Last July, the French-Turkish first generation student Aylin Güney finished her Bachelor’s in European Law. Due to a Jo Ritzen Scholarship, Aylin could go abroad to study at a university that offered a law degree in an international environment. After taking part in an experience day at Maastricht University, she was determined to make her dream come true. Now, three years later, she has her degree in the pocket and is preparing for the Sorbonne – Queen Mary Double LLM. The exclusive programme offers the opportunity to combine Queen Mary University of London’s LLM in International Business Law with the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne’s LLM in French and European Law. We talked to Aylin about her time at the UM, exciting new plans and future dreams.
Why did you choose to study at Maastricht University?
‘I was attracted by the small-scale and high quality education the faculty of LAW offered. In addition, the Problem-Based Learning System really set the university apart from others. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the first two months were hybrid, meaning half the student would go to tutorials and half would stay at home. Later, we all had to stay at home and take classes online. Therefore, in the beginning, I did not meet many of my fellow students. In my second year, everything went back to normal and I got to experience the PBL-system, which I really liked.’
What was your most memorable experience at the UM?
‘It’s a difficult choice, but I’d choose the moot court trainings we had in the second year. A moot court is a simulated court session, for which teams of students, first, prepare written pleadings with respect to a legal problem and, second, present their arguments in oral proceedings before a mock court. The course is based on fictitious cases involving issues of international law, ECHR, and European Union law. We had to wear the robes, which made us feel immersed into the role of lawyers. The courtroom with the high ceilings and even a panel of judges (our professors and tutors) was very impressive.’
‘The other most memorable thing was living in Maastricht in general and mostly the King’s Day festivities. Everyone was dressed in orange, it was beautiful to see and experience this unique event. I even saw the King and the Royal Family, I was lucky that they visited Maastricht that year.’
You graduated last summer. Congratulations! What are your plans?
‘The European Law programme made it possible to explore different areas of law. I chose to take modules and elective courses in amongst others business law, intellectual property, intellectual corporate law and company law, which I loved and lead me to apply for the double at Queen Mary University of London and Sorbonne Université. Coming January, I will start this exciting new journey.’
What did studying at the UM offer you on a more personal level?
‘Studying and living in Maastricht encouraged me to actively participate in tutorial groups, which made me gain more confidence in public speaking. Both the soft and hard skills I acquired at the UM are crucial in my further career and academic journey. I hope to make a positive contribution to society. The scholarship plays an important role in that, because it gave me the opportunity to complete the LAW programme I dreamed of, discover where my interests lie and in a way, find myself.’
What are your future goals?
‘Lately, I became more and more interested in becoming a lawyer and contributing to international organizations, providing them with legal advice. I am sure that during my Master’s I will still learn a lot and gain new insights, which may change my mind. I am open to explore new fields and areas.’
What would be your advice for new (scholarship) students?
‘Make the most out of Maastricht city, the living in general and of Maastricht University. Time flies by real fast, and sometimes it feels weird to realise that I already completed my three years programme. I would tell them to enjoy every bit. Furthermore: even when it feels difficult, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. People at the university are there to support you.’