Washington University, St. Louis

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1 preparation exchange/placement application process The application process started by writing a motivation letter, organizing my CV, set up a financial and study plan. counselling/support at home university I got a lot of support at Utrecht University. The International Office was willing to help me as far as possible with my questions and my choice of destination. academic preparation As an academic preparation I looked up some information about the university. Also I talked with students who went to the same university to have a better understanding about the academic environment in the law school. language preparation I had some classes in English during my law studies in Utrecht, which helped me to prepare for my exchange. But most of my English language skills I learned by starting off in St. Louis; the interaction with the other students, the classes etc. Learn by doing I would say. finances I am grateful that my parents supported my stay in the US. study/placement abroad period Studying in the US was a very good experience. It helped me to understand better the American culture, the common law system and politics. America plays an important role in the world, especially when it comes to wars. It was interesting to have discussions with other American students about America s view against the European view on political issues. academic quality of education/placement activities The quality of education is very high in the Law school of Washington in St. Louis. We had classes from very good and well educated professors. A lot of activities were organised for the students to develop lawyers skills, like moot courts etc. I liked the interaction with the professors, who have personal contact with their students. counselling/support at host institution/organisation For some classes we had a teaching assistant who helped us to write memo s, how to use west law and nexis lexis, how to prepare for exams etc. transfer of credits The transfer of credits took not too long. student life welcome/orientation programme The welcome program was very intellectual focused. Very few social activities were organised to have a chance to get to know the other students. The orientation program was more focused on the American legal system, than on social interaction with other students.

2 accommodation There is no on campus housing (that s only for undergrads). But the internet site Craigslist helped me to find a nice apartment with other students. leisure/culture There is a beautiful and giant park in front of the campus with several sport facilities (tennis, soccer, golf, American football), museums (art museum, history museum), forest area s, picnic places, Zoo, restaurant, lakes etc. Enough to do and no time to get bored. There are several streets with a lot of international restaurants near Campus. Downtown is further away, but is definitely worth to see, especially the famous arch! Also Central West End is a beautiful area with a lot of bars, clubs and restaurants. I also would recommend the beautiful botanical gardens, which host a lot of events, like the Chinese lantern Festival etc. By metro everything is easy reachable in St. Louis. suggestions/tips I would suggest to look for housing in advance and especially look at good areas to live in. Parts of St. Louis are not the safest. The University will send you useful flyers and maps to see in which area s all the students live. Also I would recommend to take the metro not on your own. conclusions would you recommend this host organisation/destination to others? please explain I would recommend St. Louis for students who are motivated to study hard, because the classes will be master level and the the preparation for the classes will take much more time than in Utrecht. Also you need an interest in discovering the law school environment and the American law system. The law school will give you a useful insight in the American legal system, politics and culture. do you have any additional advice or comments? I felt very privileged to study at the Law school of Washu, because it s a high ranked law school, so the education is high quality. Also it s hard for American law students hard to get into this law school, because it is highly competitive and very expensive.

