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Studying law in the UK – is that a good choice?

To be honest, I didn’t finish my law studies in Poland, and thank heavens that I actually didn’t even start them.

Although I got close to starting the course, I had long since thought that studying law in Poland was something of a risk, particularly taking into account the fact that no one in my family worked in this field, and competition is fierce and only growing fiercer from year to year.

In spite of my parents, whom I almost managed to persuade that I should study medicine, the idea of law kept returning like a boomerang. Going to secondary school, all I had in my head was the image of me working in a law office.

After the first year, I began to think that I would prefer to study medicine and transplant technology and, as if by magic, I managed to move from the humanities to the sciences and specialise in biology and chemistry. Unfortunately, all the tests and exams didn’t go well and this didn’t depend on how long I spent revising and getting ready to sit them. I discovered I could learn material off by heart  but I just couldn’t understand what I was memorising.

Slowly but surely, I came to the realisation that I had made a bad decision. I started thinking about studying law in the UK. And that is why, in November of my third year, I made a decision which everyone around me considered a crazy one, six months before I was due to sit the Matura, I decided to completely drop biology and chemistry and to concentrate on getting up to speed with the extended Polish curriculum.

After carefully analysing the requirements needed to study law in Poland, I was sure that getting a good grade in extended English and Polish, and basic German, would help me get into an average university in Poland. There was no point whatsoever in continuing to dream about going to Krakow and applying to the Jagiellonian University any more.

Working on the extended subjects turned out to be fascinating, to the point that I began to regret not having chosen these subjects for university almost as soon as the Matura examinations were over. In the meantime, the winter break intervened and gave me more time to think, and this is when I came across Elab on Facebook, while I was idly browsing through various pages.

I began to read more about studying abroad but, at this point, I could not bring the subject up with my parents or count on their support, because I knew they would be frightened at the thought of the cost, loans and the idea of me leaving Poland and going to another country.

Time passed and they gradually began to think about and entertain the idea of studying law in the UK. During the Christmas holidays I sent off my first applications and, on my birthday, 27 February, I got my first positive reply from what ended up being my first choice university — the University of Liverpool.

Choosing a back up university was not as easy, as I tossed up between DMU and Coventry, changing my mind from hour to hour. In the end, I decided on DMU and then the Matura exams were upon me and I set about finally applying to a number of Polish universities, which my mother had insisted on. I went along with her in order to have a fallback solution should nothing work out in the UK.

Luckily, everything turned out as I had hoped, and I received an offer from DMU. At the beginning of September it was time to frantically pack and get ready to leave for studying law in the UK. And so it was that in the middle of the month and weighed down by 20kg of baggage, terrified and worried but determined, I set off.

I have been living in Leicester for some six months now. The nostalgia and missing home passed quickly, because I was very busy and so much was going on all around me. I can now openly declare that I made the right choice of course and learning in a foreign language. This is not to say that absolutely every topic we cover interests me, but I doubt whether I could be any happier with the teaching and curriculum. We have recently been asked to choose the modules we want to study next year and this is what I have been waiting for — focusing on topics which fascinate me and make me happy.

Many people ask me if I am going to stay in the UK when I have finished studying. At this point, I really don’t have an answer. Until then, I will continue to treat my university time as the most wonderful adventure I have had in my life to date. One thing I am sure of is that it was worth taking the risk and moving abroad to study.

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