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Handy Hints and Tips for Joint Honours or Law with Language Students

Written by Rob Menzies, 4th Year LLB, who spent 3rd year abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, studying in French.

I had an amazing time studying in Paris for a year and would not trade it for the world, but I would caution that studying abroad is not for everyone especially if you add in doing it in another language and with a joint degree.

I chose Paris because I absolutely loved the city after I first visited it in 2010, and I was really excited about the opportunity to live and study in one of the most famous cities in the world. My favourite memory from my year abroad is watching the sun set at the Seine with a glass of wine and embracing my inner Parisian.


What I gained from my study abroad experience is increased confidence in my language skills, ability to independently succeed and adapt to new places and challenges.


However, going abroad with a joint degree can be a bit challenging, as it requires quite a lot of legwork in order to coordinate not only between the departments but also in your subject choices at your chosen university.


Studying in a foreign language

While choice words used to describe my decision to study in French were ‘crazy’ and ‘masochistic’, and I echoed those sentiments when my first research paper was due, ultimately studying in French has improved my language skills more than simply living abroad ever could (this also might have something to do with Paris being a tourist hot spot).


Let’s be real, grading matters

I have struggled with figuring out how my grades are converted back, as some of my best grades cannot count towards my honours degree because they are needed to compete my 2nd year curriculum. Nonetheless if you are someone who is doing a joint degree you’re probably already used to juggling very different expectations and approaches to uni work so will adapt fairly quickly to new ways of doing it. Plus, a joint degree - while narrowing perhaps how many universities you can choose from - will allow you to focus on and find courses and schools that offer subjects which combine your subjects and hopefully interests.


Finding the courses for you (and your coordinator)

The odyssey of figuring out what you have to and/or can take while abroad requires some time alone with MyCampus, but all the information is there (emailing the responsible people helps too).


Pick a place you are excited about (and that fulfils academic requirements)

Being able to go for a jog along the Seine and wave at the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance, makes all the difference to living in ‘cosy’ living conditions - C’est Paris c’est chère (its Paris, its expensive) - dealing with sneaky landlords, French pedestrians and evil waiters is all part of living in the city of lights.


Travel, travel, travel (within reason and when possible)

While I was living in France, I travelled around the country, as well as doing weekends away in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. But I chose to spend most of my time exploring Paris itself, and I regret nothing. If anything I wish I had more time because, believe it or not, there are still a few sights and museums I want to see (did I mention Easyjet are offering a direct flight from March…).

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