"It was useful in many ways - I got to meet many different people from across Europe and beyond."
CourseLaw with International Relations
Study abroad locationMannheim University, Germany
What subject did you study at the University of Surrey and what year did you graduate?
Law and International Studies, 2009.
What were the best things about your course?
I really enjoyed the subjects and the placement year was really good - with the academic element being time at Mannheim University, in Germany and a work based placement element that was helpful in gaining relevant experience which assisted me in starting my career in law.
Why did you decide to take an Erasmus study/work abroad exchange?
This was part of the course which I knew about when I applied for it.
Where did you go and what did you do on the Erasmus scheme?
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?
It was useful in many ways - I got to meet many different people from across Europe (and beyond), was able to study some interesting legal and political subjects, and I was able to take up a German language course, which helped me improve my German. Having undertaken the Erasmus and being armed with the German language qualification, I was then able to take up a traineeship with the European Commission for 6 months in 2011. I believe that having this on my CV then helped me land a training contract which enabled me to qualify as a solicitor.
What do you do now and what do you find most enjoyable about your line of work?
I am an in-house solicitor at the UK office of a large multinational corporation based in South Africa. I enjoy working alongside colleagues from a wide-range of backgrounds and the many different legal challenges it presents.
How can students hoping to work in your profession make the most of their time at Surrey?
I think taking advantage of the placement year is a must. The University of Surrey has an excellent array of sandwich courses, which I believe helped me tremendously. I didn't have any connections in law, so the placement year was an excellent opportunity to develop these connections and accrue relevant experience.
What advice would you give to current students thinking about a study/work abroad placement? Do you have any top tips to offer?
I would recommend it thoroughly. I would strongly urge that they take up a language course whilst there which may well help in ways you might not expect. Take advantage of any trips that are on offer (I and some of my fellow law students were able to go on a trip to Switzerland with one of my Professors at Mannheim University; he was on a UN Human Rights Panel grilling Cost Rica on its human rights record). I would also recommend making the most of any international students organisations that are there - Mannheim had an excellent one and were very good at looking after us.