So you’ve decided to journey to the UK for your law degree? Great choice! Studying your law degree in the UK will help you to become truly independent and develop as an individual, not to mention the cultural experiences you’ll be exposed to. The UK is also the birth place for common law making it the ideal place to base your studies.
However, moving to the UK from Canada and studying a degree in law are both pretty large career decisions, but by reading this blog, you’ll know you’re making the right choice. When making a big decision like this one, listening to advice from people who have been in your position is always a great help.
Here are 5 pieces of advice from Canadian students studying Law in the UK:
1. Build relationships
Annie Bird who studied her LLM in International Human Rights Law at the University of Essex felt that taking the time to build relationships was an important part of her time studying in the UK.
“Studying at Essex has far surpassed my expectations. One distinct advantage of Essex is the community that it creates. The setting really lends itself to building relationships with your peers. You leave Essex not only with colleagues but friends from all over the world.”
It isn’t only Annie that sees this as a valuable part of your law degree! Law experts have said that networking is key, especially if you’re pursuing a summer internship which could lead to long-term employment. Karen Sargent, Assistant Dean at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law said:
“It’s maintaining relationships that are going to carry you throughout your career. And you never know when those relationships are going to come into play.”
Make sure you spend time connecting with people and building relationships, you have access to a great network while you’re at university, and you’re surrounded by likeminded people who also want to build their connections. Grab this opportunity with both hands and work to keep these relationships going even after university is over.
2. Take advantage of societies
As a law student, you’re busy, there’s a lot you have to learn and a lot that you have to do, but make time for some extra-curricular activities… Take the advice from Melissa Serpe, originally from Toronto, who is currently studying her LLB at the University of Leeds:
“There are many societies to join and it’s an amazing way to bond with people that have similar interests or just to try something new.”
Joining societies will help you to meet more people who share an interest with you, and can help to widen your network beyond your programme and those that you will study with! Not only that, but by showing you’re a team player and that you can succeed in your academic work alongside your society, you can gain experience and skills for future employment – remember, you need everything you can to set you apart from other students!
3. Travel, immerse yourself in the culture
While you’re in the UK, you’re in the gateway to Europe! Many other fantastic countries and cultures are on your doorstop, it would be a shame for you not to take advantage of these opportunities while they’re presented to you!
Minh Nguyen, from Canada is currently studying his LLB at the University of Southampton and said: “I have also really enjoyed the chance to travel and immerse myself in the culture of the UK, as well as explore and learn more about Europe in general. I’ve met so many great people and learned so much; it’s been a fantastic journey!”
Think about how great it will sound to future employers that you have moved to a different country to study your degree, but also that you took that opportunity to travel too! Especially if you were able to pick up any pro bono or work experience along the way. These different life experiences that you gain during your studies will help to mould you into a more rounded and employable individual.
4. Have a can do attitude
Abdi who studied his LLB and LLM at the University of Hertfordshire and is now a Corporate Lawyer in Quebec said that: “Law has given me the confidence to communicate and negotiate. The university is where it all started. Today I have the upmost respect from both my current and previous superiors and I am positioned in a very good level in my career. I believe that with determination, everything is possible.”
Sometimes with a law degree, a can do attitude and determination is exactly what you need to succeed. There will be times when you find things difficult, but the right attitude will help you to push past those boundaries and achieve what you want from your career. You’re going to be a lawyer after all, part of your job is to not give up!
5. Use your lecturers’ knowledge
This might sound simple and obvious, but many students forget that their lecturers are actually a fountain of knowledge! And they’re prepared to share their secrets and tips with you so that you can succeed too.
Annie Bird, who is now a Policy Advisor at Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations said that: “A second advantage is the breadth and depth of the teaching team. The opportunity to be in conversation with some of the greatest minds in the field offers an unparalleled opportunity for students to gain a unique perspective on key debates in human rights and law.”
Your lecturers have been there and done it. They’ve studied, they’ve taken exams, they’ve put the hours in and most importantly they have worked the cases that you’re dreaming about, they know how the whole process works! So use them for advice, you aren’t going to get better from anyone else.
Choosing a UK university
To help you find the perfect university for you, we have created a partner university guide for Canadian students which includes information on the courses, law school, and opportunities for the future as well as further testimonials from the students themselves.
If you’d like to learn more about UK universities where you could study your law degree, download your copy of the Studying law in the UK: Partner university guide for Canadian students here.