LLB Law students gain international angle to EU Law
LSBU Law students are adding a truly global perspective to their studies thanks to a module that gives them the chance to study abroad and look at transnational crime
They are working with students from European universities to consider EU Law relating to transnational organised crime.
Different EU member states have different perspectives on the EU laws and policy in this area, partly because they all have different relationships with the EU and partly because of their own experience of organised crime and terrorism, which varies from country to country. This module helps students from each country understand the differences between EU nations, adding a global dimension to their education as well as enabling them to experience new teaching methods and environments.
The module, Citizenship and Combating Crime in the EU, is available to final year LLB (Hons) Law students and those studying our LLM EU Criminal and Migration Law module. It is offered at six universities in Europe – LSBU, INHOLLAND University (Holland), University of Pecs (Hungary), Cergy Pontoise (France), Osijeck University (Croatia) and the University of Ulster (Northern Ireland), with universities in Romania and Lithuania also interested in joining the collaboration in the near future.
At each university, the module is studied at 'home' first, with the students then studying together for a week at the host university. Previously, this week has been held at Cergy Pontoise near Paris, INHOLLAND University in Rotterdam, and the University of Pecs in Hungary (the most recent hosts, in 2013).
Whilst at the host university, LSBU students take intensive classes on the topics covered by the module and prepare presentations and written work in international groups, working closely with their European counterparts. They also benefit from guest lectures by experts, and classes covering presentation skills and intercultural communication. The course materials provide a fantastic opportunity to see EU law and policy from very different angles.
The students taking part in the programme all live together, in either student accommodation or a hotel near to the university. This further increases the cultural exchange element of the exercise, and encourages networking and the sharing of ideas.
In studying the module, LSBU graduates are able to equip themselves with international understanding and experience that truly sets them apart from the vast majority of UK Law graduates. Very few UK Law students undertake any form of international study, and Senior Lecturer Cherry James believes that LSBU graduates have a real competitive advantage as a result.
"Because so few UK students spend time abroad, their ability to fully participate in an increasingly international job market is compromised," she says. Employers are increasingly looking for intercultural awareness and an open-minded approach towards the rest of the world. Studying Citizenship in Combatting Crime in the EU gives students a useful opportunity to demonstrate that they have those skills, which are highly valued by employers – as well as being a very enjoyable experience in its own right.
One of the students who took part in 2013's exercise, Freddie Palmer, is similarly emphatic in his praise for the module. "Taking part was a fantastic experience," he says. "The coursework we did before we left gave us an interesting opportunity to look at areas of EU and Criminal Law we had already studied, but in a different context."
The week in Hungary built on that experience even further, according to Freddie. "The lecturers were from all over the EU, and very interesting. We also wrote a paper with students from the other universities," he recalls. "Working, researching and discussing our paper in a group of students from across the EU was a valuable experience, as the different perspectives we had on the same topic allowed us to explore the area of study and furthered our understanding of the EU as a whole."
Indeed, the trip demonstrated the benefits of international experience so well that Freddie has now been inspired to study in another European country for a year, adding to his future employability even further. Freddie freely admits that the unit was "one of the best units I have studied at LSBU" and with more universities interested in taking part, it looks set to go from strength to strength.