Studying Law Abroad: Worth A Thought

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Nothing comes close to the Golden Coast

The City Law School has established student exchange programmes with:

  • Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia
  • Montesquieu University, Bordeaux, France
  • University of Toulouse
  • University of Wroclaw
  • University of Barcelona
  • Moscow State Academy

The arrangement provides an opportunity for LLB students to spend half of their third year studying at one of the School’s partner universities, and for students from these institutions to come to the UK and study alongside LLB students. The assessment results from the courses taken overseas count towards the final degree classification. Courses at QUT and Toulouse are taught in English. Courses in Bordeaux are taught in French and to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to have a good standard of French. The Centre for Language Studies offers a number of French courses which students can take to enhance their language skills and to help prepare them for study in France.

Further information on the scheme is provided during the second year of the LLB, when students are able to apply for the exchange. To be eligible, students must have achieved a good standard of academic performance in the first year of the LLB. If more students apply than there are places available, selection will be made on the basis of first year results (depending on timing, second year results may also be taken into account).

So let's hear from Dhiren who jetted off to Brisbane in the 2010-11 academic year...


Think we should plant some palm trees in Northampton Square?
Australia may seem like a distant land, and why wouldn’t it at 10,000 miles away? However, there is much more to Australia than just sunshine, barbecues, Sheilas and Bruces. I first heard about the opportunity in an introductory lecture in my first year, if you are interested, I highly suggest that you start making enquiries in your second year at the law office, and get the ball rolling early, it is by no means a decision that you will be able to make overnight. The great thing about studying in Australia is that it is very similar to the UK in many ways, from the language to things like the side they drive on (left of course) and the laws that operate in the country and how they are structured, so if you have lived in the UK already, then you should have no problem living in Australia.

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

QUT has a great reputation across Australia, and once you see the main campus you will realise why. The university comprises of 3 campuses in total, the Law faculty is based at Gardens point campus, which is in the heart of Brisbane city. All my classes were at Garden’s point and as far as I know all Law units are taught at Garden’s point, this is quite an advantage in terms of location because some of my friends had to travel to the Kelvin Grove campus on a free shuttle bus that the university operate which is about 25 minutes away, they found it time consuming, whereas I didn’t have to do that.

The facilities are amazing in my opinion, its no wonder why around 40,000 students are enrolled there, Gardens point is adjacent to the city’s botanical garden, and there are plenty of computer labs and there is a main library and also a law library, so plenty of space to study. The campus is also about a 7-minute walk from the heart of the city, where all the main shopping is based, and restaurants and some bars too.

The course

Campus looks a bit different to Islington!
]You will have to study 4 units (modules) out there, and be warned; at QUT classes can go all the way until 9pm at night (as I found out first hand) and also on weekends (but very rarely). They offer a range of different subjects, which are not taught at undergrad level in the UK, which is something that warmed me to the idea of studying there. My units were; Insolvency Law; Law of Commercial Entities; Law, Society and Justice; and Equality and Anti- Discrimination Law. Other modules that my friends took included; Civil Procedure; Alternative Dispute Resolution and Environmental Law, and I think rarely are these offered at undergrad level in the UK.

Be sure do some research on the course content of any units you potentially want to choose, however you can change your registered units in the first 2 weeks of term. Most units are taught on a once-a-week lectorial basis, which is basically an interactive lecture, where all students are actively involved in learning and contribute, and the lectorials are not usually massive in numbers, the biggest one I had, had about 50 people in it, most are around the 30 mark. Some modules still employ the lecture-tutorial method, so if you prefer this look for these on QUT’s website or just ask at the faculty office. You will find that assessment can involve coursework, online quizzes, work-shops, mid-term exams and even participation in tutorials, so if you're worried that you’re the type of person who only starts working hard towards the end of term, don’t worry, you will hit the ground running at QUT. You will also notice that much of the law comes from the UK system, and many UK cases are quoted in your units, which again is very helpful when studying for exams.

Accommodation

I strongly suggest getting to Brisbane early, at least 2 weeks before orientation week, because there will still be some good properties available in shared housing, the later you leave it, the more likely that you will be restricted in what you can choose from. I strongly suggest looking for a place in a shared house, and do your own research using property websites like www.realestate.com.au, because I was not happy with what the accommodation office had to show me. Speaking from experience, think carefully about whom you will be living with, often the facilities will not bother you as much as the people you live with. Even if someone from City is coming with you on the exchange, if you do not know him or her properly, don’t just assume that you should live with them (again from experience); it could end up in disaster. Student accommodation is extremely expensive (more than London), and although it is nice, unless you really have the extra cash, I wouldn’t bother with it. Public transport is not amazing in Oz, especially buses, they are few and far between, so try and find a place, which is within walking distance of your campus.

Legal profession and Oz in general

Tempting isn't it? Thanks to kahunapulej for the pic
Speaking to one of my professors and some Australian students, I gathered that the job market is no way as competitive as in the UK, there are jobs available, and hard work is rewarded. There is an Australian LPC, which is taught at QUT, and the profession operates a similar training contract/pupillage system.

The country itself is quite expensive because their economy is booming, but that should not deter you from an opportunity of a lifetime. Be sure to check out Sydney, Melbourne, and other places in Queensland such as Cairns (with the Great Barrier Reef), the Whitsunday Islands and the Gold Coast (with some of the best beaches I have ever seen in my life, and only 50 minutes on a train from Brisbane). If you do decide to go, you will not regret it.


Thanks to Dhiren Ghadia for this useful piece. Dhiren completed his LLB at City in 2011