Exchange Testimonials from JD Students

Thailand Beach McKamey
Photo Credit: Mark McKamey - Ko Phi Phi Thailand

Hong Kong University

Halawi HKU collage

Ibrahim Halawi ('16): Exploring Hong Kong and surrounding areas.  Bottom left photo includes Ibrahim (UVic JD), Jenny Lin (UVic JD), Eirene, & Nojan Kamoosi (UVic JD).

“Going on exchange was quite simply one of the best experiences of my life. I had never visited Southeast Asia, let alone Hong Kong so the exchange program offered me a unique opportunity to travel this part of world and get to know cultures I was unfamiliar with. During the 4 months I was in Hong Kong I travelled to over 8 countries, 15 cities and made a countless number of friends. The program also gave me the privileged opportunity to attend one of the best universities in the world -Hong Kong University. At HKU we were offered an array of courses that we otherwise would not have been able to take at UVIC; this included courses like International Arbitration Law, which was taught by a world-renowned professor and a person who is a leading expert in this field. Due to HKU’s standing I quickly found out that I was far from the only exchange student in the program. Over 60 exchange students from all over the world happened to also be in the law program, many of them fellow Canadian law students. Because of this I not only made friends that will last a lifetime but I also was able to become better connected to Canada’s law program as a whole. Going on exchange is something I will remember for the rest of my life and it is something I highly recommend every law student to do if given the chance.”  Ibrahim Halawi – JD Student (’16)

Kamoosi collage

Nojan Kamoosi ('16): Stanley Bay, Big Buddha and view from the Peak

Hong Kong skyline

Nojan Kamoosi ('16): View of Hong Kong skyline

"My exchange semester in Hong Kong provided me with arguably the best four months of my life. This experience allowed me to see a whole new side of the world, make friends with people from all over the world and put myself outside of my comfort zone in the best way possible. Hong Kong is the perfect gateway to the east for Canadian students because it combines many of the comforts of western countries with a unique rich culture that can only be seen in Asia. Travelers may be surprised to see an ultra-modern city with a largely English speaking population. Furthermore, Hong Kong is the perfect travel hub for the adventurer in you. It is a short flight away from Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan.

The Hong Kong exchange experience also excels from an educational standpoint. HKU provides students with a world renowned legal education facilitated through great professors who are often top practitioners in their field.

If you’re going on exchange, the destination should be a no brainer…Go to HONG KONG!" Nojan Kamoosi - JD Student ('16)

Paulson & Eshleman photo

Taylor Paulson & Jennifer Eshleman in front of the ruins of St. Paul's Cathedral in Macau. A view of Hong Kong from The Peak.

Doi National Park and Nan Lian Gardens

Nan Lian Gardens in Hong Kong. Jennifer Eshleman at the Doi Inthanon National Park - known as the roof of Thailand.

"Going on exchange during my law degree provided many opportunities that would otherwise be impractical or impossible at any other point in my life. Exchange provided an opportunity to study at a university with classes and a culture unique in comparison to the University of Victoria. I was also able to take weekend excursions to exotic locations while maintaining a healthy school-life balance. Finally, I was able to meet and befriend many people from all corners of the Earth whom I would not have met without going on exchange.

Hong Kong is a beautiful, vibrant city with a unique international culture. Although I only scratched the surface of the culture, I was immersed in while on exchange, I believe I have a better understanding of the culture and I am a better-rounded person because of this."  Taylor Paulson - JD Student ('15)

University of Limerick, Ireland

Schryver Limerick F16

Mike Schryver ('16) visiting a Neolithic era stone circle near Loch Gur, County Limerick

"My exchange semester at the University of Limerick was a fantastic cultural and academic experience. The courses I took were interesting and enlightening on subjects of which I had little prior knowledge. My professors were engaging and helpful and my classmates were intelligent and welcoming.

Limerick is a lovely up and coming city with a storied history, and it is a great, centrally located base camp for setting out on trips to other parts of Ireland or mainland Europe for a weekend when there is some down time. "  Mike Schryver - JD Student ('16)

Limerick Kirk, Madeline

Madeline Kirk ('15) visiting Blarney Castle.

