|Posted by Rachel J Roche on June 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM|
I remember when I found out about the H M Hubbard Scholarship. I was sat in my office at my old law firm in Evesham and a mention was made of it in an email which I received from the Young Solicitors Group. I immediately clicked on the article, knowing that traveling abroad, especially to further my legal education, was something that I had wanted to do for a while. I read the small article and then clicked on the link to the H M Hubbard website itself, reading intently the short accounts from previous scholars and checking over the application requirements.
I did nothing immediately as, at the time, I was in the middle of the LPC and had not yet transferred from Legal Executive to Solicitor but the scholarship was always at the back of my mind.
I qualified in 2009 and then towards the end of 2010 I missed the deadline. I then applied in 2011 for the 2012/2013 academic year having made initial contact with Vince Cheshire to check that I was eligible. I remember receiving an email from him confirming that I was eligible to apply, when I was at Alton Towers on a day off. It must have been my birthday.
I spent ages getting my application together and emailed a couple of the previous scholars for their advice. France had always been my country of choice and having spent a great deal of time researching the various options available for foreign students, I decided that the LL.M at the Sorbonne was probably the best choice for me, although I also spent time in contact with the Directors from Lyon and Nice University checking out the application requirements, costs and modules for these programs as well.
With my scholarship application submitted, I was asked to an interview in London for which, as usual, I arrived super early, forever worried I would be late - I made my coffee at the coffee shop next door last a long time before arriving on time for my appointment. It was raining and after two and a half hours on the train I hardly looked fresh as a daisy but I went in there and spoke to the trustees; above all I remember just being myself. I clocked a couple of other candidates during our short meeting who I recall looked super professional and so I didn’t think for a minute that I would be successful.
That was mid-December and by the end of the year, I had received confirmation that they were willing to sponsor me.
Then for the even trickier bit of actually getting accepted into the Sorbonne; only one of the top Universities in the world…
I won’t tell you how long I spent on preparing the dossier of paperwork for my application; I carried it around for a couple of days too checking for mistakes about 100 times before posting it. Then there was the telephone interview, in French, which I had to get through. Needless to say, I was incredibly nervous. At the time, my last proper French conversation had probably been during my A-level exam (apart from the trips abroad to see friends) so I had extra tuition to get me back up to speed.
It was another couple of months before I received confirmation that I had been accepted. That was the end of May and then before I knew it, I had handed in my notice at work and here I am. At the time of writing, I have a little short of three weeks left before my experience draws to a close.
I clicked on to the H M Hubbard website at the weekend and now I am one of those past scholars. It’s crazy where a little email from the Young Solicitors Group can take you.
I have no doubt that this experience will serve me incredibly well in the future, and if I can do it then anyone can.