Ana Valverde tells future students about her decision to pursue the Dual Degree in Laws and International Relations. She also answers the most frequently asked questions and offers a few of her insider tips and tricks for success in the IE University program.
Why did you decide to study the Dual Degree in Laws and International Relations?
It wasn’t an easy decision at all. In high school I had taken mostly science classes like biology, chemistry, and physics, and thought I would study something related. However, I’m the kind of person who likes everything, so I couldn’t imagine discarding my passion for languages and international relations. After a lot of hesitation, I decided last minute to pursue a career in law and international relations and I couldn’t be happier to have made that decision.
What are the main topics in class?
I study Spanish Law, so my law program class topics are the branches of Spanish law: administrative, criminal, public international, private international, constitutional, litigation, and tax law.
In my international relations courses, we have studied a variety of topics. It’s been fun learning the history of international relations, gaining insight on conflict resolution, and diving into international money and finance.
What was your favorite class and with which professor? Why?
My favorite class so far has been, without a doubt, Global Governance and International Institutions, taught by Julio Crespo MacLennan. I enjoyed every second of this class. We learned about the composition of international organizations and discussed some of the hottest topics of our time like climate change, the Responsibility to Protect commitment, and the international criminal court. We also talked about the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Rwandan genocide. We wrote an essay on a topic of our choice and I wrote about the role of international organizations in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Tell us about an average class. How long is it? What’s the workload like? Do you do more group or individual work?
Each session lasts an hour and 20 minutes, but it isn’t rare for professors to join two sessions. Sometimes we will have three hours of class with a 10-minute break in the middle.
How a class is set up depends on the professor. Some value group projects, whereas others prefer assigning individual work. Oral presentations are also very common, and you will also have a lot of group projects.
How many hours will I spend doing homework or studying?
On average, I would say you need to spend about two hours per week on each subject. This may be on group projects, individual homework or essays, or reviewing your notes. Some professors will evaluate you based only on class participation and exams. Law classes are like that, whereas in international relations classes it’s very common to have to read a text or two for the next session. Make sure you read them because you’ll be more prepared for class, and studying for the final exam won’t be as stressful.
What are finals like?
In business international relations classes, a lot of the exams are written essays on the topics we’ve been studying throughout the course. Sometimes the professors will add in case studies or multiple-choice questions.
In law classes, final exams are usually a combination of essay questions and a case study where you can show what you’ve learned about a specific unit. The case study is based on a real-life conflict and you have to explain how you would solve it.
What is a typical Dual Degree in Laws and International Relations student like?
My class is extremely unusual, and maybe the only one with these features at IE University: we are all Spanish. This may be due to the fact that we study Spanish law. However, I know that the students studying comparative law come from all over the world. In our program’s English class, there are people from: Australia, Colombia, France, Jordan, Norway, Serbia, South Africa, and the United States.
What exchange-student opportunities are available?
Going on exchange is an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons and boost your career. IE University pairs with a lot of excellent universities for exchange programs. I had the chance to go to Sciences Po Paris, where I took the most fascinating classes, improved my French, and met inspiring people.
What are the internship opportunities? Are they easy to find?
In the law field, IE University offers several opportunities for students to get a taste of what it’s like to work in a law firm. IE University offers the Shadowing Program, which is a one-week immersion in a law firm of your choice. A few of the firms included are: Cuatrecasas, Garrigues, Uría Menéndez, Pérez Llorca, and Linklaters.
It’s a bit more difficult to find an internship in the international relations field, but it’s not impossible. IE University works hard to help you find the internship that is perfect for you.
Tips on succeeding your Dual Degree in Laws and International Relations:
- Be ambitious.
- Be respectful. Especially to those with different nationalities and backgrounds.
- Study often.
- Take some time off. Paint, exercise, go out with friends, and make the most of your time in Spain.
- Build healthy relationships with your classmates. You’ll spend a lot of time with them in and outside of class.
- Don’t cave into cafeteria snacks; bring a piece of fruit from home instead.
- Take every opportunity IE University offers to you, and make the most of it!