“… I couldn’t recommend the experience highly enough…”

“I spent the spring semester of 2015 on exchange at the University of Limerick (from my home university, University of Victoria, British Columbia), and I had an amazing time. The campus was beautiful, the people were welcoming, and there were a lot of really active clubs and societies, which helped me get the most out of my much-too-short stay.  The Outdoor Pursuits Club (OPC) organises great hiking trips almost every weekend, which are an easy way to see some of the amazing countryside, as well as a good way to get to know people.  The OPC weekend trip to Glendalough was probably the highlight of my trip. The International society is also very active, organising nights out as well as day trips to some of the must-visit sights, like the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher. The guides on those trips were always well informed, and there was usually time built in to do a little exploring on your own. 

My modules were engaging, and it was really interesting to see how different the approach to the study of law is in Ireland compared to Canada. Overall I had a very positive experience; I made some great friends and got to see a fair bit of a truly stunning country. I couldn’t recommend the experience highly enough to anyone who is considering it.” Madeline Kirk - JD Student ('15)

National University of Singapore

Smith NUS

Shannon Smith ('17) visiting Singapore's Gardens of the Bay, Mount Batur (Bali, Indonesia) and Melacca (Malasia)

"The NUS Faculty of Law was an extremely welcoming community and provided a fantastic exchange. The local NUS students were very friendly and had activities organized for the exchange students to explore different parts of the city and meet fellow exchangers/locals. There were many other exchange students there during my semester and it was easy to connect with them for travelling or sightseeing. There were a lot of elective courses available to choose from including many in the public and private international law fields. I found all of my professors and courses to be quite engaging with a similar workload to UVic.

Singapore itself is an easy city to live in and to get around. There are some phenomenal museums and galleries, a lot of shopping, and a few nice hikes/other sightseeing areas. It’s quite a multicultural city with four official languages. English is widely spoken with it being the official language for the government and business. It’s also a wonderful travel hub for the rest of South East Asia with many budget airlines travelling around the region. It was easy and cheap to travel during days off of school to other countries around there." Shannon Smith - JD Student ('17)

Thailand photos

Mark McKamey ('16): Mountain view on Ko Phi Phi, Thailand; Obtaining diving ticket on Ko Tao, Thailand; Repelling down waterfalls in Dalat, Vietnam; Chinese New Year in Bangkok, Thailand

"I cannot speak highly enough of my exchange experience in Singapore. It was the best decision I made in law school. While in Singapore I hung out with exchange students from all over the world and made some great friends. It was fascinating to chat with such a diverse group, to hear about their homes and to contrast their experience and perspectives with others.

While still in classes I was able to visit Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and to fully explore the beautiful island-state of Singapore. After classes ended my girlfriend flew over and we travelled for two and a half months. We went to Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia. 

Some of my favorite experiences and memories came from travelling on exchange. I lounged on stunning and secluded tropical beaches. I dove and snorkeled in world renowned coral reefs. I swam with whale sharks, turtles and manta rays. I repelled down waterfalls and kayaked through caves. I took in a sunrise from the peak of an active volcano and motorcycled through breathtaking mountain passes. I hiked through rice terraces and tiptoed around wild komodo dragons. I ziplined across jungle valleys with gibbon monkeys and slept in the world's highest tree fort. I savoured many delicious exotic foods. I shared drinks and conversation with new friends from across the globe.

I had a great experience at the National University of Singapore. The faculty were good (no language barriers) and the students were friendly and helpful. The campus is nice and the residence village where I stayed (UTown) was stunning and a great outdoor study by Starbucks. I especially liked the food court there, which had an ridiculously awesome variety of Asian cuisines.

Don't miss it. Go on exchange." - JD Student Mark McKamey ('16)

Student exchange Singapore

Victoria Moore ('15) riding in an auto-rickshaw in Siem Reap, Cambodia while on an exchange term in Singapore.

"During my exchange term, I learned about international and transnational law in an incredibly diverse classroom setting. I climbed mountains and volcanoes. I explored ancient temples of the Pagan dynasty by bike. I hiked through rice paddies in Northern Vietnam. I met people entering the legal profession in countries from most of the continents in the world. I watched the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team win a gold medal from a pub in Laos filled with Canadians. I celebrated Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur, became a regular at a food stall in Little India, and smiled through daily language barriers. I learned the etiquette of eating at “hawker centres” (Singapore’s famous outdoor food markets, where a tissue on the table means the spot is reserved). I tried the infamous, potent durian, which is so widely enjoyed in South East Asia (yet banned from most public buildings and transportation). I met people who have genuinely changed my life. During my exchange term, I reaffirmed for myself why I am in the legal profession." - JD Student Victoria Moore ('15).

