Felisah Rose Kilembe
I was born and grew up in in Malawi, where I studied for a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) Degree at the University of Malawi.
During my undergraduate studies I participated and won a couple of awards such as 'All African International Trade Moot Court Competition' held in Cape Town South Africa in 2007 and was voted Best Oralist (Counsel) Savjan Moot Court Competition (Malawi) in 2006.
I graduated from the University of Malawi in 2009 and in the same year joined the firm of Wilson and Morgan in Blantyre Malawi as an Associate. In November 2009 I was admitted to the Malawi Bar, meaning that I am licensed to Practice Law before the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, The Constitutional Court, The High Court, The Industrial Relations Court and the Magistrates Court.
In 2010 I was awarded the prestigious Beit Trust-FCO Chevening- Leeds University Scholarship in order to pursue an LLM in International Trade Law at the University of Leeds.
I commenced my LLM studies at the University of Leeds in September 2010 and completed in September of 2011. I am currently back home in Malawi and continuing my employment as an associate with the firm of Wilson and Morgan.
My motivation to study
What motivated me to apply for my course is the belief that I have that poor countries need trade and investment not aid. Being from a least developed country and the Sub- Saharan region I have seen how aid has failed to take my country and region out of poverty.
I have a strong conviction that what the Sub-Saharan region needs is to engage in beneficial International Trade and to attract sustainable international investment. I was therefore eager to learn more about international trade and investment in order to find what role I as a Lawyer can play in the same.
I was motivated to apply to Leeds for several reasons. Firstly I liked the fact that the course that I wanted to study was structured in such a way that I could chose modules consistent with my future plans. Apart from the core modules you are given an opportunity to choose your own optional modules.
Secondly I was impressed with its reputation and that of its high calibre staff, it was exciting to know that I would be taught and would interact with professors and lecturers who have first-hand experience in this area of the Law.
I was also motivated to apply to Leeds because of its multiculturalism. I was eager to experience life with people from different cultural backgrounds. I was not disappointed on this; I met people from China, India, Nepal, Japan, Spain, Russia, USA, Zambia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya just to mention a few.
My experience was interesting. It was a bit scary at first coming to a new University with a slightly different educational system from my home country; however the support offered to international students by the university through the International Students Office, student services and also the School of Law helped me to quickly adjust to the University’s way of doing things.
I loved the course - it was excellent and thought provoking. I wish it had been possible to take all the modules available! Even though it was a taught postgraduate course, it was never just about the lecturer coming into class and telling us things, but we were actively involved in the class through having discussions, seminars and doing research in advance before classes and doing presentations.
The staff at the School were very helpful. During my entire stay at university I was made to feel that I was not alone and that the staff were there in the background ready to help me if I needed them to.
I was particularly impressed with the fact that the students had a Personal Tutor; this was a very helpful tool for me as it meant that I had someone that I could discuss my academic issues with informally and get advice and guidance.
I did experience a lot of enjoyable things at the university but the ones that I particularly remember are the discussions that we had during our seminars, I found it enjoyable to express my arguments on several aspects of the law and to hear opinions from my fellow students.
I also particularly enjoyed the different activities organised by the Student’s Union. We had live concerts, DJs, parties and debates to name a few.
The University has excellent facilities. It has excellent library facilities where you can find almost all the materials that you want. As far at the Law School itself is concerned the new Law School 'Liberty Building' is an excellent building with excellent facilities.
It has roomy lecturer rooms and I was particularly impressed with its modern Moot Court Room and the Postgraduate study room which has books, law reports and wireless internet all of which went a long way in making studying easier.
I enjoyed staying in Leeds, I liked the multicultural aspect of the city, despite having people from all over the world with different cultures and languages you still feel a sense of belonging and you are never made to feel like you are a foreigner.
There are so many things to do in the city so that there is never a boring moment. It is probably one of the safest cities in the world not once did I encounter threatening or criminal behaviour from anyone.
And its shopping experience is to die for, you have almost all the popular shops right there in the city centre.
I am currently back home in Malawi and continuing my employment as an associate with the firm of Wilson and Morgan. However the time that I spent doing my LLM at the University of Leeds opened my eyes to the wonderful possibilities that are out there for me.