In July 2019, myself and a group of fellow Edinburgh Law Students attended the European Private Law Summer School in the beautiful Salzburg, Austria.
The group from the University of Edinburgh
I had a few aims in attending this intensive two-week course. The first was to further my understanding of how different legal systems compare to my own. Over 30 different Universities were represented at the school making this the perfect opportunity to develop my comparative law skills. Secondly, I was looking to make friends with the students from Edinburgh who I had not previously met. Finally, I hoped to meet students from other countries. I am happy to report that I achieved all three of my goals.
The programme started with an opening ceremony led by the head of the Summer School, Professor Michael Rainer. Following a series of welcome talks, we were treated to traditional Austrian music from Annemarie Renz, a famous Austrian musician. This was a great introduction to the culturally rich environment the Summer School would continue to offer.
The programme was lecture based, each country had its own lecture slot and was taught by a Professor from that country. There were three workshops where we would go through and compare each legal systems’ solution to the same legal question. I had to present the Scottish perspective then engage in discussion with professors and other students about my answer. The workshops were particularly useful as they helped highlight just how different each legal system is and drew attention to how we can learn from and inspire each other.
This experience went far beyond academic benefit alone. There were a number of social events including a traditional Austrian dinner and a trip to the oldest brewery in Europe. This allowed me to experience Austrian culture for the first time, having never visited the country before. In addition to this, as a group we explored Salzburg and the surrounding area. We visited the local mountain, Untersberg, and Lake Mondsee. Before we left for Salzburg, I did not know the other members of my group but over the two weeks we became very good friends. I believe I have gained as much on a personal level as I have on an academic level from this experience.
On the final afternoon, I attended a closing ceremony. In attendance was EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. It was a privilege to hear someone of his status speak and is an experience that I will not forget. This was followed by an awards ceremony where certificates of attendance were handed out by Professor Rainer and his staff. After a final dinner with Dr Andrew Steven and the group, my two weeks in the beautiful Salzburg were at an end. Thank you to the Go Abroad Fund for helping make this possible.
The group attending the awards ceremony with Professor Rainer and Dr Andrew Steven