I attended the University of Salzburg in Austria for a European Private Law Summer School. I went with seven other Scottish students to learn about the legal systems of around forty other legal systems. The programme was structured as lectures, workshops and panels. There was a professor from each legal system who did a one to a three hour lecture on their legal system concentrating on Contract law, Property law and the history of their legal systems. The workshops gave the students a chance to apply their legal system to a problem question and compare their answers to the legal systems of the other students. The panels gave the lecturers a chance to argue on some of the topics touched on in their lectures, e.g. the creation of a new Civil Code, Brexit and mixed legal systems.
I decided to go to Austria to learn about different legal systems as I thought this would be useful for writing my dissertation. I also had not studied abroad in third year and I thought this would give me some insight into what studying abroad is like as I am considering doing a masters LLM. degree abroad.
Before leaving for Austria, I was worried about how to carry money (i.e. on a prepaid card or in cash or on my Scottish bank card). I had never travelled alone before and was concerned about what would happen if I lost my access to euros. There was plenty advice for this online so I felt fairly prepared before I left. I also took out insurance which made me feel fairly secure if something were to have gone wrong.
I was also worried about travelling from Germany to Austria as I was flying to Germany rather than directly to Salzburg. I do not speak German and did not have internet access on my phone in Germany. I was concerned that I would struggle to find the train station in Munich. I had planned most of this before I left which relieved my stress a little but it was difficult to plan everything in advance as the train station websites were in German online.
I learned that it is easy – and okay – to ask people for help when you are travelling abroad. I think I would have learned a little more basic German before travelling there again as it can come in useful to be able to read road signs or speak to natives for directions. I also learned that it is better to be over-prepared rather than under-prepared as sometimes the smallest piece of information you thought might be irrelevant can end up being extremely useful.