Period on Exchange: Semester 2, 2012
What courses did you study?
- Admiralty I
- Intellectual Property I
- Election Law
- International Environmental Law
Why did you choose that university?
There was always something very appealing to me about studying in the USA, and when I saw that Tulane was a campus university, and not just a college of law, I knew I would have a great experience. I hadn’t heard much about New Orleans before choosing to go to Tulane, but once I made the decision, I started to hear great things about the city. Tulane has a great campus life with plenty of student organisations, sporting clubs and student activities on a weekly basis. Tulane Law School is very well regarded, so going to Tulane gave me the opportunity to spend 6 months at a good school in a unique and exciting city.
How does studying law overseas compare to studying at UNSW?
Studying law in the USA is somewhat similar to studying at UNSW. Lectures are of a similar size, and class participation and discussion is encouraged. One difference is that there are no assessments throughout the semester, just 100% exams at the end, which enabled me to be flexible with travel plans and visiting family and friends. Another difference is that law is only a postgraduate degree in the USA, meaning no students were straight from high school, and a lot of them had moved from their home town where they did an undergraduate degree and came to Tulane after sitting the LSATs. Studying at Tulane was not dramatically different to UNSW, and I felt comfortable at all times to ask questions to the exchange staff and other students if I needed to.
What was the cost of living compared to Australia?
The cost of living in the USA compared to Australia varies greatly from state to state, but I can say that living in New Orleans was relatively cheaper than living in Sydney. Specifically rent, shopping, travel, taxis, and going out were cheaper, and food was roughly priced the same.
What was your accommodation arrangement?
When I first got to Tulane (before the semester started, for the International Students Orientation Program), all of the international students were staying on campus in student accommodation, but we had to find other living arrangements once the semester started - law students could not stay on campus.
During this time, I signed up to “Tulane Roommate Click” – an online forum for Tulane Law students to post their current living arrangements, whether it be looking for a room, looking to sublet a room, or looking for roommates to find a house with. I was in contact with a few other law students on this forum, and found a three bedroom apartment on Craigslist (http://neworleans.craigslist.org/) less than a 10 minute walk to campus, and moved in a few weeks later. I’m really happy I found accommodation this way, as many other international students organised housing together, but this meant that I lived with two other Americans (a guy from Texas and a girl from Michigan) which was an amazing experience.
What were the highlights of your experience?
Meeting amazing new people, living close to campus with great American flatmates, watching college football in sports bars around campus, playing in a mixed flag football team, Tulane homecoming, going to the Superdome to watching Saints NFL games, road tripping, eating Southern food (poboys, gumbo, jambalaya), $2 Tuesdays at the Boot, jazz bars on Frenchmen St, Bourbon St, crossing the Mississippi River, walking around the French Quarter and the markets – the list could go on forever.
What were the main challenges you faced, if any?
Tulane is an exceptional school, and for that reason, it attracts many international students who are interested in doing further study in the form of an LLM. It is also a relatively small school in respect of number of students compared to state universities. For that reason, there probably weren’t as many exchange students as other schools that are offered for a law exchange, as the majority were at Tulane for a year to get their LLM, and many stayed to study for the Bar to be able to work in the United States. Having said this, I made a great group of friends, a mixture of which were there on exchange and some who were there doing their LLM. The exchange program at Tulane offers plenty of social activities, the staff are great, and everyone is keen to have new experiences and make the most of their time in New Orleans.