Law scholarship recipient: Neha Singh

We spoke to Harding International Legal scholarship recipient Neha Singh about her experiences during her LLM in International Law: Crime, Justice and Human Rights at Birmingham Law School 

a portrait of Law student Neha Singh"While researching universities to apply to for an LLM in the United Kingdom, I had come across this pathway that Birmingham Law School offers - International Law LLM: Crime, Justice and Human Rights. It checked off all my areas of interest in the legal field and therefore became my first choice for application. Additionally, the prestige of the University of Birmingham is widely known, therefore getting a chance to associate myself with the University was an added reason to choose Birmingham. Once things started falling into place, I also researched about the city of Birmingham and was mesmerised to see the charm of it.

I have countless great memories to share. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, the physical interaction with people and visits to the University were cut short months before the course ended. However, the time that I did spend on campus was exquisite. The challenging nature of the course became smooth to handle because of some amazing friends I met, some lovely conversations I had, and some great places I explored throughout the year. I can never forget the Meet and Greet day before the start of my course. All the students were seated together and there was an African drum in front of us that we all played rhythmically. Towards the end of the one-hour session, the analogy drawn was that similar to this musical session, the course is going to be something extremely new and challenging but with everyone’s support and togetherness, it is going to be easy and enjoyable. And one year later when I look back, that is exactly what it was like. 

Pursuing a Master's also led to an awakening inside me, strongly leading me towards my interest in academia. After graduation, I have been applying for various academic positions in my home country, India, and also been looking at various PhD opportunities that I plan to pursue shortly. I aspire to have completed my PhD, given continuous contributions to the best of my abilities with my research work and also to have been working as a professor for a prestigious university in the coming 10 years.

My love for research, writing and teaching led me to part-time work for two legal blogs covering my areas of interest. One of them is based in India and focuses on intellectual property law and the other is based in UK and focuses on commercial laws as well as human rights laws. I have been working as the Associate Editor for the Indian blog and as a contributor for the one based in the UK. I also started  part-time tutoring school students in Maths and English in the UK to hone my teaching skills and to realise my interest further. I have been looking and applying for teaching positions in universities in India. I was also working on a book chapter related to Media and Democracy in India that is to be published soon. I was sure of pursuing teaching as a career before I enrolled into the Master's programme but having completed it, this has only enhanced my faith and interest into the field of research and academia.

At Birmingham I attended career fairs organised by the University which were immensely resourceful and informative. However, since I had made up my mind to get into academia, I started looking for opportunities in the same area. There was a wonderful seminar organised by the Careers Network of the University on pursuing a PhD which was extremely helpful in making me think, analyse and realise how I could go about pursuing it, which otherwise felt like an extremely overwhelming process. Attending that seminar gave me great clarity and direction about a lot of things that are taken into consideration before making an important decision as that.

I would fall short of words to describe the helpfulness of the academics and support staff every step of the way. They are extremely knowledgeable people with amazing experience and the zeal to impart whatever they know. The staff are warm, welcoming and respectful and would answer the most complicated question to the smallest and silliest question with the same calm and smile.

It is a wonderful place where you will meet some really good people and have an amazing time. Just know that the course is going to demand a lot of hard work and if you are ready to put that in, it is going to be an experience of a lifetime for you."