Amina Tsatiashvili

LLB Law (European & International)Amina2

I was born and brought up in Almaty, in Kazakhstan, and most of my pre-university education took place there. Having chosen law as a career path, I decided to study in the UK due to the reputation of the British educational system and the status of English law as the law of choice in most international commercial transactions around the world. So, in 2010, I moved to the UK and did a University Foundation course in an international school in Oxford. Finally, I started my undergraduate law degree at the University of Sheffield in September 2011.

I strongly believe that in the globalised world no law can be purely domestic, and it is becoming increasingly more important for young legal professionals to have experience across different legal markets if they are going to maximise the number of job opportunities available to them. For this reason, I decided to study European and International law, as opposed to straight English law. The University of Sheffield was one of the very few universities that offered this degree subject and certainly the best one of them. Having visited the University of Sheffield for an open day, I realised it was the perfect option for me and I chose to study my degree subject here.

Probably the most enjoyable thing about studying European and International law at the University of Sheffield is the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university in the third year of the degree. The University’s links with a great number of leading overseas institutions offer students a unique opportunity to spend a year abroad at a destination of their choice. I am a great believer in taking on as many opportunities that come your way as possible, and my year abroad in Hong Kong benefited both my personal and academic development.

My course builds upon the foundations of legal knowledge, placing a great emphasis on the domestic and international context of the common law, and seeks to encourage students to develop knowledge of different legal systems and the ability to compare them, whilst seeking to place law in its social, economic and political context. It helps students to develop a critical understanding of the function and operation of law in society both nationally and internationally.

The learning on my course is based on a combination of lectures, seminars, coursework and self-study. Different modules utilise different combinations of these methods, depending on the desired outcomes and objectives of a particular module. So far, I have found this combination to be effective in developing a knowledge base and helping students apply it in a practical context.

Sheffield University’s outstanding performance in both teaching and research, as a member of the Russell Group of universities, is consistently confirmed by being highly ranked internationally. For example, the University is ranked 18th in the UK, 50th in Europe and 121st in the world according to the 2014-15 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and 69th in world according to the 2014 QS World University Rankings. Such consistently exceptional performance and recognition mean that the University of Sheffield graduates are sought after by graduate recruiters in all industries.

In my opinion, the best thing about the University of Sheffield is its student community. The University is ranked number one in the UK for student experience and is undoubtedly one of the best student towns in the country. The great number of clubs and societies, as well as events and sports activities, provides a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get involved and feel part of the community. The fact that the Students’ Union is run ‘by the students, for the students’ means that students have a say in all important matters and can decide what their Union should be like. The students’ direct involvement in these matters gives a feeling of a close community, where everyone feels a valuable part of it.

Having developed a strong interest in commercial and corporate law through my academic and work experience, I decided to pursue a career as a commercial solicitor. I have recently got an offer of a training contract from an international commercial law firm in London, and I am going to join the firm in 2016. In the meantime, I am planning to do a Legal Practice Course when I graduate from the University of Sheffield.

I think it is very important to get involved in as many events and activities as possible during your time at university. Doing a range of extra-curricular activities can help you to learn more about yourself, develop your self-confidence and make new friends. Moreover, it can help you to gain transferrable skills and experience that will make you stand out when applying for graduate jobs. Sheffield, with its numerous clubs and societies, offers a fantastic opportunity for everyone to get involved and do exciting things that can make your time at university unforgettable.

I also believe students should start thinking about what they want to do after they graduate early on. The University of Sheffield has a brilliant Careers’ Service, and I recommend that students should make full use of the services they provide. Students can attend various career talks and employer presentations, get one-on-one career advice, and get their CV’s or job applications checked by experienced advisers. Make sure you use these opportunities!