LLM International Commercial LawMaria Apostolidou, Greece

Tell us a bit about yourself...

I have graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece with my LLB and am expected to become a Greek qualified barrister in summer 2021. I have also participated in the Erasmus+ exchange programme in Brussels, where I gained my first experience in studying abroad. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Kavala, where I currently work.

What inspired you to further your studies?

The bar is set quite high for young law school graduates nowadays; the job market requires us to be as specialised and competitive as possible. A good postgraduate degree can ensure this advantage; at the same time, once I started getting in touch with subjects of commercial focus during my LLB, I realised their intricate, yet appealing nature. This attracted me and set the ‘sparkle of deeper knowledge’ for me.

Why did you choose to study for the LLM International Commercial Law and what would be your advice for people considering this course?

The diversity and richness of this programme initiated my interest in commencing my studies in this particular LLM.  The modules offered are up-to-date with the legal challenges of today and offer a specialised insight to students. The area of commercial law is multifaceted and flexible; the leadership has paid a lot of attention to constructing a programme that will enable the candidate to deepen their knowledge and sharpen their skills in comparative analysis through the assignments. I was particularly delighted to attend the modules of E-Commerce and Intellectual Property, because of the enormous skillset I acquired through them; my engagement of writing as a Senior Editor for Commercial law at Ousia Review was inspired by the challenges faced during these constructive lectures. Even though it is an internationally oriented programme, the students may need to examine relative legislation and cases through a Scottish/English law perspective. The University has made this extremely practical and feasible, however, through the Suprimo library; the number of recourses and databases we can access is beyond limits and our research has become more and more facilitated.

What attracted you to Strathclyde specifically?

I was partially influenced by my cousin, who is one of the barristers I work with and is also a Strathclyde alumnus. The quality of the education was praised to me, in combination with the very high ratings the University holds especially in Law in the UK. I have had a deep connection with Scotland ever since my formative years and an appreciation for its education and legal system; therefore, studying here was a very targeted and mature choice.

What was the highlight of your time at Strathclyde?

The delight after a successful oral presentation/group session is an experience that should not be overlooked. Sometimes as international students we might feel that we lack the language skills to properly address the questions posed; yet the collaboration and careful research pay off and the tutor’s approval and encouragement is the ultimate reward. And the most proper way to celebrate is a wee pint at the nearest pub with the classmates.

Have you come across any challenges during your studies, and how have you overcome them?

Because of the excellent network of academic acquaintances and the friends and classmates I met during my time in Glasgow, I never felt that being away from my home was a challenge for me. The COVID pandemic however, changed our reality in ways we had not predicted. The simple act of walking down the road to go to the lecture or meeting up at the library for studying/research was abruptly stopped and we had to adapt to new routines. Thankfully the University offers substantial mental support to the students, as well as guidance by the tutors and supervisors. The professors are only an email away and demonstrate a genuine interest to help, along with the administrative team. 

What are your ambitions for the future?

Besides sitting the Greek bar exams, I am currently working on my application for PhD in Strathclyde, which will develop me as young professional even further and allow me to contribute to the field of digital markets and EU law. The idea of qualifying as a solicitor in Scotland is a goal I am aspiring to accomplish; all can be achieved if we remain loyal and persistent to our goals, come what may.