After doing my undergraduate degree I took a year out, spending some months in India. I knew that I wanted to study Law and I spoke to a few practising lawyers in Canada who had studied in the UK and I started to seriously look into it.
I applied to 5 universities and in the end it came down to a choice between Queen Mary’s in London, or Leeds. Leeds was ranked very highly and as someone paying international student fees, living in London for two years was going to be very expensive so it was economically much better to come to Leeds as well – a pint of beer here in Leeds is even cheaper than back home in Canada.
I’ve always wanted to study law and in Canada it can take 3 or 4 attempts at applying to a Law School before you get a place, because places are so limited. The thought of the cultural experience of studying overseas and the chance to do some international travel really appealed to me, and the Canadian legal system is very much related to the UK one.
The course itself here is great, very challenging but you expect that. The Profs are amazing, they are all very, very strong and all are experts in their field. For example, in European Law we have 3 or 4 EU law experts who speak 4 or 5 languages and are internationally renowned. It also adds to the overall cultural experience, having teaching staff from around the world. You’re pretty much guaranteed that whoever teaches you here at Leeds is a leading expert in that field. I’d say that the professors are the most inspiring part of the experience – they are that good. They’re really quite exceptional.
The workload is demanding – and it should be, there’s a lot of work to get through in two years. Because of the lack of places in Canadian law schools, Canadians may think that getting into an English law school is easier but if you think it’s an easy law degree then you would be very wrong! It’s supposed to be challenging, and it is. For me I want to be the best possible lawyer that I can be and to do that I need to get the best possible training, and that’s why I came to Leeds.
They don’t hold your hand, you have to do a lot of reading to prepare yourself for the seminars following a lecture which will have set the scene for a particular topic.
Having personal tutors and taking seminars is something that is very new to me, we’re not really used to that sort of attention in Canada, which is great for a law student when the material is often so tough, so I find that part of study here really invaluable.
For an international student coming to Leeds the accommodation is very good. The Uni is like a community so you’re not thrown off into a far flung corner of the city, it’s quite condensed which is great for an international student because you’re entering a community – all of which makes the whole transition so much easier.
I plan to go back to Canada when I graduate and I’ll still have to do 4 or 5 more exams and then a year of articling [Canadian equivalent of a training contract] before qualifying as a lawyer, which is something that you need to be aware of if you’re coming to study in the UK.
I just can’t say anything bad about Leeds – except that it has no ocean!