During the spring term of 2014, I have had the opportunity to study abroad at the University College Cork (UCC), away from my home school, the University of Montana School of Law (UMSL), located in Missoula, Montana.
One may wonder how someone would come all the way from Missoula to Cork—who doesn’t even have any Irish heritage (that I know of)—and there are a number of reasons for my decision. My decision was influenced by the established partnership between UCC and UMSL, which allowed me to know a few UCC students who had studied at UMSL in past years, a deep cultural connection between Montana and Ireland, due to the number of Irish immigrants who helped shape Montana’s early beginnings as a state, the offering of law courses that focus on the emerging area of law and the Internet, which were not offered at UMSL, and lastly, because I have always wanted to study abroad.
Now as the term is over and I am about to return to Montana, I can honestly say that my decision to study law at UCC has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and the experience has given a feeling of completeness to my academic career. While at UCC I was very impressed by the deep-breadth of knowledge the professors had in the various legal areas, as well as, impressed by the generally small class sizes and approaches that facilitated class discussions. Another bright spot of my time at UCC was the UCC International Student Society, which organized fantastic mixer events and trips for students, facilitating opportunities to make friends and network with other international students.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying on the beautiful UCC campus, I was equally impressed with the hospitality and authenticity of the people of Cork. The wide assortment of good restaurants and pubs seemed endless and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of exceptional local musical talent in Cork, which seemed to exist everywhere—from the street on a walk to class, to numerous local pubs in the evenings. The combination of classes at UCC, as well as, the fun local Cork atmosphere, all made for a memorable and enlightening experience.
I look forward to maintaining the relationships I have built this term with both UCC professors and fellow students in the future, as in this era of globalization, mutual collaboration on both legal and policy issues is of paramount importance. I hope that the special relationship between UCC and UMSL will continued to grow in the future and that more students at both universities will pursue this exceptional and mutually beneficial opportunity!
Joel Krautter, UMSL