I’m currently in my fourth year at the School of Law and come from a tiny little village in Leicester. I completed my A levels in 2007 and was very pleased to be accepted onto the three year LLB Law course here. I chose Leeds after visiting the city during an open day and feeling at home straight away.
As I write this, I have about a month left of my course and just a few exams left. Strangely, I most enjoyed the land law module as I liked the logical approach to situations and everything made sense (as opposed to certain other modules!).
The dissertation was a big task but it is nice to be able to decide what you want to research and the feeling when it is finished is great. I also took a German course as an elective in my final year which I have thoroughly enjoyed as it has given me a break from law and allowed me to pursue something completely different.
During my second year at Leeds, I decided to spend my third year abroad at the Australian National University in Canberra. I had always intended to just do a three year law course but saw the opportunity to study abroad and couldn’t resist it. That choice to study abroad was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best decision I have ever made.
My second year exams finished in June and I was off to Australia to start my year there in July. The semesters are different in Australia with the first semester going from July-November and the second from March-June with a long summer holiday in the middle.
The studying part of my year was particularly interesting as the teaching methods are quite different to those in the UK. For example, the main method of assessment was through coursework and presentations rather than exams (though this depends on the modules you choose).
It was also interesting to study another legal system and see the influences the UK has had on the country. You are able to choose every module you study so it really allows you to pursue those that are of particular interest to you.
During my time in Canberra, I also had a part-time job where I worked as a waiter for 20 hours a week. This was in order to gain enough funds to spend my Australian summer holiday travelling.
Having a job in another country was a lot of fun, especially since all the customers are so surprised to hear an English accent in Canberra! I spent the majority of my shift explaining where Leicester was in relation to London and why football is infinitely better than Aussie rules.
Although my time in Canberra was a lot of fun, my summer holiday was the best part of my year abroad. I used the money I had saved to go travelling around Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Particular highlights were NYE and Christmas in Sydney, skydiving in Taupo, bungee jumping in Queenstown, surfing on the East Coast of Australia, snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, island hopping in Fiji…I could go on!
I have become much more aware of other cultures and have developed a huge interest in travelling. I have made friends from all around the world and since coming home, I have already been to other countries and met up with these people. I have also developed a lot as a person as I went to Australia on my own so had to be completely independent at the start. It certainly improves your confidence and gives you a brand new outlook on everything.
I will say though that, particularly at the beginning, you might miss home and all your friends and family. I didn’t know anyone before I went and did miss home quite a lot at the start. However, with Skype and Facebook, it is easy to keep in contact with everyone at home. And, after a while, you will make lots of new friends and experience so many amazing things.
A year abroad also makes you stand out a lot when it comes to applying to jobs. Interviewers at all of my graduate job interviews have been really impressed with my year abroad and always ask me a lot of questions about it. With the increasing competition for grad schemes, doing something like this is certainly advisable when it comes to being employable.
I would say to anyone thinking about doing a year to just go for it. You certainly won’t regret it and I can guarantee you will have the time of your life! You are only young and free enough to be able to do something like this once!