beckett has opened so many doors for me. I worked together with people from different cultural and educational backgrounds, met people from the industry, made life-long friends and gained new perspectives. As an international student, my experience at Leeds Beckett was doubly commendable. Everyone was open, supportive and welcoming.
What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?
If you are looking for a course that combines practical experience, an international focus and looking outside-the-box – you won’t be disappointed. By working with real life clients, I have gained professional experience and learned a lot about myself as well. As a PR practitioner, it is essential to put theory into practice, which is what the course teaches you from day one. Another thing I enjoyed was that our class was small and we were seen as students not numbers by our lecturers.
What's next for you?
Since I have just started my first job, I want to further deepen my knowledge about corporate communication, gain work experience and just take things as they come. I can see myself going abroad again to work, grow and see new things. I am also thinking about doing a short side trip into research to do a PhD and to elaborate further on my master’s dissertation. Time will tell – but one thing is for sure: without my degree at Leeds Beckett I wouldn’t be where I am now and I couldn’t be happier about this experience.