A little under two years ago, I sat staring at the application form for my year abroad. It stared back at me, offering a diverse array of universities and experiences which left me somewhat overwhelmed. With such a wide range of options it was difficult to know what continent to choose, let alone what university. I had always been drawn to the US and having met the students who studied at Saint Louis University in 2011-2012, I was strangely drawn to SLU and everything it seemed to offer. Now that I’m coming to the end of my time here, I know that I could not have made a better choice.
This year, SLU opened the doors of Scott Hall, its new, state-of-the-art law school at the heart of downtown St Louis. Located next door to the Civil Courts building, the US Court of Appeals and US Attorney’s Office (to name just a few), the new law school is ideally located to become an established part of the city’s legal community. The building itself is truly fantastic; with modern interior and the latest technology it boasts an air of professionalism and prestige. The top floor offers a beautiful pavilion overlooking the city where we happened to encounter judges of Missouri’s Court of Appeals one day. Having chatted to them briefly, we were invited to the judges’ chambers where we discussed and debated the state judicial system and then proceeded to watch their court docket in action. This is just one example that demonstrates the incredible benefits the new location has to offer.
The law school offers a broad array of subjects to satisfy every law student’s areas of interest. All subjects range from 1 to 3 points in credit value and this allows students to take numerous subjects over the two semesters. Personally, I have studied diverse legal areas ranging from education law to copyright law, health law to anti-trust law, elder law to international banking and finance law, amongst others. The options are endless and the professors are experts in their respective fields which is not only evident in the classroom but also in the form of extensive law review articles and national media attention. The interactive nature of the classroom gives students a deeper understanding of the material whilst also developing the pragmatic skills necessary for students to consider ever-changing legal developments. All students are treated as professionals and this facilitates a profound learning environment which allows students to reach their maximum potential.
A unique aspect that SLU has to offer that other universities cannot is its main campus. SLU is comprised of both a law school and an undergraduate university so students can reap the full rewards of the amenities and facilities SLU’s main campus has to offer such as restaurants, sports facilities, museums, libraries etc. Much like UCC, the university offers fantastic opportunities to meet new people through clubs and societies. This significantly helps with the transition abroad by allowing students to pursue their interests. Moreover, it provides the perfect platform for meeting new people and embracing all aspects of American life.
Outside of the university, the city has a lot to offer. St. Louis is often described as a “big-little city” with the best of both worlds; it’s large enough to keep you entertained but small enough for a passer-by to still say hello. Moving from the countryside in Kerry to a city of 320,000 people was pretty daunting but it truly was an easy transition given the welcoming mid-western hospitality. Restaurants, bars, theatres, sports stadiums, public parks – you name it, St. Louis has it. Not only is it a fantastic city in itself but it is also ideally located to allow travel to different states which has been a huge part of my time here.
In essence, I cannot really fit into one blog post the
benefits of my year abroad. I have broadened my horizons through traveling and experiencing different cultures, by immersing myself in everything the American experience has to offer. Moreover, the educational benefits have been incredible and they are unique to a programme like BCL International. Studying in a graduate law school in a different jurisdiction broadens a student’s mind to consider legal problems from a different approach, a different cultural view, a different system of law. Whilst every option offered in the BCL International boasts its own unique experience, I cannot imagine having a more rewarding or enjoyable experience than I have had here in St. Louis.
– Christopher Foley
BCL (International) 2011-2015