Tell us a bit about your background please…
I am a postgraduate international student from Belgium. I obtained a Bachelor and a Masters of Law from the KULeuven University. Before coming to Scotland, I studied in Brussels for two years and then continued my studies in Leuven for three years during which I went on an Erasmus exchange to Budapest for six months.
What inspired you to further your studies (beyond undergraduate level)?
I started law school purely out of interest for law in general. But immediately after the first year, I was convinced that I wanted to have a professional career as either a lawyer or a jurist, so I never really considered not doing a Masters of Law. In Belgium, most students that want to specialize in a specific field first obtain a general Masters in Law and afterwards either decide to go work in their field of interest or follow an extra master. As I aspired to become an environmental lawyer and since my previous university only offered one course on environmental law, I decided to follow an extra master that focused solely on environmental law.
Why did you choose to study for the LLM Global Environmental Law & Governance?
In my search for the perfect environmental LLM, I came across a lot of programs that approach the issue from a very theoretic framework. However, since I already had obtained a Masters of Law, I wanted a course that would go beyond the traditional ways in which law is taught. I was looking for an LLM that would provide me with more than just an overview of the principles and provisions of environmental law but would also provide me with an insight on how environmental law develops and functions. The LLM in Global Environmental Law and Governance not only teaches you what the law is, but also challenges you to assess why the law is what it is and what other factors need to be taken into consideration in order to fully understand and engage with it.
What has been the highlight of your time at Strathclyde/highlight of the course so far?
The biggest highlight for me was the way in which the courses were conducted. I came from a university where I would just sit in a lecture room with 500 other students and where we would just sit and listen to what the professor has to say. During my courses at Strathclyde, the groups were a lot smaller which allowed for interaction between the students and the professor. It helps you to better understand the materials and engage with them in a different way. Of course, this also means you will have to prepare a lot more for your classes, but it really pays off in terms of how much you are getting from them.
Have you come across any challenges during your studies, and how have you overcome them?
At first, I was not used to the way of teaching. In my previous university, you were never really supposed to prepare for your lectures and you could get away with just sitting in class and absorbing the information that was given to you. At Strathclyde however, you need to tackle the materials by yourself before you come to class. But if you do this consistently, you can learn so much more as you can form your own opinion and then talk about it with your classmates and professors. You can get as much out of it as you put into it, and I believe that is a valuable lesson that will help me further in life as well.
What would be your advice for people considering taking this course?
If, like me, you are interested in getting to know the underlying tendencies and flows of the law rather than just being taught what the rules are, this course is for you. It challenges you to engage with the law in a completely different way than what you are taught in ‘a traditional law school’ and makes you understand the law on a deeper level.
What do you think of the support available (supervisors, tutors, professional services etc)?
At Strathclyde University, you have such a close connection with your professors. They are so approachable, open for questions and always ready to help you. There are a lot of facilities the university provides for its students, it is almost unbelievable. For every problem, you may encounter as a student, there is someone at Strathclyde ready to help.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to work for an international organization or an international law firm that engages with environmental regulations. There’s a big world out there and it may seem scary as a student/almost graduate to delve into that world, but the professors and PhD students at the LLM have a lot of interesting connections that can really help you find your way to land your dream job.