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Reema, who studies Law with French law, standing in the University of Birmingham's green campus

Why I decided to study Law at the University of Birmingham

Birmingham is one of the few universities to combine English Law and French Law, whilst also allowing me to learn the language. Having studied French since Year 7, I knew that I somehow wanted to continue my passion for the language by including it into my degree. So this programme was perfect for me as the French side is split into French Law and French Language!

My favourite thing...

My favourite thing about the course is the broad scope of subject areas that I get to study Each semester I am exposed to different areas of the law, for example from Criminal Law to Land Law, and the French side means that I also look at an entirely different legal system, so it never gets boring! This means I have more of an insight as to what area of law I might go into one day. It really allows me to discover what I do like and what I don't!

Additionally, I have a year abroad that I get to look forward to in my third year! Birmingham really prepares us well for this and provides so much advice on making the most of it. I will be spending my third year in Strasbourg in France, and I cannot wait!

What I found difficult...

When I first started studying at the University I struggled to get used to having all French Law lectures and seminars entirely in French, as I am not a native speaker and I have only learnt French in school. It was definitely a shock but my lecturer was very understanding, and often went over concepts in English as well as French.

I overcame this with a lot of perseverance, and I had to accept that it would take time before I was completely used to this way of teaching. In the first semester, I would  go over lectures multiple times but this got easier as I got used to the language more, and I eventually got to a point where I could follow along in the lecture with ease! The weekly language classes helped immensely.

My favourite Law module...

My favourite module so far has been Tort Law. Tort Law focuses on acts or omissions that causes injury to a party for which courts can impose liability. It has made me realise this is a field that I would definitely want to research further, as it is a way to influence the functioning of powerful businesses and institutions and is so important in everyday life.

We studied the torts of negligence, private nuisance, occupiers’ liability and personal torts such as false imprisonment. It was a fascinating module and interesting to see how policy reasons such as defensive practice (where the threat of liability can cause individuals to begin acting in an excessively cautious manner and affect the performance of their tasks) can influence the reasoning and outcome of a judge’s decision.

Most memorable moment so far...

The end of year Law Social was a great way for everyone to come together and celebrate finishing second year of university with food, music, and a quiz!

My top tips for new students

  • Remember that it is okay to find the French Law module a bit challenging at first – it is entirely normal.
  • Remember that you are not only learning the law of an entirely different country, but you also have to understand the language and the legal terms. This will take time but having patience with yourself is key, and consistently persevering so it gets easier!
  • The more that you seek support, the more it will benefit you! There is always support out there, from your personal tutor to office hours you’re your module leader.
  • Make the most out of your year abroad as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and your chance to integrate yourself into a whole different culture!