I grew up in a Derbyshire village, so moving to Leeds was a big move for me. After studying English Language, French, Psychology and History at A level, I wished to continue straight into university. I'm currently in my final year and after I graduate, I am hoping to continue studying for a Masters in International and European Human Rights Law.
Why I Chose Law with French Law at Leeds
The course at Leeds offered me various opportunities that weren’t available to me at other universities. When I visited Leeds for the first time, I immediately felt at home on campus. All staff and students were friendly and approachable, and I saw myself fitting in easily. Additionally, Leeds has an excellent reputation and a wealth of facilities available to students, as well as offering numerous co-curricular activities, in which students are encouraged to participate.
My Passion for Law and French
After studying French at school and college, I realised that I had reached a competent level of French, but my understanding of grammar and fluency still needed work. I therefore wanted to pursue it alongside law. Law is a subject that is fascinating to me, as it affects all elements of life. Through studying French, I have deepened my knowledge of English. During My year abroad in Toulouse, I developed a keen interest for comparative law, and how different legal systems apply the same rules in regards to Human Rights and EU concepts, amongst others. This has led me to research the application of the European Convention of Human Rights in the UK and France for my dissertation, and is hopefully something that I will be able to continue next year during postgraduate study.
Even though the course is quite intense, I found the most enjoyable aspects to be those which were inter-disciplinary, showing the practical advantages to studying both Law and French at degree level. My year abroad in Toulouse was the highlight of this, which saw me studying aspects of French law in French, allowing me to compare it to English law. This not only improved my understanding of French culture, but also allowed me to contrast it to the way in which English law has developed, helping me to understand English law concepts that I had previously struggled with. This contextualisation has furthered my interest in international law and human rights development within Europe.
Additionally, as part of my interest in human rights law, I have been fortunate enough to have been a part of the University of Leeds Innocence Project since 2011, taking the role as student manager for the academic year 2013-14. This has given me various opportunities, including furthering my legal research around human rights concepts of English law, and working with both University of Leeds staff and our resident solicitor. Through working on this project, I have also developed my practical understanding of English criminal and constitutional law, as well as working with and leading a team of enthusiastic and dedicated students.
My Year Studying Abroad
Spending a year abroad was important to me as I quickly realised that my fluency of French would only improve if I submersed myself in the French language. Spending a year abroad was one of the reasons why I decided to study Law with French, as it guaranteed that I spent a year as an Erasmus student.
I chose to spend my year in Toulouse, studying at Université Toulouse I Capitole. Toulouse is a vibrant student city in the south of France, which is close to many beautiful French towns and villages, and is even not too far from Barcelona. Whilst an Erasmus student, I studied modules in the French law of Obligations, Constitutional law, Criminal law and International/European Institutions, which I found really interesting.
The most enjoyable part of studying abroad for me was the opportunity to be abroad. Through living and learning in French, I did not only learn about French law, but also about French culture and other worldwide cultures, through meeting exchange students from across the world. It also gave me time for me to think about my future without the same pressures as at home, and allowed me to explore the subjects that I found interesting from a different viewpoint. I found this experience valuable, as aside from learning concepts of French law, I grew in confidence and developed my interest in International law, allowing me to decide what to do after I finish my degree at Leeds.
Spending a year studying abroad is an invaluable experience that cannot be replicated through any other means. You have the flexibility to choose where you wish to go, and can study modules that may not be available in Leeds. Spending a year abroad also opens up many opportunities – whilst you are there, you can explore the country and do things that you might not have done otherwise, and on return, you have a changed perspective on your studies. It is also a discussion point in interviews and job applications, as you learn so many skills from spending a year abroad that can be transposed into the workplace.