- Course: International Law LLM
- Nationality: British
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from Leeds, and apart from moving to Newcastle to do my undergraduate degree in law, I have lived in this great city for most of my life. Coming from a working class background I was the first person in my family to go to university, and the whole experience was a steep, yet in the end highly enjoyable, learning curve for us all. I graduated in 2014 and accepted a position as a paralegal at a firm in Leeds before applying to the University to study on the International Law LLM programme.
What motivated you to apply for your course at Leeds?
I had always been interested in international issues and the workings of global institutions in governing the behaviours of nations, and as an undergraduate law student the step into further study in international law seemed natural. Having graduated and taken a job as a paralegal at a firm, I came to decide that going down the traditional LPC or BPTC route was not what I wanted to do and a Master’s seemed like a practical and interesting choice. It was only after reading the International Law LLM programme course page on the University website that I realised how the subject areas on offer were exactly the kind of things I wanted to develop my knowledge in, and many of the optional modules were not on offer at other well regarded universities around the country. It was difficult to find a University that offered such a wide-ranging choice of modules that the School does on an international law course, this coupled with the excellent academic profiles of the tutors (with their experience in practice at international institutions such as the International Criminal Court) convinced me wholeheartedly to remain in Leeds, despite having my heart set on moving away.
What do you think of your course?
The International Law programme at Leeds has provided me with a wealth of knowledge on the subject and has been an extremely stimulating experience, both academically and socially. The programme attracts a large number of students from around the world and it has been a pleasure to get to know them, their experiences and differing takes on academic topics. The course itself covers a wide range of international law topics and has encouraged healthy academic debate in seminars, which in turn has developed my understanding of the course material. With such a diverse array of optional modules on the programme, no two subjects have been the same and this has really enhanced my academic insight, allowing me to make links between different modules and develop a broad understanding of the issues.
A particular highlight of my postgraduate year at Leeds has been to serve as a member of the Law Postgraduate Society Committee. The Committee has aimed to really engage with postgraduate students, planning a busy social calendar to ensure that postgraduates feel involved in the School, so as to dispel the myth that postgraduate study is a lonely endeavour. Our social calendar culminated in the first Postgraduate Ball in Leeds city centre which was heavily attended and a well-earned treat in what is an intense academic year!
How would you describe the guidance you've received?
The guidance of staff and tutors, both on my course and in the wider School, has been fantastic! The staff really make you feel welcome from matriculation and throughout the year, which contributes to a positive feeling around the School itself. Having not received much support in my undergraduate studies (at a different university), the positivity and insightfulness of tutors, which is very much needed at Master’s level, has given me a foundation on which to motivate myself and others. Master’s students benefit from having a dedicated Postgraduate Tutor for the School who assists the Committee to ensure that any issues are resolved and feedback is provided – I believe that this is a valuable asset for postgraduate wellbeing and has helped to facilitate the sense of community that the postgraduate students have in the School.
What do you think of the facilities?
Not only is the School of Law a great place to be taught as a clean, modern and open space, but the wider University campus itself is both historical and contemporary. Even the brutalist architecture of the Edward Boyle Library is endearing! Academically the facilities provided to postgraduate students are a real asset to the University, with dedicated postgraduate study spaces (with all necessary facilities) in both the School of Law and the Edward Boyle Library, providing spaces for Master’s level research and discussion to take place whilst allowing you to meet fellow postgraduate students. The private study rooms for group projects were of particular use throughout the year and made our projects so much more efficient with the equipment provided in them.
Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities?
Aside from serving on the Law Postgraduate Society Committee, the University offers a fantastic range of other extra-curricular societies to engage with. Over the year I have been able to try my hand at writing for the student newspaper and also the School of Law Liberty Brief as a postgraduate contributor. Having such a diverse range of societies at the University to choose from means that there is something for everyone and is a great way to meet new people.
What do you think of Leeds as a city?
Leeds is an open, diverse, and ultimately welcoming city to both study and live. Living in the city you quickly realize that there is so much going on to engage all interests and still so much more potential to be unlocked. Leeds' vibrancy and diversity has really made it an exciting place to be.