Soon to be an IE University graduate of the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), Ruslan Saleev has enjoyed a varied and formative undergraduate experience. Hailing from Russia and joining the University on a scholarship from UWC Adriatic in 2017, Ruslan was first taken by the international, comparative orientation of the studies at IE Law School.
Since then, Ruslan has taken up every opportunity possible—becoming immersed in a wide range of extracurricular activities, completing internships with major global companies, and even beginning a new student organization to celebrate on-campus diversity. Now well-equipped for the world of work, Ruslan sat down with us to reflect on some highlights from a truly remarkable IE University journey.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and story before coming to Spain or IE University?
I’m from Kazan, Russia, and come from a mixed-ethnicity background—I’m three-quarters Tatar (one of the ethnicities present in Russia) and a quarter Russian. In 2015, I left my home country at 16 years old to pursue my studies at UWC Adriatic in Italy. There, I studied alongside people from more than 80 countries. In September 2017, I started my journey at IE University.
Which year are you in and what are you studying at IE University?
I’m in my last year of the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B), about to graduate in July. What drew me towards studying an LL.B. at IE University was that the degree takes a comparative approach. While studying a certain area of law, you don’t just study one country but instead look at multiple jurisdictions to gauge the differences and the similarities between their legal institutions, terms and notions. In the increasingly globalized modern reality, law firms are looking for individuals who can rapidly adapt to constant changes in the world of law and look beyond their own legal systems. IE University is doing a great job in training future lawyers of this kind. Moreover, IE University offers a unique opportunity to pursue double degrees with foreign universities—in my own case, I ended up obtaining a second degree in English Law from a UK university.
How did you hear about IE University, and what made you decide to come here?
It was one of the few universities here in Europe that offered scholarships to UWC students, which was a great springboard. The more I discovered about IE University, the more I wanted to come and study here—the comparative approach in the LL.B. program I mentioned before; the case-based learning and teaching by practicing lawyers, and the University’s international environment. Having more than 130 nationalities present across campuses definitely drew my attention after studying in such a multicultural environment at UWC; as did the ability to experience both campuses, balancing the culturally and historically enriching experience of Segovia with the urban, fast-paced lifestyle of Madrid.
The IE Foundation, which funds IE Scholarships, has played an immensely important role in my undergraduate degree. Without having obtained a UWC scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to study here and gain all the knowledge and amazing experiences that I have throughout these years. Financial Aid not only set my journey at IE University in motion, but it also allowed me to continue making the most of it by supporting me through my third year when my financial situation got worse, for which I am extremely grateful.
How has your experience at IE University been? How have you evolved from your freshman year to your senior year?
Now that I am about to graduate and reflecting upon my journey at IE University, I’ve been reminded of how great an experience it was! Although challenging, it’s been a very rewarding experience in every possible sense—personal, intellectual and professional. Every step of the way, I’ve felt incredibly supported by my peers, teachers, and other university staff. A huge takeaway for me is that if you need help—be it an academic question, advice in difficult times, or navigating your future career path—the IE Community will back you up. That isn’t something you’ll see at just any university.
Comparing myself now with how I was four years ago, I can see so much difference. So many more friendships and connections made, lessons learned, experiences had, and kinds of knowledge gained. Above all, and thanks to all those components of my IE University experience, lots of doors are now open for me.
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities? If so, tell us what you did and why you joined.
I’ve been involved in multiple extracurricular activities at IE University. In my first and second year, I was part of the Legal Clinic, which is a great opportunity for law students to get hands-on legal experience and work with real clients as early as their first year. In my second year, I did something more creative, playing a lead role in the IEU Theatre Club production, “The Painter.”
On top of that, I’ve been involved in some exciting extracurricular cultural projects while I’ve been at IE University. I founded the IE Cultural Diversity Club with some friends in my second year, where we organized “cultural weeks” that allowed us to discover the multitude of cultures present on the Segovia campus. I also participated in the IEU Archaeological Camp at the end of both my first and second years. I explored the rich history and cultural heritage of the Tiermes area in Soria the first time around, then took part in the excavation of a fourth-century Roman wall in the second! Finally, I was also involved in a tree-planting project at Doñana National Park in 2018.
Finally, throughout my four years here at IE University, I have been a class representative, mentor in the IEU Mentorship Society, and an IE Ambassador. I took part in all of these activities because I love adventure, challenges, exploring the world around me and getting to know new people. Certainly, IE University offered me all of that through extracurricular activities. If you’re willing to get involved in an interesting activity, try something new, or hone some of your existing skills, IE University for sure has something for you—you just need to take up the offer!
How has IE University helped you grow during these four years?
One of the greatest assets that IE University has to offer is the vast number of opportunities for networking and making new connections while studying here. In these four years, I’ve made new friends from such countries as Cuba, Jordan, Bulgaria, and many more. Plus, I’ve been taught by great international legal professionals, even getting the chance to work with some of them by helping them with their research activity.
I’ve also had unparalleled opportunities to build up practical experience and networks in the world of work. Through my internship at the Arts and Humanities Division, I was lucky to meet some of the most prominent people of the contemporary art world. Being part of the IE Honours Program and participating in the Amazon Alexa Challenge 2021, I had the chance to work with people from Amazon. Thanks to my internship in the IE Corporate Relations Department, I was able to connect with representatives from top companies in Spain and worldwide. These are just a few examples since I’ve also made many other connections that will definitely be useful in the future. Networking is the greatest force in the current labor market, and IE University is THE place to grow your network and lay the foundation you need to become an outstanding professional.
What are your plans after graduation?
I’ve decided that after graduation, I’m going to take some time off and wait to pursue a Master’s degree. Before continuing my education, I want to gain more practical experience, which I’m sure will give me a better indication of what direction I want to take in the future. Currently, I’m waiting for a response from the traineeships that I applied to earlier this year.
Ruslan has certainly thrown himself completely into the IE Experience. We wish him well with the next stage of his journey.