In the real world, you may find it a little off-putting if someone came up to you on the first day at law school and asked what you wanted to gain from the LLM – however don't be put off as this is absolutely normal if you have travelled abroad to study an LLM. It’s only natural for people to wonder what brought you here like them. It is also one of the best ice-breakers to quickly make new friends and share experiences.
Before you left your home country you were, no doubt, given lectures by your parents, not to mention domineering siblings, about people you should hang out with at university and how to befriend them. Well I won’t go down the route of telling you who you should talk to. I can only give you hints on how to make the most of your LLM study by meeting interesting people and building long-lasting connections.
So why not start making LLM buddies early on? You may find out all manner of interesting things, like:
Your roommate hailed from a city you never heard of and is an expert in international investment law;
You’re not the only one scared about the fact you’re faced with a 15,000 word dissertation at the end of the year;
There is at least one other person on your course who plays great chess!
Whatever it is you’re interested in, chances are some of your new LLM classmates will share your interests. You’ll be amazed about the things you’ll learn about LLM classmates as you go along, however once the heat picks up on your LLM classes and everyone gets busy with course work, you may not have much time to start making new friends. So brush aside any notions of solitude and make the best of meeting students from around the world!
Here are some reasons why you should break out of your igloo and warm up to new LLM colleagues.
1. CORRIDOR CONVERSATIONS
Instead of spending time finding out things for yourself in a new city, try talking to people as soon as you set foot on campus. You may end up meeting someone like-minded at the campus café or engaging in an hour-long conversation near residential corridors. They may share information of a cool gig, a cheap salon, or a place that served authentic cuisine. Whatever you’re interested in, something new is often likely to come out of these conversations.
2. TRAVEL PLANS
The two great things that you can get out of studying abroad is making new friends and exploring places. The latter will be much better realised if you befriend people from the area – or at the very least the country you are studying at. You can plan much better and do a lot more interesting stuff if you go sightseeing with new friends!
3. SIGN UP FOR LLM EVENTS
An innovative way to build a good network of friends is by attending events on or off-campus. You can sign-up for events beforehand and inform others who may interested.
4. JOINING SOCIETIES/STARTING A NEWSLETTER GROUP
Law society membership can be of great benefit if you planned to advance in the legal profession. This can also be a good chance to interact with new LLM students and find out about their areas of interests. Getting together on a periodical or newsletter writing about latest developments on your LLM course topic can be a great way to meet like-minded people and engage in stimulating conversations!
5. PARTY/SPORTS SOCIALS
Whether you are a party animal or not, LLM social events are so much fun that they bring everyone out of their residential accommodations on a Friday night. Don’t miss out the themed events organised by your local student union or sports matches between rival colleges. These events are sure to boost everyone’s spirits especially in between course assessments.
GETTING BY WITH A LITTLE HELP… FROM YOUR FRIENDS
I am glad you remembered the Beatles song when you read the title. They seem to have meant every word they sang. Hopefully you don’t need any more reasons to start getting acquainted with new people on your course. After all, you’d rather share your day-to-day activities with people on your LLM course than with friends through Facebook who live miles away and may not be able to lend support where you are – and have no idea what it’s like to be an LLM student.
Remember, your LLM colleagues are just like you – they are new to the place, new to LLM modules, away from home and clearly new to this impending friendship. Either it’ll be you or them who makes the first move, and when legal minds collide there’s no turning back!