"Professionally it helped in that I got an unbelievable experience in working on one of the biggest cases in international criminal law at the United Nations, working alongside some of the best lawyers in the world."
What subject did you study at the University of Surrey and what year did you graduate?
I studied Law with International Studies and graduated in 2015.
What were the best things about your course?
Best things about the course were the people I met and the year abroad!
Why did you decide to take an Erasmus study/work abroad exchange?
When I originally started looking at Universities I wanted to go somewhere which gave you the opportunity to study abroad. I then found Surrey which was unique in that it offered work placements abroad which appealed as not only would it give me the opportunity to spend a prolonged period of time abroad but it would also give me practical insight of my subject in another country.
Where did you go and what did you do on the Erasmus scheme?
I spent 5 months working at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, The Netherlands working on the defence team of Radovan Karadzic and then I spent a further semester on exchange at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
How did your Erasmus experience help you develop personally or professionally during your time as a Surrey student, and has this influenced your choice of career?
Professionally it helped in that I got an unbelievable experience in working on one of the biggest cases in international criminal law at the United Nations, working alongside some of the best lawyers in the world. This spurred me on and motivated me to really pursue a legal career.
Personally, I think you learn a lot by going outside your comfort zone. In Holland, for instance, I didn’t speak the language and so little things like going to the shops, or finding your way around town were challenging at first but it’s satisfying once you finally feel at ‘home’ in your Erasmus/exchange country.
Also, studying abroad in Australia was one of the best periods of my life, meeting so many different people from around the world and exploring Australia together was incredible. You genuinely do make friends for life and I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had a few Australians I lived with come over to England to visit!
What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?
I’m currently studying the Legal Practice Course at BPP in Manchester before beginning my training contract to qualify as a solicitor at TWM in Guildford in August 2017.
How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at Surrey?
Try and gain legal experience as early as possible. As law firms tend to recruit two years in advance, you need to be actively looking and applying for training contracts from the start of your final year.
What advice would you give to current students thinking about a study/work abroad placement?
Do it!! It may seem daunting moving to another country however it genuinely will be one of the best decisions you make during university.