Photo: Oxford St. (London) at Sunset
What sparked the idea
The decision to move to the UK was a big step and I took a long time to determine whether it was the right move for me. I started looking into the process part way through my undergraduate degree; I was studying abroad in Australia and I had fallen in love with the experience of studying in a different place. I suppose a shorter study abroad was like a test-run for an entire degree in a new country. I had the opportunity to experience a different education system, travel on my breaks, and meet people from all over the world. My personal-growth over that period was incredible, and I was hooked. I wanted to do it all again, but for longer next time.
It was around that time that I had decided I wanted to go to law school. It fit perfectly with my vision of further study abroad and I began to research the process of applying in several different countries. I had actually contacted Across the Pond at this stage, having very early discussions about my plans and what options were available for me in the UK. They were around for the entire, lengthy, process!
Why I ultimately chose the UK over Canada
I strongly considered study in both countries, and I took the decision very seriously. Ultimately, the UK offered a far more interesting and affordable route to becoming lawyer than I would find in Canada. The application process for law school in Canada is long, expensive, and demanding; every university has their own entrance requirements, essay questions, and huge fees for applying. That of course doesn’t include the challenge and expense of writing the LSAT. Online forums are full of students who have spent thousands of dollars on the process and never received an acceptance. The universities are becoming ever more competitive, and I wasn’t excited by the prospect of ending up in the city I had lived in for most of my life. I figured that if you’re going to put yourself through the challenge of law school, you should be excited about every aspect of being there.
In a pleasant comparison, applying for university in the UK was streamlined and easy to follow. The process includes only one application, one far lower fee, and the ability to apply to up to five schools at once. Across the Pond was extremely helpful with this, and even put together my application for me. And I was excited about it all – I knew that whichever school I eventually attended, I would have the opportunity for an incredible new experience.
My new Swedish friend and I at a rooftop restaurant with this view of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Some pros and cons
I have a large collection of pros and cons lists for just about every aspect of this experience. Here, I’ve distilled what I found to be the most significant elements of both sides.
- I already have a degree, and as law is an undergraduate degree in the UK, I’ve returned to classes with an average age about 5 years younger than myself.
- The UK education system is very exam-heavy, and the semesters are longer.
- The weather isn’t exactly tropical.
- It can be extremely hard to leave family and friends.
- International student fees.
- The senior status program is available at many ATP partner universities. It allows me to complete a law degree in only two years, significantly reducing my course and living fees.
- Access to incredible, high ranking universities with historic backgrounds and diverse program opportunities.
- The ability to travel around Europe for wildly affordable rates.
- Although the distance can feel far, there are many direct flights between Canada and the UK. Visits home are extremely doable.
The choice to study in the UK is a big one, but ultimately, I didn’t find it to be a difficult one. The opportunity to travel, experience a different culture and educational system, and meet new people from all over the world captured me. If you would like to find out more about studying in the UK, please contact one of our Advisors.