BY MERIKA YONG PING
Your first weeks in the UK!
So you have decided to study Law in the UK, a country known for its exceptional education! This is an exciting time for you, youll be getting your student visa, your plane tickets, and starting to pack. Of course, youre also probably feeling the nerves kick in. Not only will you be travelling to a new country, youll be in a new education system. But not to worry, Canada Law From Abroad is still here to help! Here are some ideas of what to expect when you arrive in the UK.
Most universities offer an airport pick-up service for international students. This is a great option, as you will not have to worry about travelling to the school with all your luggage! Its also a great way to meet other new international students. If you are living on campus, you will have a welcome crew to help you move in, these are students who can give you details about your accommodation and the school that you wont find online.
There are also Welcome Events, International Student Events/Orientation, and Freshers Week. Try to go to all of the events that you can! This is how you will meet people, including you classmates, and get more comfortable with where you are. Make sure to join your local Canadian Student Law Society. Does your university not have one? Maybe you should think about starting one! This would show great initiative, and there are bound to be other Canadians looking for a law society to join.
Also remember to collect your Biometric Resident Permit (BRP) from your university or local post office within 10 days of arriving in the UK.
Use your first week of classes to organize your calendar, get your syllabus, and know your due dates! You should know all of the dates for your exams and coursework deadlines. Do not book tickets home for holidays until you know the exact dates for everything, in order to avoid any flight cancellations later on. Ask your professor if you need to know early. Also be sure to get to know your classmates. With organized group projects, debates, and mooting, you will want to know who you are working with.
Your classes in the UK will be more professionally focused, and in your first year you will mostly be taking core law modules. Classes in the UK are a little different than in Canada. In the UK, you might have one or two big lectures a week, but mostly you will have seminars or tutorials with small group discussions. The majority of study is self-lead, so be self-motivated! To give you an idea about UK law class hours, here is an example from a Contract Law course at Exeter Law School: hours with scheduled teaching and learning activities = 55, hours with guided independent study = 245.
In the UK they use a different grading scale. Although there is no exact conversion, here is a table to give you an idea of what your grades are equal to, but keep in mind that all the schools are different both in the UK and in Canada.
|UK Degrees||UK Percentage
|Canadian Percentage Grades||Letter Grades CAN/UK|
|Upper Second (2:1)||
|Lower Second (2:2)||
|D- / E
F- / G
Make sure you look up what else your university offers! Sometimes they have free language classes you can take, they might offer study abroad (if youre not doing a 2-year LLB), or have places for students to work at a Law Clinic or Pro Bono Clinic. Some universities also offer guaranteed places in LLM programmes once youve finished your LLB in good standing. These are all things that you might be interested in. Also, Quiz Nights at your local pubs are a great way to get to know where you are living and the people who you are living with!
Remember that you are in the UK. While you may be going to law school, you dont want to burn out by studying for your whole time overseas. Make sure to take holidays when you can. Travel around the UK, go explore Europe, and experience new things! These will all help you grow in your personal life which in turn will help you grow in your professional life as well.