What's It Really Like To Study An LLM?

Emily Littlehales was one of our Global LLM Bursary winners 2016. Now she is halfway through her LLM in International Law & International Relations at the University of Bristol we decided to catch up with her and find out how her studies are going.

“My first semester as an LLM student was as inspiring as it was overwhelming. It felt like I was suddenly immersed in an environment that I hadn’t known existed but somehow knew I wanted to be a part of. Having not studied law before, my first few months comprised of constant catch-up and a lot of question asking. I couldn’t believe how helpful my tutors were – so many staff members were willing to go out of their way for my learning, and I felt really looked after really quickly. I joined law teams and societies, and devoted all my days to the law library – which was an easy way to meet friends, too!

I’m now halfway through my LLM program at the University of Bristol and I am enjoying every single minute of it. My advice to new students is twofold:

  1. Commit to your course: it’s one brilliant year out of your life that you won’t be able to do again. Whether you’re panicking on the inside or not, make sure you hit the ground running with positivity and confidence. Meet students and staff, study hard, and make time for teamwork. It’s not a competition, you can all achieve distinctions together, and the energy you put in will show in your grades and reduce your stress levels.
  2. Go above and beyond: chase the opportunities that come your way through the university. They might sound daunting to begin with, but you’ll soon find a rhythm that enables you to manage your workload. Not only do extra activities and work look good on a CV or in an interview, but the insight you get into real-world work is invaluable. My highlights of my first semester are times that I got to spend time with professionals in the Human Rights sphere.

I’m only a few weeks into my second semester, it is incredibly clear to see and feel just how much I have grown already. The first few months were undoubtedly a whirlwind, but one filled with more progression and learning than I’d even thought possible. I look forward to each day and every day that I get to learn what I am so interested in, and I use every moment I can to develop into the person and to have the career that I hope to do. Studying an LLM has already put me in a position that has the capacity to propel me into my dream career. From the staff and students that I get the privilege of learning from, to the seminars that have taught me so much already, I cannot recommend doing an LLM enough and excitedly anticipate all the places it might lead.”

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