Stephen O'Reilly, Third year Law Plus
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 in 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.
Daniel Lynch (Law Plus)
The chance to go on exchange to the law school at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin was a once in a lifetime opportunity. UT Law is one of the best public law schools in the United States and was a wonderful environment to study in.
In my opinion, my time at the UT has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my law degree so far. While the workload was challenging, it was a tremendously enjoyable experience and gave you an insight into both American student life and Texan culture. The vast range of subjects that one may study (Capital Punishment, Counterterrorism Law, etc.) has broadened my legal education in ways never achievable in Ireland.
Besides the Law School, UT is a sport fan’s dream with baseball, basketball, and American football having massive followings among UT students and Austinites alike. They also have numerous museums and libraries on campus including the LBJ Presidential Library and the Blanton Art Museum. Tours of the UT Tower (which offers a fabulous view of downtown Austin) and the DKR Texas Memorial Stadium (where the UT Texas Longhorns play American football in front of over 100,000 people) are not to be missed. Still within the city there is the beautiful Texas legislature and the bat colony under Congress Bridge. Within Texas itself, there is the JFK assassination site, NASA Space Center, Riverwalk and the Alamo all to experience.
I am entirely grateful for the opportunity to study at UT and would encourage anyone with interest to most definitely go there.
Sarah McCarthy (Law Plus)
I spent the spring semester of 2017 studying law at the UT at Austin, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Studying at Texas Law was a totally new experience and gave me the chance to study subjects I never would have been exposed to otherwise, such as Capital Punishment and International Arbitration. The people in Texas were all welcoming from the beginning and being an international student exposed me to a lot of other cultures than just that of the US. I fell in love with Austin as a city, it is filled with music and amazing southern food, and there is always something new to be tried. The weather was beautiful and there are countless places to travel to at the weekends or after exams; I chose to go Houston on the day the Superbowl was being held there, San Antonio to see an NBA basketball games, and explore New Orleans after exams had ended. I would recommend all law students thinking of studying abroad to consider a semester in UT for a completely different experience that I guarantee you will love!
Brigid Howard (Law Plus)
I was lucky enough to spend the spring semester of 2016/2017 at the UT in Austin. UT Austin is the one of the top universities in Texas (which is as big as mainland Europe!) and is both a fun and welcoming campus. Not only that but the University’s Law school is very prestigious and is ranked #14 in the United States. With that in mind, prestige does not come easy and although the classes were very challenging I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also find them extremely interesting. Classes were specific and diverse, taught by some of the top lecturers. Students are given the opportunity to study almost any subject of law they are interested in (subject to availability). I chose International Human Rights Litigation, Business Associations, National Security Law: Counterterrorism, and Capital Punishment. Austinites enjoy an enviable lifestyle as Austin is home to amazing restaurants and entertainment. Not to mention the University’s sporting events! There really is something for everyone in Austin and you will never have to travel far to find something to do. I could not recommend studying abroad in UT Austin enough.
For more information on Study Abroad or international opportunities in the School of Law more generally, please visit https://ulsites.ul.ie/law/node/17921.