Expert Advice: Studying Law as an International Student
Leaving home to continue your education in a foreign country can certainly be a daunting experience regardless of the field you intend to pursue. To help settle your nerves and provide you with further insight, this article will discuss the details of an international student’s path to reading law at university to give you a rough idea of what to expect.
International Students in the UK
As per the findings of the Higher Education Statistics Agency in 2020-2021, the UK is a popular destination for international students who are keen to pursue their professional qualifications; an estimated 605,130 of them are studying there currently. With this number exponentially growing as the years pass, the competition within all areas of work is increasing rapidly.
An undergraduate law degree is one of the most sought-after areas of study with over 29,000 applicants in 2019-20 as recorded by the Law Society. To further support this fact, an article by the Scottish Legal Network highlights statistics gathered by UCAS which was analysed by Lawtons Solicitors. These statistics indicate that the number of international students that apply to study law in the UK has “increased by 238 percent over the last decade”.
Diversity in the Workplace
Although the previously mentioned statistics may seem discouraging to, many corporations within the UK have introduced diversity and inclusivity initiatives with the hopes of improving heterogeneity within the workplace. This includes top commercial law firms within the UK and globally.
Bearing this in mind, the experiences held by an international student with exposure outside the UK would be of great value to firms, due to the unique perspective on life that you offer. On top of corporations aiming to recruit international students to contribute to their diversity initiatives, having a degree in law from a university in the UK allows you to develop your career anywhere in the world due to the prestige associated with having a UK law degree.
Additionally, the foundations of most commonwealth legal systems can be analysed and understood by an individual who received their legal education from an institution within the UK due the similarity in structure of England and Wales’s legal systems and the commonwealth.
Managing Costs and Expenses
Although pursuing a law degree in the UK may seem appealing, a factor to consider is an international student’s tuition fees. The tuition fees range between £12,000 and £20,000 per academic year. These fees can be privately funded through your own savings or via a sponsorship with your country’s government or other scholarships.
Apart from tuition fees, the cost of living in the UK in addition to global inflation makes it a struggle for students to live sustainably. Therefore, the Tier 4 Student Visa issued to international students allows them to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term time. If these hours are used effectively, students can work part-time in positions that include and are not limited to waiting tables, serving coffee and bartending. This would allow a student to make money for their personal savings and develop a range of transferrable skills including communication, teamwork and composure in high pressure situations. These skills will definitely be of benefit when applying for legal training contracts.
Reading Law at a UK University
The UK is also home to 4 of the Top 10 Universities worldwide according to the QS World University Rankings in 2022. 90 UK Universities have also made it to the list which highlights the prestigious advantage of studying at an institution within the UK.
Although you may decide not to pursue a legal career at the end of your degree, the LL.B allows you to develop a range of skills including attention to detail, communication, presentation and critical analysis.
This is done through the examination style applied by most UK universities. The most common exam questions in an undergraduate law degree are essays and problem questions which require a strong understanding and ability to apply both statutory and common law. In addition to this, these institutions aim to develop your mind to think like a lawyer and understand the contemporary legal issues within the world.
If you think that pursuing a legal career in the UK is for you, then have a look at the ‘Want to Study Law at University?’ article to further clarify your decision.
This article was written using the following sources:
By Sufian Amizi