The USA Global Experiences trip, which took us to Boston and New York in April 2018, offered an experience like no other. The costs of the trip were heavily subsidised by the University and Santander, with grants provided to students from low-income backgrounds allowing for an almost cost-free trip to those that met the eligibility criteria.
As a Law student, the highlight of the trip was touring the State Supreme Court in Boston. Our tour guide, Cliff Allen, was fantastically accommodating. Whilst we were a little late arriving due to our packed schedule, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we were able to sit in on Justice Cypher's disbarment case. This was a fantastic opportunity, as it allowed us to have a brief insight into the procedural elements of being removed from the Bar in Boston. However, the highlight of our visit to the Supreme Court was meeting one-on-one with an appeals judge. Speaking with the Judge gave me a better understanding of how the common law in the USA has developed from the common law system in England and Wales. We also discussed the very contemporary issue of gun laws, and I learned that Boston has some of the strictest gun laws in America. Most importantly though, my time in the State Supreme Court allowed me to understand more about how judiciaries in other jurisdictions operate. It was particularly interesting to learn about how the State Supreme Courts and the Federal Supreme Court work with one another to uphold the law, and how different states have different approaches to federal sentences, such as the death penalty.
Overall, the Global Experiences team provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime on this trip. From the get-go, the team were available to help us better understand the itinerary of the trip, equipping us weeks in advance with our schedule to look forward to. Sometimes, as a student, we can forget that our lecturers are anything other than just that; a lecturer. However, sharing the experiences on this trip with some of our lecturers helped to develop our relationships and really made us feel like a part of the university and Law School community together. The trip improved my relationships with university support staff, lecturers, and my fellow students. But more importantly, it has given me real-world experiences and opportunities to meet with professionals that I may not have otherwise had.