Doing a Master’s degree was the right step for me after the completion of an LLB in Tanzania. I thought of the University of Aberdeen because of its great reputation. It was the Times & Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year 2019 and a Top 30 UK University which really impressed me.
As of 2021, it is ranked 9th in the UK for Law (Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide), 81st in the World for Law (Times Higher Education Subject Rankings) and ranked in the Top 20 universities in the UK (Guardian University Guide).
As an international student, I found the Critical Legal Thinking and Scholarship course, taught during the induction week, very helpful as it exposed me to the UK system of learning and helped me to quickly adapt. The responsive feedback from course coordinators minimised my concerns about navigating the new learning format.
The university has a great student support system. I stayed in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic but the university showed concern for my wellbeing by sending a lot of emails offering options to help me maintain my physical and mental well-being while supporting me to complete my degree.
The most difficult part for me is learning to adjust to the weather. I was not used to the dark winter nights, but during the induction week, staff helped us prepare mentally for the weather change.
Having made it to summer, I now find Aberdeen weather very beautiful. Although not normal for me, it is something I’m sure I will miss when I go home.
From an academic perspective, I don’t have any complaints about studying at Aberdeen. It’s been a great experience overall.
I would advise others to demonstrate their motivation to study the course by talking about their extracurricular activities in their applications. Applicants can also show how they manage their studies while doing something positive for their communities through volunteering, and undertake work experience or attend workshops to improve their CVs and demonstrate good time management and a passion for the subject matter.
The structure of the course was good – the Professional Skills course in particular. I managed to network with great experts in my field which I wouldn’t have done without this particular element.
I enjoyed the challenging nature of the masters degree programme. I studied the LLM International Trade Law & Treaty Negotiation and enjoyed learning how to negotiate trade contracts. Tanzania, where I’m from, was recently declared a developing economy by the World Bank so knowledge gained from the course this is essential for the development of the country and the African continent.
Setting up a schedule wasn’t something I was used to but I figured that would be the best way to meet my deadlines. Planning the week ahead was essential to help me manage my time and to help balance academic activities without missing out on sightseeing and socialising. Overall, having a schedule is key.
Alongside two of my friends, who both study the LLM in International Commercial Law, I act as an editor for a legal blog called Legal Compass. An article I have written recently concerns the global transition to digital trade, focusing on whether cyber laws have been able to keep pace. This has been a great way of building up legal experience, especially during lockdown when opportunities are more limited.
I joined the Aberdeen University Students Association where I could attend meditation sessions to help my mental well being.
I was also able to join the 70/30 campaign which aims to raise awareness of the effects of adverse childhood experiences that could lead to future crime. As a law student, I found this initiative very interesting.
Find out more about the LLM at Aberdeen here.
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