3 Preparation It all began more than a year in advance; when I had to decide to which University I would like to go to on an exchange! I ultimately put Washington University in St. Louis on top. I read the reports from former students and they seemed pretty enthusiastic. Moreover, there was a required average grade of a 7, which I had at the time. Three months after having provided a lot of documents, I received the news: I was enrolled at WashU! Now the actual preparation started. Realizing I would need the financial aid (there was a minimum to show the University you would be able to survive), I worked a lot for 9 months, keeping my goal in mind. A good advice is to start your preparations early, to avoid stress before departure, and there are of course some deadlines. You need to show the abroad University you are capable of living there for 5 months, so you will need a bank statement at some point to show there is enough money on your bank account. Expect to /send letters back and forth to different institutions quite a lot, which can take up a lot of time (and patience). Make sure you provide the exact right documents! Of course you have to find housing as well, but the University provides help with that and it is not that hard. I stumbled upon my house using Craigslist, so I did it on my own. I skyped with my soon-to-be housemates and my landlord and they were really excited for me to come living with them. Do not forget some rooms might not be furnished when you come there, so look around to find cheap furniture before arrival. (Student) Life I arrived in St. Louis on the tenth of January, but I wish I would have waited a little longer regarding booking my flight. I had booked my flight very early, but some weeks later the University informed me about an introduction week, which I could therefore not attend. So make sure you get there on time (two weeks in advance). I absolutely loved the house I lived in, especially due to my great roommates, but unfortunately I was really far away from the downtown center. I would recommend you search for housing in Central West End, Forsyth or Forest Park, because it is both close to WashU and the bar area. You get a free metro pass and at night it was very easy and cheap to take cabs (if you share one). If you are into bars, CWE is the place for you. You have all different kinds of bars with different themes. A student organization at the Law School organizes bar reviews every Thursday, which allows you to explore different parts of the city and a lot of bars/clubs. I liked St. Louis as a city, but make sure you stay in the good parts. I felt safe all the time (don t worry), but avoid some bad neighborhoods and just stick in the busy areas with your friends. Other things you can do is to attend an ice hockey or a Cardinal s Game, which allows you to experience the American sport-focused life. Make sure to visit the free zoo at Forest Park as well! Studying Abroad As a master student, the amount of courses I could choose from was a little less, but it is still enough. Looking back, I wish I would have ed the University to help me selecting my courses, because I did not know how tough some of the courses would be. I ultimately switched one course for an easier one, and I m glad I had done that! The courses I did were Mediation, UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) art. 2, Lawyer Ethics and Introduction in U.S. Law & Methods (required course). I though the level of difficulty was pretty similar to the courses given at UU, but the workload is much higher. The professors expect you to be fully prepared for every class, so make sure you are to avoid study delay! I studied a lot during the week and made sure I had finished my homework before the weekend to enjoy it. The professors are very approachable and they really want you to do well. Don t hesitate to swing by their office. I thought they were extremely committed to their courses; they are all very experienced professors in the field. In the end I realized working hard is the key to good results. My commitment paid off and I ended up with surprisingly good grades! Remember the professors want you to do well, so showing them you are committed to their courses helped a lot. Conclusion In short, I had the best time at WashU St. Louis. I would advise you to keep a good balance when it comes to studying and enjoying your time there, because this is a onetime opportunity. For Spring

4 Break I would advise you to gather some friends you have made there already, book a flight to the south or Mexico and look up the sun (weather-wise, St. Louis can be pretty extreme!)!

5 Preparation On august 6 I departed to the United States to study one semester (fall semester) at Washington University in St. Louis. I decided to go to Washington University because it is a top ranked law school (it is ranked 19 th overall among American Bar Association approved law schools by U.S. News & World Report). Furthermore, I wanted to explore college life in the United States and meet other international students from all over the world. If you are planning to go abroad I can only recommend you to start early with the whole preparation process (failing to prepare is preparing to fail). I started preparing my application approximately 10 months before my departure. I also like to recommend you to attend the information sessions which are organized by the international office. The international office provides very useful information and they give you a nice overview of all the steps you need to take in order to complete your application. A curriculum vitae, motivation letter, financial plan (and a bank statement which you need to send to Washu), transcript of records (grades) are required. It is also important to start with your visa process as soon as possible to avoid any difficulties. If you have any difficulties or questions you can always contact the international office. As an exchange student it is not possible to live on campus, but it s not hard to find a nice apartment off-campus. I found my apartment on Craigslist and I paid $600 a month. Some areas I d like to recommend are Forest Park, Forsyth blvd, Delmar Loop or Central West End. These areas are safe and give easy access to campus (campus is very accessible by metro and Washu provides metro passes, so you don t have to pay for that). I also like to emphasize that it can be very cold in St. Louis so I recommend you to take warm clothes with you. Study abroad The orientation program lasted two weeks. During this program you will receive a lot of information about how you need to study and prepare for exams. Some professors use the Socratic method so they also mentioned this method during the orientation. You need to keep in mind that the legal system of the US is based on common law. For some courses this requires a different approach, namely reading a lot of cases (and case briefing). But this really depends on the courses you are going to take. This orientation program is also a great opportunity to meet other international students. Since I had already completed all my necessary Bachelor courses I just took courses which I found interesting. Well in advance the Dean will send you a list with all the available courses. The courses I followed are; Legal profession, Employment Law, US Civil procedure and contracts. In my opinion the level of the courses is kind of the same in comparison to UU. However, professors at Washu really expect you to be prepared in every class and if they use the Socratic Method you should better be prepared. All the professors are very accessible and if you have questions or if you face difficulties you can always contact them. The facilities at Washu are very good. There is a huge library in the law school building. In addition, there are a lot of places on campus where you can buy food and drinks. Furthermore, they have a nice gym and six amazing tennis courts on campus. Student life Although St. Louis is not a big city (58 th city of the US by population) there are a lot of nice things you can do. Forest park is a huge and beautiful park, which has a zoo, art museum and history museum. These are all free. You can also visit the Gateway Arch, this is a 192 meters high monument downtown St. Louis (you can buy a ticket to the top for $10). If you re interested in baseball or Ice Hockey then you should definitely attend a game of the St. Louis Cardinals or the St. Louis Blues. Especially baseball is a big deal in St. Louis. I also like to recommend you to attend the oldest free hotair balloon event in the world, which is held annually in September (for more information: St. Louis has also a big shopping mall, which is called Galleria where you can buy almost everything. At the Delmar loop or the Central West End you will find a lot of good restaurants and bars. If you want to go to a club I would recommend Mandarin lounge, but you can also look for clubs downtown St. Louis. Conclusions Without any reservations I would like to recommend St. Louis to every student who is planning to go on exchange. As a private and top ranked law school Washu offers you a lot of opportunities. It s also the environment to make international friendships and learn about the American culture. This exchange program was an amazing experience!

