My name is Juliette and I am a French student studying at Stetson Law from Toulouse Capitole 1 University. I have been studying (and living) at Stetson College of Law for 6 weeks now and I am really having the time of my life.
For the purpose of this essay, I have listed the five main reasons that makes it so special to study law at Stetson University College of Law.
What is studying at Stetson Law like for an International Student?
As an international student, other Stetson Law students, university staff, and professors are very kind and understanding. People actually care about you and your success.
Professors encourage you to meet them during their office hours so you can explain your fears or simply ask for clarification. And, most importantly I believe, LLM students become family.
What is the Stetson Law Campus like?
There is an actual campus. (Like in the movies!) There are dorms, a café, a laundry, a barbecue, a kitchen, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts and even a gym. It is nothing like our French universities that are limited to lecture theatres.
Furthermore, the architecture of the Stetson Law’s campus makes it even more exotic. Indeed, Stetson University College of Law occupies the historic resort Hotel Rolyat established in the 1920s. The architecture is stunning.
Buildings and gardens are maintained with an extreme care. This is, I believe, what shocked me the most (in a good way, of course!) because it is very different from what French students are used to back home. Having such a work environment is a blast!!
How does Stetson Law differ from international schools?
The education system in the US is very different than the one in France. Stetson classes are more like “tutorials” than “lectures”. The professor does not preach during class. Instead the professor challenges the student to see the case from all angles.
Also, you will never find five hundred students in a lecture theatre. On the contrary, classes are made up of maximum fifty student, and often less. This favors participation, discussion and debate.
The LL.M. in International Law
For Stetson Law’s LLM in International Law, the curriculum is flexible so you can study what interests you. Each semester you choose your courses with the exception of some required classes such as International Law, US Legal Research and Writing and US Legal System.
Because the curriculum is flexible, my LL.M. peers could focus on a variety of subjects. Some studied international business law, one specialized in criminal law, and yet another on immigration and social justice. I concentrated on my specialty, family law, as well as improving my legal skills like negotiation., mediation and arbitration. You can study such an array of legal topics and that doesn’t even touch the possibility of the externships, which I am looking forward to next semester!
Courtrooms on campus
Finally, some classrooms at Stetson are in fact courtrooms, including a bench, a bar, a jury box, etc. Each classroom is equipped with screens for PowerPoints (which you would not find in a French university!) and cameras to tape your performance when participating in mock trials. By reviewing your performance, you can correct mistakes and build your confidence in the courtroom.
So far I love the people, the location and the classroom experience at Stetson. I think the different method of teaching and the practical hands on nature of education here in the US will strengthen my skills as a lawyer. I am confident that I am going to have a great year!