Initially, I started at the University of Groningen as the odd one out; unlike most students, I had a bachelor in Dutch law and my goal was to become a judge for the Dutch national courts. My aim changed when I did an internship at a human rights organisation in Sydney in 2015 for six months. After that experience, I knew I wanted to work internationally, so I had to rethink my academic career path. After obtaining my bachelor, I was forced to take a gap year, as I could not find any university that offered a premaster in Global Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law, and I was definitely not ready to give up on my dreams. A year later, the University of Groningen announced it was going to offer the programme I had dreamt of and so it was no more than a logical choice to study here. Upon finishing the premaster successfully, I was given access to the LLM programmes. I didn't hesitate and applied for the double LLM in Global Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law. I have yet to regret my choice; the professors are all equally inspiring and you can tell they want their students to reach their full potential. I've never felt as intellectually challenged as I have in the past year, which is exactly how I wanted to feel during my LLM.
The facilities of the university are good (do prepare to queue for a library seat half an hour before opening time during exam week though!). In the past, I never liked studying at the library, but here in Groningen, I solely study at the library. The study areas are really light with big windows and every second floor has a roof terrace (perfect for long, well deserved breaks - alone or with friends). The library database has been my saving grace while writing my thesis. I wrote my thesis on Australia's immigration policies and whether they are in line with international law, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find all information I needed. I was pleasantly surprised when I found more than one hundred journals alone on the topic.
To be completely honest, I never wanted to study in Groningen. My family and I arrived as refugees from Kosovo in the Netherlands and we were settled in Groningen in 1997. My mother didn't like it because "the wind was too strong" and so we moved once we were able to. I grew up in the eastern part of the Netherlands and I was ready to move to Amsterdam or Rotterdam; never would I have thought I would end up in Groningen. However, I must say I really like Groningen now. It's not as small as I expected it to be and because of all the international students, I sometimes even forget I am I the Netherlands at all (until I go to the supermarket and I hear Dutch). The various squares and parks make it extra lovely, and if you live in the city centre, everything - including the university - is 5 to 10 minutes away. Also, in case you're wondering; my mother has now actually fallen in love with Groningen too and visits me more often than I visit her! And yes, it still gets very windy...
I still have one semester left for my International Human Rights Law LLM but after that, I see myself working as a field worker in post-conflict zones or as a human rights advocate at a human rights organisation. My experience at this university has given me all the tools I need to achieve my dreams: I think way more critically now and I have learned how to conduct good legal research. The courses always triggered my thoughts and the prescribed literature was really good. Some professors go that extra mile and upload additional material for those who are interested in reading more on a certain topic. I was also very fortunate to be in a class with students who, like me, liked to discuss the subjects long after the class ended. All coursed have been useful in their own way, and I really liked how I could apply something of everything I have been taught - both theory and research skills - in my thesis. The thesis showed how far I had come, from the odd one out to full on human rights advocate specialised in both Global Criminal Law and International Human Rights Law.
Kosovare Duraku, Kosovo/Netherlands, LLM in Global Criminal Law and LLM in International Human Rights Law
|Last modified:||07 October 2019 11.39 a.m.|