My name is Maxson, and I am from Singapore. I’m currently in my third year at the University of Salford studying BA Journalism with Public Relations, and I am really enjoying it! Read on to find out what I enjoy about the course, my placements, and life at Salford. You’ll never guess what I do in my free time!

Maxson driving a bus. Photo: Jackson Ha

Why I chose to study in the UK

From a young age, I’ve always been really fascinated with cars and buses. However, in Singapore a permit to own a car can cost up to £90,000 and driving a preserved heritage bus is illegal. I knew if I wanted to enjoy my hobbies, I had to look to move somewhere else. The UK was the perfect choice for me as there are almost no restrictions on the type of car or bus you can drive.

Due to this, studying here has been my lifelong dream, as I wanted to experience the UK’s unique culture of enjoying and preserving classic vehicles. Oh, and I absolutely love cold weather. You would too if you were subjected to 35 °c heat all year round for two decades!  

Maxson in the snow in Salford. Photo: Dillon Ng

Pursuing a journalism career  

I have always wanted to study journalism as I love telling stories. From giving people a voice to holding people in power to account, I enjoy it all. The media landscape in the UK is more diverse than in Singapore, so I was confident that I would benefit more from a journalism course studied in the UK.

I arrived in the UK in September 2021, for the start of my journalism with public relations undergraduate degree and I am now in my third year. The course offers me lots of real-world experiences, and I particularly like the fact that I am given the creative freedom to make my assignments relate to my interests.

For example, one assignment in the Lifestyle Journalism module was a human-interest feature. I wrote about a man in Yorkshire who used his preserved heritage bus to provide free bus services on days that public transport was not available, such as Christmas and New Year’s Day. Telling a story like this was something that I always wanted to do, and it was heartwarming to hear and share his story. He also let me take the bus for a spin too, which was a moment I will never forget! 

Maxson driving a preserved heritage bus. Photo: Bradley McMullan

The public relations (PR) aspect is useful as well as I’m learning how to create content such as press releases for a specific target audience. There are various techniques to deliver a message in the most efficient and memorable way possible and we’re learning them all on the course. The tutors are always ready to answer questions and help us should we get stuck. 

I’ve also given the opportunity to go on work placements as part of my course, which has been a fantastic experience. For my first placement I worked with Transport for Greater Manchester on a video, showing a day in the life of a bus interchange supervisor. This video was to be distributed internally to encourage employees to take on the role. 

Currently I am doing another placement for the University of Salford’s international marketing team. I have helped with an influencer takeover and creating content for their social media channels. These placements are an excellent opportunity for me to gain real industry experience and learn directly from professionals. 

Maxson outside our MediaCity campus. Photo: Emily Harrison

Most of my classes are taught at the MediaCity campus. If I want to go to the main Peel Park campus, there is a free bus service which links them up seamlessly. The University’s MediaCity campus is next to media giants such as ITV and BBC, the latter having moved their main operations there from London. This is a huge advantage as guest speakers from these media outlets are quite literally just next door and we can engage with them. Alumni, who are now working in the journalism and PR industry, often are invited to come in and join our lectures.

What I love about Life in the UK

I spend most of my free time exploring the UK in my car, affectionately nicknamed “Little Miss Orange”. I really enjoy driving, and exploring the UK’s country roads.  

Little Miss Orange. Photo: Maxson Goh

I particularly like Manchester city centre as well, as long as I’m not driving! It’s easy to get there by public transport like the bus or tram, and there’s loads to do there from shopping centres and pubs to museums which are largely free to enter. There’s an arcade bar called NQ64 which features my favourite arcade game of all time; SEGA’s OutRun 2 from 2002! 

When I need to get some revision in, I choose to study at the Clifford Whitworth Library located conveniently on the main University campus. This gives you the option to do social study on one floor and quiet solo study on another – the best of both worlds!

Museum of Transport Greater Manchester. Photo: Maxson Goh

I also spend some time volunteering at the Museum of Transport Greater Manchester, where I take photos and videos for the museum’s social media accounts as well as help with day-to-day tasks such as cleaning the buses. I am currently working my way towards being a volunteer driver for the museum’s heritage bus services.

I also have a YouTube channel where I post videos of public transport in the UK and Singapore. Lastly, I am always on the look out to try a different version of my all-time favourite food: Fish & Chips!