Bond Law School student explains why he chose to study in Australia
OzTREKK had the opportunity last week to speak with Basil Bansal, an OzTREKK student who recently graduated with a Juris Doctor (JD) from Bond Law School.
We know you love hearing about former students’ opinions and experiences, and Basil has some good ones! Read on to find out how he enjoyed the JD program at Bond, his tips about finding an articling position, and much more!
Why did you want to become a lawyer?
Since I was in about Grade 10 I discovered I was a strong debater and had a huge knack for public speaking. I expanded on these skills throughout high school and my undergraduate degree as a political science major. Additionally, having several uncles and older cousins in the legal profession helped expand my interest into wanting to become a lawyer.
What made you choose Australia as the place to earn your degree?
I always wanted to get an international experience, but unfortunately did not have that chance for my undergrad. I knew I wanted to study law and did not see myself pursuing much further education, so I knew if I wanted the international experience it would have to be now. I chose Australia specifically because I wanted a country where English was still the main language and that was safe. Of course, the warm Aussie weather was a huge attraction!
Why did you choose Bond Law School?
Bond Law offers an accelerated law degree—the two-year Juris Doctor—and offers electives in Canadian law that help avoid the requirement to write equivalency exams in order to come back and practice law in Canada.
What was the course like? Describe your typical day.
While being in Australia was great, the law program was not easy. I had to spend many hours studying to keep on top of the assigned readings and to prepare notes. While classes usually only ran about four days a week, days off were often spent in the library or elsewhere on campus preparing for exams. I often made it a policy to study actively until about 7 p.m. every day, and afterwards I would unwind by watching some television or meet with friends for dinner or at local pub to shoot some pool. Despite all the work, I tried to go to the beach at least once a week to take in some surf or just lounge on the beach and relax.
Were there lots of Canadians in your program?
Starting in the September semester at Bond University and doing the JD program meant that there were a lot of Canadians in my program. We actually outnumbered the Australians as most of them pursue the LLB. It was a bit disappointing not interacting with as many Australians in class, but it did not bother me. It was actually good being surrounded by so many Canadians because we all shared a lot of information about deadlines and tasks to complete when it came to preparing to come back home.
What has been your favourite part? Least favourite part?
I would say my most favourite part was traveling the country and seeing the diversity of geography the country had to offer. My least favourite part was rain that would drench you during the short walk to campus or walking from one building to another!
Did you join any clubs/activities? Should future students consider joining clubs?
I was the president of the Canadian Law Students’ Association (Bond CLSA), the publications director for the Law Students’ Association, and the treasurer for the South Asian Alliance. Despite being busy with school, I would say that being a part of these three clubs helped me organize my time better. Being with these clubs allowed me to meet many great Australians and other international students who I can say are my lifelong friends and people I would like to meet with again.
How was it to find accommodation?
Finding accommodation was fairly simple. OzTREKK provides a list of great residences that are within walking distance of campus. You can book most of these places prior to going to Australia, and if you don’t like the place, the great thing is that most leases are only four months long so you can change you accommodation after the first semester.
Do you have advice for Canadian students who would like to study law?
Bond University is different from most Canadian universities with professors having great open-door policies and being available for students outside the classroom. Take advantage of this opportunity and get to know your professors well so that you can learn the material better. Find ways outside the classroom to meet other international students—and of course, the Aussies. You’ll learn about many other cultures and they will learn from you. It’s also important for you to take some time away from the books to enjoy the many sights and activities around the Gold Coast and the rest of Australia.
Do you have any articling advice?
While getting an articling position in Canada after coming back with an international law degree may be difficult, it is not impossible. Take advantage of connections you may have in the law community back home and make it a habit to keep in touch with them via email and try to meet with them when you are back home for holidays—even if its just for a coffee. If you don’t know anyone in the legal profession, the graduate development staff at Bond University keep in touch with the growing network of alumni of Bondies in Canada. Stop by their office and ask for their assistance on resume and interview preparation and ask if they can put you in touch with a graduate in your respective city. While I didn’t know many Bond graduates in my home city of Edmonton, I was able to find an articling position at a firm where another Bondie was already working.
What did you think of OzTREKK’s services?
Applying to Bond University via OzTREKK was a great help. I simply submitted all my documents to them free of charge and they took care of the application process. I got my confirmation of acceptance quickly.
When it came time to move to Australia OzTREKK was a great source in terms of providing information for health care, accommodation, banking, and information for other day-to-day needs that Canadians may need to start their education at Bond and in Australia.
Upon arrival in Australia, OzTREKK runs a shuttle for a couple days during Orientation Week from various residences around the campus area to local malls and supermarkets so that we could buy house/school supplies, set up our bank accounts, and set up our cell phones. Sometime during that week, OzTREKK hosts a barbecue lunch or dinner, which allows students to meet other Canadians in their cohort. This is a great service that the company provides and I hope people continue to use their services.
About Bond University
The vision of Bond University is to be Australian in character yet international in perspective.
Bond University defines internationalization throughout policy and practice as ensuring that
- international students have a quality university experience;
- all graduates are prepared to work and function in contexts throughout the world; and
- the university provides leadership for global relations.
In this global context, many Canadians decide to study at Bond, as Juris Doctor program is a professional legal qualification designed to equip students for a career in the legal profession, business, industry or government, in Australia and overseas. This law program features excellent teaching, small classes and an extensive legal skills program, which provides an exciting learning experience that challenges students academically and prepares them practically for a legal career.
Program: Juris Doctor
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland
Semester intake: January, May, September
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: There is no official application deadline. OzTREKK recommends that students apply at least three months prior to the program start date.