Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?
I am originally from Newcastle and moving to university was the first time I had been away from home for more than one week. I had no life skills when I first moved away but I have grown so much during my time at Leeds and matured into a better person because of it. I was the first in the family to go to university.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
I wanted to study a course which would challenge me and provide practical, professional skills that were transferable to any profession as well as open the door to a career where I could help people. I only needed to visit the University of Leeds once to know that I wanted to study there. It was lively and very student focused.
What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?
I enjoy challenging myself and learning through the practical application of my knowledge and this provided the perfect opportunity for me to do just that. There are so many different aspects of law to fit every different interest you may have or any path you might have for your future career. I think this diversity in potential career opportunities combined with the chance to be involved in such a fast paced industry which is constantly evolving is what makes me passionate about Law.
What do you think of your course so far – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most or are looking forward to the most?
I think that the course is a very versatile and diverse course which provides students with the chance to choose some of the modules they study which is something that not all universities offer and this is something which I have enjoyed being able to do. There is a mix of commercial and non-commercial modules to select from as well as plenty of extra-curricular activities to get involved in. I have really enjoyed doing my dissertation and am looking forward to producing a piece of work that I will be proud of. Having the freedom to write about any area you find interesting and take it in any direct you like really helps you find and develop your academic interest and individual learning.
What would you say about the learning facilities in the School and at the University in general?
The facilities available to students in the School of Law and the University of Leeds itself are impeccable. The university and the school are constantly seeking student feedback to improve their facilities to better the students learning environment. The libraries and schools are fully equipped with various study spaces and resources.
How did you obtain your placement?
I applied for my placement through the University of Leeds School of Law, by filling out an application form for university and also a form for Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC). I also had to write a small essay relating to one aspect of MDAC’s work and send that to them. The final stage was an interview with a panel of lecturers from the School of Law.
What does your placement entail?
I moved to Budapest for 9 weeks in order to carry out my 8-week internship with MDAC as part of their advocacy department. In my position there looked the rights of persons with mental disabilities, looking at national and international human rights law, in central and eastern Europe and parts of Africa.
What do you do on a day-day basis?
On a day to day basis I worked as part of a team to research particular human rights issues in order to create presentations and reports relating. I monitored the field for updates on improvement, changes and developments in areas MDAC were particularly concerned with. We also had regular country meetings in which we would discuss the projects in that country, goals for that country and any potential issues they were facing and how to tackle them.
What has been the highlight so far?
I find it difficult to pick just one highlight from my internship because the entire process was full of new and challenging tasks which I overcame. It is a privilege to be able to look back on my time with MDAC and know that my work there will contribute to fighting for the rights of people with mental disabilities.
What are you learning?
I learned how to practically apply the knowledge I had learned about international human rights law in my second year at university. I also developed my knowledge of more human rights law tools and how to communicate issues to various different audiences and tailor the language used for that audience.
How do you think you will be able to apply this to your final year?
The research skills I developed further as well as gained have helped me tremendously in researching for, and drafting, my dissertation. I have also improved my confidence in public speaking and presentations which has helped me in my final year studies so far. I can communicate my arguments more eloquently and concisely. I can also process my thoughts quicker in order to answer impromptu questions which will help me in my seminars.
Anything else you would like to comment on?
All of this was made possible thanks to the generosity of the University of Leeds School of Law as well as University Alumnus Marcus Killick.
What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?
There are many different clubs and societies for students to become part of at the University and within Schools. Students can also take part in study abroad placements and industry placements. Activities I have taken part in outside my studies include the University of Leeds Justice Project where we correspond with prisoners who wish to appeal their convictions and we assist them in this where we can. I have also been a student representative for the School of Law at various open days speaking to prospective students. There are endless opportunities for students to take part in.
What would you say about Leeds as a city?
Leeds as a city is very lively and extremely cultural with activities to suit everyone’s needs. It has a high student population and caters very well to student needs with most places offering student discount, rates and events.
What do you like to do outside of studying?
When I have time away from studying I enjoy shopping and cinema trips with my friends, going to bars as well as horse riding.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
I would say to anyone interested in apply to study law that applying and going to university will be one of the best decisions they could make. It may seem daunting at first but there is lots of support available if you need it. It is a great achievement to study at such a prestigious university and it should be grasped with both hands.
What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course?
I plan on taking a short break and doing some travelling. Then I plan on getting a graduate job hopefully as a paralegal in a law firm.
Any other comment you would like to make?
I have loved my time at the University of Leeds as part of the School of Law, they have been the hardest but most rewarding years of my life and I have made life-long friends.