Sydney University, Australia

Hindle, Scott Sydney exchange Spring 2016

Scott Hindle ('16): University of Sydney, Australia and playing with monkeys in Ubud, Indonesia

"I had been on exchange to Hong Kong in my undergrad so when I started at law school I couldn’t wait to get out for another adventure.

Culturally and from a legal perspective, Australia is quite similar to Canada but with some interesting local quirks. USyd and especially the law school are massive compared to UVic. It’s a top world ranked law school so a great chance to challenge yourself intellectually and be surrounded by some top legal minds.

But really, Australia is best known for koalas, kangaroos and cowabunga - and I met all 3! With the semesters in Australia a bit offset from UVic you get tons of time to travel and explore the faraway land, beaches, and sun - all with the added benefit of opposite seasons from Canada. From meeting the local marsupials, swimming with sea turtles or simply lying on the beach, Australia is a great place to be. Sydney is a beautiful city with easy travel to everywhere you want to go – Indonesia, New Zealand, Fiji, and across Australia proper. If you have time and $$, take the long way there or back hopping through SE Asia or Hawaii for a great Australasian adventure!" - JD Student Scott Hindle ('16)

Utrecht University, Netherlands

Student exchange Utrecht

Lauryn Kerr ('15) at a FC Barcelona game in Spain, while on exchange at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

"The decision to go on exchange to the University of Utrecht was the best decision I have ever made! The university culture, the city of Utrecht, the country of the Netherlands, and all of the fantastic people I met from around the world made it an experience I will never forget. Not to mention the university is ranked 57th in the world, academically! (Shanghai Ranking, 2014). I was able to study some interesting courses that aren’t offered at UVic, and learn about international law against the backdrop of the home of the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice in the nearby city of The Hague. In my free time, I was also fortunate enough to visit a number of other countries including Ireland, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. If you are thinking about going on exchange to Utrecht, I would highly recommend it!" - JD Student Lauryn Kerr ('15).

Vrije University, Netherlands

Student exchange Amsterdam

Emily Tallon ('15) exploring the streets of Amsterdam.

"I spent four months in my second year of law school at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Going on exchange was undoubtedly the highlight of law school. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the world while broadening my understanding of other legal systems. I was able to travel around Europe, meet friends from all over the world, and foster an interest in international law. It was valuable to learn how the law operates in different countries and compare it to what I’ve learned about the Canadian legal system. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend exchange to anyone. It was an invaluable experience of personal growth, learning, and adventure. Vrije was a very welcoming and friendly university, with tons of events and opportunities to meet people from around the globe. Amsterdam is a vibrant and cool city. Everyone bikes wherever they are going, and there are endless events, concerts, museums, and streets to explore. After living in Amsterdam, I can say it is one of my very favourite cities in the world." - JD Student Emily Tallon ('15).

Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

R Colwell hiking in New Zealand

Hiking in New Zealand. Photo by JD student Renata Colwell ('16)

“My exchange at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) was a fantastic experience. I had the opportunity to study in a historic building in the heart of New Zealand’s capital, learn from excellent professors, hear from Kiwi judges and policy-makers, and add comparative perspective to my JD by digging deeply into Māori law and human rights law. I also had a chance to attend a hearing at the Waitangi Tribunal, which hears Māori claims regarding past and present Crown conduct and provides non-binding recommendations. Wellington is a vibrant, hilly, coastal city with a thriving café culture, excellent free museums, and truly epic weather – sometimes the rain comes down sideways, but it grows on you! I shared a university-owned apartment with two international postgraduate students, and got to know some of the locals by joining a community choir. I also had plenty of opportunities to explore the stunning New Zealand countryside, both in the Wellington region and further afield on the North and South Islands. Some of the highlights were seeing rare native birds flying free at Zealandia Ecosanctuary near Wellington, cycling the Hawke’s Bay coastline, and “tramping” (hiking) in the Southern Alps. I highly recommend VUW to prospective exchange students.” Renata Colwell – JD Student (’16)

Student exchange Wellington

Rafting in New Zealand. Photo by JD student Devin MacDonald ('14)

"Victoria University of Wellington is an amazing place to do an exchange. VUW is a great school with outstanding lecturers. The campus is beautiful and the law school is located next to the political heart of the country. Wellington is a vibrant little city with huge personality. The city is small enough that you never need to take a car or a bus but large enough that you never run out of different things to do. I chose to go on exchange at the Victoria University of Wellington because I wanted to experience a new part of the world. Being situated in Wellington allowed me to explore New Zealand and go on journeys in some of the most scenic places on earth. From the geysers and hot springs in the north to the glaciers and fjords in the south, New Zealand is an ideal place for education and adventure." - JD Student Devin MacDonald ('14).