6 Preparation On August 9 I flew off to the United States to study one semester at Washington University in St. Louis. The application for the exchange program had to be completed in January of the academic year prior to the next academic year in which you go abroad. So you have to prepare well in advance. I started preparing my application in October, 10 months before my departure. The International Office of the Law Department clearly indicated what has to be included in the application. A motivation letter, a curriculum vitae, a transcript of records from Osiris, a study plan, a financial plan is required, and a recommendation letter is preferred. The International Office is of great assistance in preparing for the exchange. It offers a meeting with general information which I recommend to attend. In addition, you are more than welcome to the International Office or to visit the office hours. So I suggest you to start preparing for exchange about 10 months before departure. First, I suggest you to look clearly at the destinations and what they require. Some partner universities require language tests, certain grades or financial plans. After you have a clear idea of what possibilities are available to you, decide which universities you prefer and indicate a top 2/3. Than, you should attend the International Office general meeting and perhaps in addition contact the International Office about specific questions. Next, you should make sure all required documents are in place. A well thought-out motivation letter and high grades are of great importance for the International Office in deciding who get to go to Washington University in St. Louis. An English test is not required, a financial plan is.. Study Abroad In April I received an in which I was told I was accepted to study one semester at Washu. Soon after the great news, Washington University contacted me requiring to indicate which courses I would like to attend. Washu Law School has a few professors appointed to assist international students in their transfers. They were of great help and I could them about all sorts of questions i.e. courses, housing, finance. I decided to follow International Human Rights, Legal Profession and Introduction to U.S. Law. Each course is worth 3 credits, transferred to yje Dutch system worth 6 ECTS. Therefore I only obtained 18 ECTS, and filled the remaining 12 ECTS with two condensed courses after my return. I suggest you to attend 4 courses. The level of education at the Law School is high and competitive, but with good studying definitely possible to complete with satisfying grades. The professors at Washu are very friendly, smart, and always available to help you individually in their offices. The Law School education is definitely a challenge and they expect you to study hard, but in exchange you are taught by the best professors of the United States. Student Life Washu Law School offers a two-week orientation program for all international transfer students. This is where you will meet all your international friends. Therefore, I advice you to attend this great program. I met many of my exchange friends during this 2 week program. Also, they introduce you to some professors, show you around in law school and get you acquainted with the common law system. Moreover, the program offers BBQ's, dinners at professor's homes and other fun activities where you will also meet American Law School students. Since Washu is a private university, the law school is not too big so you meet people soon and often. Also, Washu shows its richness by their most beautiful campus, great professors and good facilities for sports, studying, and dining. Law School does not offer on-campus accommodation, so you have to find your own place. The university assists you in finding a room/apartment by referring to rental agencies. I lived in an apartment together with another Dutch Law Student. Most areas around the campus are safe and a great neighborhood to live (Delmar/Loop, Clayton, Wydown blvd, Forsyth blvd, Forest Park, Central West End). Some parts of St. Louis are not very safe, so I suggest you to find accommodation near campus (max. 30 minutes walking distance from campus or the area Central West End which is easy to access by metro). The American college life was a great experience by being on campus all day, eating in the dining halls with your friends and studying in the beautiful law library. Next, Law School invites every thursday night all students to have drinks at pubs/clubs. Every week it is another bar, so in that way you experience the night life of St. Louis. In addition, there are great restaurants with affordable prices

