My journey with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) started about 6 months out from my actual travels when I applied to be accepted into the subject ‘Cyberlaw’ as part of their intensive Summer School program. Knowing LSE was in the top 10 law schools worldwide, it was a nervous few weeks waiting for the confirmation email offering me a place on the course.
It did not take long for July to roll around and I was on my way to London. As I set off on my (long) flight, I felt a combination of nerves and excitement – how would I cope with an intensive law subject at one of the world’s most prestigious universities 17,000km from home?
On arrival in London, I was greeted with a typical summer day – cool, wet and cloudy 🙂 It did not take long to suss out the underground Tube network and I was on my way to meet with my friend and roommate (who was also undertaking a subject at LSE) at our Airbnb accommodation in the West London suburb of White City.
The day before classes started, we attended registration at the LSE campus, which is located in the heart of London at Holborn – right next door to the Royal Courts of Justice. It was only a 15 minute tube ride from our accommodation, and very easy to find. The location itself is quite law-focused, with many lawyers and law firms close by due to the proximity of the Courts.
The LSE campus is spread out over a few blocks and borders the beautiful Lincoln’s Inn Fields – a great little park to join locals in for lunch. My classroom was located in the New Academic Building, which was modern and well-equipped.
As I made my way into my first day of class, I saw about 50 other nervous, yet smiling faces. It wasn’t long before I was chatting with law students from around the world, including Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Canada and Ecuador (just to name a few). All were at a similar stage of their law degrees and all were just as nervous about undertaking a subject at LSE. In addition to everybody’s friendliness, I was particularly impressed with the ability of many of the students who were undertaking the course with English as their second language.
Our lecturer, Professor Andrew Murray, greeted the class with his cheerful Scottish accent, and it did not take long to see why he is regarded a world leader in the field of cyber law. He was engaging, knowledgeable and experienced in the subject area and presented the topics in a manner which was easy to understand and able to be applied to real-life scenarios.
The format for the Cyberlaw subject was Monday – Thursday, with a lecture each morning for 3 hours and a tutorial in the afternoon for 1.5 hours. The morning lecture was conducted with the entire Cyberlaw cohort (about 50 people), which was then broken into smaller groups for the tutorials – consisting of about 15 students. My tutor was Mark Lieser, a PhD candidate who was a wealth of knowledge and engaged the class in insightful discussions, activities and debates. Tutorials were also a great opportunity to get to know my classmates better and discuss the similarities/differences between the legal jurisdictions around the world.
Each day, groups completed a blog which was published on the LSE website – you can check it out here http://lsecyberlaw.blogspot.ca/2016_07_01_archive.html?view=flipcard.
Living in London was an amazing experience. I found that staying in an Airbnb accommodation gave me the opportunity and freedom to live like a local and truly experience what it is like to be a Londoner – even if only for a few weeks.
The one (and only) ‘heatwave’ of the summer (32 degrees) lasted only a few days and it was good to have some sunshine in between London’s grey skies.
The diverse cultures that populate London make it a great place for sampling amazing food from around the world. Their pub culture also allowed for some fun times getting to know your classmates after we had finished classes for the week.
London also has a great suburban scene and each area has its own feel. I really enjoyed Notting Hill, Soho and Shoreditch. London is also jam-packed with historical tourist sites such as Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the London Eye – all of which are amazing to see in real-life.
While time for social activities was somewhat limited with the intense workload, being so close to Europe was an amazing advantage. I was lucky enough to find time to get away to Edinburgh, Scotland for the weekend, which was a great experience. Other students found time to duck over to Europe to places such as France and Spain for the weekend – some even taking in the final stage of the Tour de France.
While the study was intense, and knocking out a 2000 word essay by the second week and a closed-book exam in the third week was challenging, it was achievable and rewarding. The subject content was interesting and well-taught, and has allowed me to bring back knowledge to Australia in an emerging area of law.
Overall, travelling to London and attending LSE was an extremely rewarding and worthwhile experience. I have no doubt that attending this course has placed me in a better position to tackle the tough legal job market next year and has given me an experience that I will remember for a lifetime.
A big thank you UTS:Build for their assistance in getting me to London.