After topping the Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) at Oxford University this year, Ruben Robertson joins the distinguished roster of Vinerian Scholars among Sydney Law School alumni. He also won the Law Faculty Prize in Comparative Constitutional Law, Law Faculty Prize in International Environmental Law, Law Faculty Prize in Legal Concepts in Environmental Law and the Harold Koh Public International Law Moot. Moreover, he was a member of the Sydney team that won the Australian round of the Jessup international law mooting competition back in 2019, where he was awarded second best speaker in the preliminary rounds.
The University of Sydney has partnered with world-renowned institutions such as Oxford University to offer students like Ruben the opportunity to study abroad during their last semester. Upon successful completion, they will be awarded with not only a Sydney Bachelor of Laws (LLB) or Juris Doctor (JD), but also a master’s degree from their preferred international university.
Ruben read for the Bachelor of Civil Law, the University of Oxford’s equivalent to an LLM, and was based in the historic British campus for nine months. “I attended seminars and small group tutorials during term-time, did plenty of reading in some incredible libraries, and was otherwise enjoying the experience of living in a beautiful university town.”
There is value in gaining a global perspective on nearly anything, and I think it is worthwhile to spend some time living away from where you grew up if you can.
His experiences outside the classroom served as a rich, fulfilling backdrop to his rigorous academic pursuits in a foreign academic environment. “Outside the classroom, having the chance to live on campus and fully soak up student life was an experience I’ll always treasure. The many socials were a great way to meet people from all different academic disciplines and the traditional college dinners were an event in themselves.”
Ruben took advantage of the vibrant campus life at Sydney and this fuelled his confidence and drive to explore further study abroad. “I had the benefit of an intellectually rigorous education at Sydney, one that was enriched both by studying alongside bright and motivated fellow students and by teaching from some brilliant academics. While the lasting highlights would probably have to be making some lifelong friends, I also enjoyed being involved in the Law School’s excellent mooting program, playing in sporting teams and working at the Redfern Legal Centre as part of my studies.”
My studies at Oxford built on the analytical reasoning skills developed in my time at Sydney and I feel that this will always be an asset in my future legal career.
For Ruben, imbibing a global perspective sets a promising tone for life outside the university context and growing into a well-rounded professional, especially in the field on law. “I think it is worthwhile to spend some time living away from where you grew up if you can. Academically, having the chance to intensely study areas of law that are most interesting to you was quite fulfilling and you come out the other side feeling like you have a good understanding of the current debates in the field. The cohort was compromised of students who had studied and practiced law in all parts of the world.”
Although he has currently moved to London with the hopes of practicing there, he never forgets to look back at his formative experiences at the University of Sydney.
If you do end up studying at Sydney, get as involved as you can by joining one of the many student societies and getting stuck into some extracurricular activities, whether that’s a sport or something else.