Right from the start of my time in Texas it was clear that the US law school experience is quite different to undergraduate law in Ireland.
As law is a postgraduate course in the US, the students in my classes tended to be older than myself. The class environment can also be extremely competitive. I took modules focusing on Capital Punishment, Constitutional Law, International Law, and Employment Law and there was a huge emphasis on class discussions. Most students did not hesitate in voicing their opinions – sometimes criticising those of other class members. This was a challenging but, nevertheless, enjoyable environment in which to study.
Outside of class there was plenty to do as well, such as training with the local GAA club on Saturday mornings.
While playing hurling and football in the Texas heat took a bit of getting used to, this was a great way to meet Irish people based in Austin who were welcoming and more than happy to show me around the city. One of my favourite parts of the exchange experience was the opportunity to travel. Splitting the costs of a beaten up old truck with a friend, I tried to see as much of Texas as possible. Despite the fact that Texas is roughly the same size as France, I managed to see all the major cities, the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas, the Gulf Coast and much more.
While I arrived in Austin not really knowing what to expect, I would recommend the University of Texas to anyone considering a semester abroad – UT Law is a top US law school & Texas is a unique state with plenty to see and do.