7 near campus. And from time to time, the fraternities of Washu give parties in their houses where mostly undergraduate student go to which is a great American experience as well. Washington University is a wonderful community where you are surrounded by friendly people every day. Conclusions I have had the time of my life at Washington University in St. Louis. The university offered me more than I could hope for. I built up international friendships, I attended great lectures, worked with friendly, inspiring professors, developed a common-law understanding, enjoyed the beautiful campus and lived the American life. I recommend the university for those who wish to attend a top ranked private university and be involved in an international community with American culture.

8 Preparation The application for the exchange program had to be completed in January of the academic year prior to the year in which the student wants to go abroad, independent of whether the student goes in the first or the second semester. Because I went in August, I started preparing my application about 10 months before my departure. The International Office provides clear guidelines on what to include in the application. A motivation letter, resume, study plan, and a financial plan were required. Then an interview with a professor from the University of Utrecht follows. The acceptance of students to the exchange program is based on the application documents and the interview. The International Office provides great support for students going abroad. There was one general information meeting and for further questions you could always the International Office or drop by during their office hours. To prepare for the exchange program I tried to read some law articles in English to improve my legal English specifically. This prior knowledge of the legal vocabulary and writing style was very useful during my first weeks of classes at Washington University. Of course, I learned a lot more while studying there, but I found the fact that I already had knowledge of the basics very convenient. Study abroad I went abroad during my masters program. I had already completed all the necessary courses, including my thesis, before I went, so I could choose my courses abroad based solely on what I found interesting. The Dean in charge of the exchange program in St. Louis sent an with the course schedule, and was available for questions about contents and organisational issues. The work load of the courses is indicated by credits, ranging from 1 to 4 credits per regular course. 12 credits is the 'normal' workload for US students, but exchange students are allowed to do a bit less. 8 credits is the minimum for them. For the first semester I signed up for 5 courses, and a total of 13 credits. The work was possible to do, but it was definitely a much higher workload than what is normal in The Netherlands. For the second semester, I signed up for 3 courses, and a total of 9 credits. This was more in line with what I am used to do in Utrecht. I found the quality of the education at Washington University very high. The professors were all very good, and expected a lot from the students. Students are required to participate actively in class, and are generally very well prepared. There is much more competition among students than in The Netherlands. The facilities of the law school are very good. The library is big and looks very nice, and has everything you need while studying. The support at Washington University was very good. Before the classes started, there was a weeklong introduction period for international students in general. There was also regular contact with the Dean who was in charge of the exchange program. He was available for questions whenever it was necessary. As mentioned above, at Washington University 12 credits was considered a 'full time' workload for US students, but exchange students were required only a minimum of 8 credits. However, it is not entirely clear to me how the University of Utrecht will transfer these credits. Student life The orientation program lasted a week. It was very useful and complete. All relevant practical matters were discussed. Also a brief introduction to the US legal system was given. This proved to be helpful in the first week of classes.

9 Finding an apartment in St. Louis is not very difficult. There are enough empty places in good locations, near the University, or in a neighborhood called 'Central West End'. I found an apartment on craigslist.com. I shared it with an American girl who also studied at Washington University. Before I went to St. Louis, we spoke to each other on Skype, so everything was arranged when I arrived there. Although St. Louis is not a very large and well known US city, there is enough to do once you know where to go. The down town area is not very nice, but Central West End, Clayton, and University City are nice places where a lot of students and young professionals hang out. Forest Park is a very large park near the University, which has an art museum, a history museum, and a zoo. These are all free. There is a fancy shopping mall, Galaria, that can be reached easily with the metro. From the University, this takes about 15 minutes. Because St. Louis is very 'stretched out', it is important to live in a good location, close to the University or to a metro station. Certain parts of the city can be pretty dangerous, but Clayton, University City (south of Delmar Blvd), and Central West End are nice neighborhoods to live. Conclusions I would definitely recommend Washington University to others, because the education is really good, the organisation is very professional, and the people are all very nice and helpful. The professors expect a lot from students, and the students generally work hard, so I definitely feel that I learned a lot in one year.