Tom samples life in Dijon

Published: 26 January 2016 at 10:35

Tom Serby and students from the Université de Bourgogne

LLM Course Leader visits partner institution the Université de Bourgogne

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Further to a partnership agreement between Anglia Law School and the Universite de Bourgogne, we now receive around ten of their students every year on our LLM programmes.

Tom Serby, Anglia Law School’s LLM Course Leader and researcher in sports law, spent January 2016 as a visiting lecturer at the Dijon-based University, and has given the following account of his experience of academic (and cultural) life there:

"The Law school at Dijon has about 4,000 students spread across the Undergraduate (‘licence’) and postgraduate (‘Masters’ and PhD) courses. In France there are fewer, but larger, Universities than in the UK, and at Undergraduate level they tend to cater more for the local market. Burgundy, one of France’s richest regions (in terms of history, and of course its fabled fine wine and cuisine) has one University, Universite de Bourgogne. The University can trace its origins to pre-Revolutionary times in 1722, when le Prince de Conde, assisted by a Papal Bull from Innocent XIII, instituted a single faculty (Law) in Dijon, Burgundy’s capital. Today the University’s faculties deliver teaching and first class research across many academic disciplines. The Law School alone offers ten separate 'Masters 2' programmes, including Sports law, one of just a very small number in France that does so.

"In France a large majority of school leavers attend University, but in order to progress exams need to be passed annually. The failure rate after the first year alone is about 30%. For students wishing to spend one, (or two, if Masters 2 is attempted), years as postgraduates, then competition is even stiffer. For example, on the Sports Law Masters 2 over 200 applicants are whittled down to 80 interviewees, for ultimately only 15 places. Many of the Masters programmes, including sports law, contain a period of employment (by, for example, a sports federation or club) as part of the masters course, (in the French, a ‘sandwich’ course!).

"My role (apart from ensuring I sampled the best local cuisine, which certainly did not disappoint) was to teach classes on both the Business Law Masters and Sports Law Masters programmes, which I did, sometimes in French, but more often in English. I also of course met many French colleagues, and was very warmly received by them, including an invitation from the Dean ‘déguster une galette des rois pour fêter l’épiphanie (de manière parfaitement républicaine.’ With academic colleagues I discussed the different approaches between French and English higher education establishments, and our shared research projects. I also naturally enjoyed spending time in one of the most beautiful large towns in Europe, including a night at the Opera, and meeting law students, who also welcomed me warmly, with one afternoon spent supporting Dijon’s rugby team."