Postgraduate

Law LLM

Daniel

Student Profile

About me

Name: Daniel

Course: LLM Law

Study mode: Full time

Where I'm from: Colombia

Choosing postgraduate study

"The legal profession in Colombia is highly competitive. There are many lawyers specialising in all kinds of fields within the law. A postgraduate qualification is mandatory for any lawyer who wants to stand out in such a competitive environment. Even when I have a couple of years of experience, and I have studied a couple of postgraduate courses in Colombia, a Master’s degree in the UK is highly regarded by employers and possible clients in my home country. Having the possibility of doing a degree in such a respected institution as Newcastle University is a huge step forward in my career."

Choosing Newcastle

"The legal system in Colombia has had a tradition in Civil Law (similar to the one used in continental European countries) but is rapidly changing and becoming more and more similar to the Common Law system (like the one used in the UK). For that reason, I was determined to study in the United Kingdom. After much research about the different universities and programmes offered in the UK, the international university rankings, the student satisfaction surveys, the tuition fees of the universities and the cost of living in different cities, I found Newcastle University. It is a prestigious and highly ranked institution, located in the heart of a beautiful, diverse and vibrant city, with surprisingly affordable living costs. Moreover, it offers a flexible and comprehensive LLM programme which I fell in love with."

Studying at Newcastle

"What I have enjoyed the most of my course is how flexible and diverse it is. It is flexible because I was able not only to choose from a vast list of law-related modules, but I had the opportunity to take a couple of modules from any other School within the University that could be a complement to my knowledge, such as the modules offered by the Business School. That was the flexibility I was looking for, and the flexibility the Law LLM at Newcastle University has to offer.

"Moreover, the possibility of studying with people from all over the world with diverse backgrounds is an enriching experience. All of those different points of view create interesting and profound legal discussions and provide a different understanding of so many concepts, even the ones you already thought you knew. It is an experience that I would recommend to any of my friends.

"In my home country, I have studied my bachelor degree and two postgraduate courses. None of them was like my experience at Newcastle University. There are not only lectures, but there are also a lot of seminars, where the knowledge is not just given by a Professor but is instead constructed by the participants through discussions of different issues and readings. That kind of education is very different from the traditional lectures I was used to in Colombia. The seminars are enriching and interesting because they allow us to hear and engage with so many points of view and opinions about every issue, but they are also very challenging because they demand a lot of preparation, reading and researching before every class.

"There are also so many academic and non-academic opportunities on campus, something I have never experienced before. There is always something going on at Newcastle University, and you just wish to have more time to be in so many places at the same time."

Postgraduate Community

"If there is something that I have appreciated as an international student at Newcastle University it is the sense of belonging. This is the first time in almost 30 years that I have lived away from my country, in a language different than my own and in a completely different culture. However, the change was not shocking at all. There was always some friendly face around, who made me feel at home. The University staff are friendly, helpful and do their best to make everything easy. There are a lot of sports teams, clubs, and societies where you can belong, and there are many academic and non-academic spaces that can be shared with so many people with the same interests, that feeling as if you belong is quite easy."

Accommodation

"I am currently living in privately-owned student accommodation, about 20 minutes’ walk from the University campus, and very close to the historic city centre (quayside). I found it after a long search online, because I had to book it from Colombia even when I have never been in the UK before. It was a big risk I took by booking and paying my rent by just seeing pictures and information online, but fortunately, it turned out very well. My accommodation is quite cheap and I even have my own bathroom, and I only share a kitchen with three other students. It is also easy to walk to any point of the city from the accommodation, and it is close enough to walk to classes every day."

Living in Newcastle

"Living in Newcastle is an amazing experience. The city is very friendly, diverse and vibrant. The streets are beautiful, and I always enjoy a good walk around Grey Street, the castle or quayside. There are lots of pubs, bars and discos for a good night out, but there are also cafes, tea houses, restaurants, cinemas, museums, theatres and plenty of activities to do if you prefer something else. The city is compact and easy to walk everywhere, but it also has very good public transport if you need to move faster. The Geordies are very friendly people, and they have a very special way to make you feel welcome, but you will know people and make friends from every corner of the world."

Funding my studies

"I was fortunate enough to receive two scholarships. I received one Newcastle University Santander Scholarship from the University and Santander Universities, and one Sir Mark Waller Postgraduate Law Scholarship from the Law School. Those scholarships covered the bigger part of the tuition fees of the Law LLM programme. The rest of the tuition fees and the costs of living in Newcastle have been covered with my own savings, a product of my years of working.

"Before I started my course, I received plenty of information about the funding opportunities the University had. The webpage is clear and detailed and contains all of the information you need for a successful application. I also received several emails with reminders of the opportunities and the closing dates for the scholarship applications, as well as information of other sources of funding such as bursaries and loans. I also wrote a couple of queries through the web portal, and they were promptly answered by the University."

Career aspirations

"After I graduate, my goal is to become a law school professor and researcher in Colombia, combining my academic activity with my professional practice in legal advice and dispute resolution. I am convinced that the Law LLM programme at Newcastle University was the right choice to achieve that goal.

"The flexibility of the programme allowed me to design a curriculum focused on my main areas of interest, and complement my experience. The deep knowledge and understanding I am getting from different legal systems, the abilities in the English language I am perfecting, and the different research methods I am learning are tools that certainly will be helpful in my legal practice. Moreover, I am certain that a Master’s degree from a prestigious institution such as Newcastle University will boost my CV and my employment opportunities in the competitive legal field in Colombia."

Remembering Newcastle

"The highlight of my postgraduate experience at Newcastle University so far has been living and studying in such a diverse and international environment. The possibility of meeting someone new, from a completely different country every day is something that does not cease to amaze me. I had lived in my home city for my entire life, so having that much contact with people from every corner of the world is an exciting feeling that I must recommend to anyone in my former position."

Advice

"My main recommendation for anyone who is thinking about studying a postgraduate course at Newcastle University is to start their plans with plenty of time ahead. There are a lot of funding opportunities, but most of them have early deadlines and extensive requirements. Planning with enough time is important, not only to submit applications before the deadlines but also to prepare and present a very good application. It is the same when deciding where to live, or which modules to take in your programme. Having enough time is always an advantage, so my recommendation is to take it.2