University of Victoria - Incoming Exchange Students

Luke Woulfe view from Mt Doug Spring 2017

Luke Woulfe ('17) on exchange at UVic: view of Victoria from Mt. Doug

“My exchange to the University of Victoria offered me the chance to experience graduate level North American law school from the perspective of an undergraduate European law student. I can safely say that the experience has allowed me to push my limits and broaden my educational horizons further than I could ever have imagined through truly unique courses such as law and religion, the law and rights of the Indigenous peoples of Canada and Canadian Immigration and Citizenship law. The university offers some outstanding extra-curricular activities such as rock climbing, astrophotography and rocketry while being within range of beautiful downtown Victoria, the bustling city of Vancouver and several ski resorts! I reaped the benefit of having studied at an internationally renowned law school with confidence and skills that will no doubt be invaluable to be me in my future legal career.” Luke Woulfe on UVic Law Exchange from Limerick, Ireland

van Neirop, Celia on exchange at UVic

Celia van Nierop ('16) on exchange at UVic: Vikes field hockey team player, local scenery & trip on the ferry

"I am Cilia van Nierop from Utrecht, Netherlands.  I decided to apply for an Exchange at UVic because the Faculty of Law had a high standard & they had a competitive Field Hockey team. I lived in Cluster housing on campus & definitely recommend for exchange students to try to stay on campus. Everything is within walking distance & it’s very easy to take a bus downtown. At the beginning of September school started. There was a comprehensive introduction at the Faculty of Law, which was really helpful. If you have questions regarding any matter just email the Faculty of Law and they will definitely help you, don’t hesitate about that! I took four courses & would say that is a perfect amount for exchange students. You will have enough time besides studying to explore the city and do other things.

I played on the Vikes Women’s Field Hockey team. This made my stay even better than I had hoped. With playing for the Vikes, I immediately met 16 Canadian students & really learned how Canadian’s students live their lives. For me, that’s what an exchange is all about.  I would definitely recommend joining some sort of sport group or outside school activity. The Faculty of Law is also doing a good job in mixing up the exchange students with Canadian students. Everybody is very open & the well known ‘lounge’ is a good place to meet people & chill between classes. Furthermore, the Faculty is not too crowded. You will meet & recognize people quickly & everybody is glad to help you with anything. I also had a ‘law buddy’. This is an upper year Law Student who is available for you to ask any questions.

Besides meeting people & the great environment, there are also perfect resources to study. I consider the Law Library very convenient. Everybody really respects the rules & it’s always quiet. Furthermore, there’s always a place available to study. If you are doing a group project it’s really helpful to use the private working group rooms. I was also really happy about the courses I took. To conclude, I had a wonderful stay at UVic. The Faculty of Law is so helpful & if you don’t know for sure which courses you want to take, you can easily switch & try different lectures in the first two weeks." Celia van Nierop on UVic Law exchange from Utrecht ('16)

Utrecht student at UVic Weusthof Nanda

Nanda Weusthof ('15) on exchange at UVic and enjoying a local beach.

"UVic was an amazing experience. When I first got here I didn’t know what I could expect, but my time turned out to be more than I could have hoped for. I expected a term where I had to work hard, figure things out by myself, and hang out in Victoria only. I was wrong. I went to travel the Island with the friends I made. Yes, I had to work hard, but considering all the wonderful things I got to do it was more than worth it. The people were kind, and taught me how to work with the Canadian law. Everyone was very helpful, it would have been a lot harder without the given support.  I went to join the UVic Quidditch club, and it was awesome, we got to travel to the main land and play quidditch in tournaments. I would most definitely recommend trying to live on campus. You really become part of a community. Even though you might not be first years you are trying to figure out how UVic works. Most people living on campus are first years and looking for friends.  All I can say is that UVic gave me the friends and the experience that I will never forget, and I am very thankful that I got to experience UVic the way I did. "  Nanda Weusthof on Law exchange from University of Utrecht ('15)