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Crossed interview: A&O Fellows Joana and Emily share their experience

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Published on Tuesday, 05 April 2022

Joana Pereira Cardoso and Emily Walsh are both Bachelor students studying Law. They are also the first students at the Faculty of Law, Economcis and Finance (FDEF) to have been chosen as Allen & Overy Fellows. While Joana, a Luxembourg native studying within the Bachelor en Droit, left for Paris on her mobility semester, Emily came to Luxembourg from Ireland where she studies Civil Law and Irish at University College Cork.

The Allen & Overy Fellowship and Scholarship supports high-achieving Bachelor students during their mobility semester, awarding one outgoing and one incoming student with a generous grant and the opportunity to undertake an internship within the firm’s Luxembourg office. In this crossed interview, Joana and Emily talked to us about their experiences as exchange students. 

How did you choose your destinations? 

Joana chose her destination, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, pragmatically. “I wanted to go to a country with a legal system that is similar to Luxembourg because I wanted the classes to be useful for my current degree,” Joana says. “France was my choice because of that and also because of the language. Since I am fluent in French, I would have no problem understanding the classes but at the same time, living in France would allow me to improve my skills.” Joana was also attracted to reputation of her host institution, saying “The renommée of the University was also one of the reasons I chose to apply to Paris 1, and the fact that it would eventually help me if I decided to go there for my Master degree.”

For Emily, whose chosen destination was Luxembourg, the decision hinged on several factors, including the proximity of the Court of Justice of the European Union and other European Institutions, the course offerings in French, Luxembourg’s central location in Europe and the renowned, international law firms based in Luxembourg. However, Emily also considered the unique way that Law is taught at the University of Luxembourg. “The first reason is that many of the courses in Bachelor en Droit have a transnational approach, which I thought would be extremely interesting as I had never studied or compared various jurisdictions in this way before,” Emily explains.


What surprised you about life in Luxembourg/Paris? 

Life in Luxembourg has held a few surprises, namely the multilingual environment. “Seeing this type of communication first-hand really inspired me to work on my French,” says Emily. “I would love to be able to chat fluently as I feel languages can open many doors in terms of work, travel and also socially and for making friends.” Emily was also pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome she received from the Erasmus Student Network, who organised activities and outings where she met other exchange students and discovered Luxembourg and the Greater Region. 

In Paris, Joana traded the relative calmness and quiet of Luxembourg for a more metropolitan lifestyle. “The lifestyle is a bit chaotic and hectic. Coming from Luxembourg, I was not used to that. In the beginning, I had to get used to taking the RER or the metro and it being absolutely packed.” Not only was the RER packed, but Joana also had to get used to larger class sizes, “I was also surprised by the quantity of students in the auditoriums for class, Joana says. “I have had to sit on the stairs or the floor during class because there were no more seats. The classes were huge compared to our class in Luxembourg.” 

What do you hope the future holds? 

“My goal at the moment is to finish my Bachelor degree this summer,” says Joana. After that, I would like to continue my studies at the University of Luxembourg by entering the European Law LL.M. Another possibility would be to do a Business Law Master in France.” 

For Emily, her ultimate career goal is “to be successful and happy in my job.” She doesn’t know, however, exactly how she will accomplish this. “I am eager to make use of my Irish and French alongside with my law degree, so a career within the European Union Institutions is an avenue I would like to explore.” Emily further explains that she also has an interest in litigation and working in the courts, although she has not yet had the opportunity to experience this role in person. 


How has the Allen & Overy Fellowship helped you pursue your goals? 

Joana, who has worked part-time to finance her studies since the beginning, tells us that “receiving the scholarship meant I was able to enjoy my mobility without having to work at the same time. I was able to fully concentrate on classes and I also had enough free time to meet new people and enjoy Paris.”

Emily touches upon the value of the internship she completed during her mobility semester which, she says has been a “hands-on and eye-opening experience to life in a law firm.” Emily adds, “It has been an incredibly enjoyable experience so far, with team members who are always there to help or answer any questions. But it has also been a realistic experience to the challenges faced and the long hours that can be required. Therefore, the internship was an incredible opportunity to truly experience this type of career.”

We wish both Joana and Emily all the best for their studies, and in their future careers!


For more information about the Allen & Overy Fellowship and Scholarship, please visit our webpage.