Study Abroad | London School of Economics and Political Science | International Financial Law
Over the recent winter holidays in June-July 2018, I undertook a summer short course at the London School of Economics (LSE) in London. I had been planning to do a study abroad experience since the start of my LLB degree, knowing that this year would be my penultimate year and most probably the last opportunity to do so, I signed up for the program in January 2018.
My choice to do International Financial Law would be considered one of my boldest move throughout my degree, considering my lack of knowledge in Finance (I had no idea what derivatives was prior to this course) and absence of a Commerce Degree to complement my law degree. I picked it up solely to explore a different area in law and gain an international perspective of it, which I wouldn’t have gained in Deakin, along with the London experience in a world renowned institution with expert knowledge in the field. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had strong interest in the subject matter to begin with, however I underestimated the level of depth in the subject by the second day of the course when I discovered it was part of the LLM Program within LSE! The course consisted students from varied backgrounds such as practicing lawyers attending to polish their knowledge in Financial Law, LLM and LLB students from other universities across the UK and the globe and Deakin students, from all 4 campuses (including the Cloud).
Thankfully I wasn’t the only one in the same boat, despite the intensity of the course and structure, Professor Phillip Paech who was the head academic of the International Financial Law LLM Department in LSE provided great insight and basics to those of us who had no background knowledge in financial securities before delving into the legal aspects in risk mitigation. The lack of recorded lectures that we have grown so accustomed to in Deakin has encouraged me to re-embrace the benefits of sitting in class and absorbing knowledge in real-time.
LSE did not disappoint with their well-run Social Programme. They made sure that despite the intensity of the short programs, we would be able to still experience London. One of the highlights of the Social Programme was the River Thames Sunset Cruise, which was held on the Friday at the end of Week 1. The vibes, views, music and company definitely helped with setting the tone of the whole program, allowing you to make friends with people from across the globe and different courses.
I definitely made the most of the Social programme, where I went on day-trips to Bath and Oxford during the weekends. These day trips are some of the most popular ones which I pre-booked through the LSE website prior to even going to London.
Pre-booking was definitely essential for the popular programs, however other events such as attending West-End musicals can be decided later on while doing the program. I booked a ticket to watch the Lion King Musical the night before the show via LSE during a “treat-yo-self-moment”, that’s how last minute you can be. There are plenty of ticketing booths around Covent Garden near West-End where all the theatres are which sells cheap last-minute tickets as well.
Getting around London was very convenient, in fact, you can now say goodbye to burning extra 5 pounds on an Oyster Card because all the Oyster machines accept Paypass tap cards (or phones/smartwatches that have the same function). Having a decent travel card with good rates will definitely solve the problem.
I stayed at LSE Passfield Hall, which was a 20 minute walk from LSE. While I was a bit of a whinger with the distance in the first few days of classes, I grew to enjoy the walks to class and the scenery, landmarks and parks along the route to university did not disappoint. There are plenty more LSE affiliated accommodations around the area, with varying distances and locations, depending on your budget and pickiness for facilities provided.
A misconception of many students that a study abroad is equivalent to a holiday
Definitely do not underestimate the workload as you are essentially completing a trimester’s worth of workload in 3 weeks. Planning and organization will have to be your best-friend while on study-abroad even when it’s your daily enemy back in Melbourne. Nonetheless I was able to knockout some of London’s famous attractions (with student discounts you can’t get once you graduate).
Honestly, I am more than privileged to have been able to embark on this trip. It was definitely a course that was was challenging yet fulfilling with no short of thrilling adventures along the way as you make some friends with people in the course and in your residential hall.
This is an experience I would recommend over a thousand times to any university student, whether you are still a little JAFFY or a mature age student with 50 years of experience. A university experience is never complete without an overseas study abroad and I cannot stress enough how invaluable it is once you go out into the workforce and have to promote yourself to all the recruiters. Go for it, don’t say that you were not informed.