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Student Profile: John Reynold Valdez Torrez


LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights

How did you find out about Warwick?

I discovered Warwick in my search for master programmes in Human Rights through one online platform called LLM Guide. After narrowing my search down, I look at the selected universities in consideration of the World and UK rankings of the Times Higher Education (THE), and I found out that Warwick was among the top 10 universities in the UK.

Did you consider applying anywhere else? What made you choose Warwick?

I considered other options outside the UK at the Central European University in Hungary and the Lund University in Sweden. Besides, I had offers from other two universities in the UK, the University of Nottingham and the University of Leeds, but I accepted Warwick’s offer. Most of my friends studied at universities in the US, Latin America and France, however, I have also friends that studied in UK universities, such as the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol.

I always pursued the dream of doing a Master of Laws abroad after completing my Bachelor’s degree in Bolivia. This desire became even more intense after my two job experiences at the public sector of Bolivia within the field of human rights (Ministry of Justice and Institutional Transparency and the State General Attorney Office). The range of masters available for my intended field of specialisation were broad, making challenging to decide.

I tried to narrow my search by focusing on programmes offered by world top universities. In this process I discovered the LLM in International Development Law and Human Rights offered by the University of Warwick. I started to dig more deeply into the modules offered and the professors involved in the master, and I ended up delighted for the programme’s alternative and challenging approach towards the concept of human rights, which is analysed in consideration of the contemporary global issues affecting developing countries. Both aspects influenced my final decision of Warwick as my desired academic destination.

How was the application process?

I did my application online. The online platform was user friendly and had well planned information, which allowed me to submit my application with no difficulties.

Have you received any funding?

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK through the international award scheme Chevening Scholarships, which gathers future leaders and influencers from almost 160 countries in the world.

How was your arrival? What were your first impressions of campus?

The campus was full of life with people moving from one place to another to participate in the several Welcome Week events. My first impression was the friendly attitude of staff and students in orange t-shirts that helped providing some useful information about the university services and facilities. I felt a bit overwhelmed for all the activities that were taking place at the same time all around campus, but I enjoyed the experience since it introduced me to a new kind of academic environment that challenged my previous ideas studying abroad.

What is the best thing about studying at Warwick?

It is difficult to pinpoint a single element since Warwick offers a full range of enriching experiences for undergraduate and postgraduate students. The university provides plenty of opportunities for developing your talents and skills (either hard or soft skills), while it endeavours to create new spaces to make the most of your university life. However, one of the things that I value the most about Warwick is the open class environment that it provides in which the professors hold open discussions with the students based on mutual respect and mutual understanding. This ultimately enriches the debates around the contemporary contents addressed in class, adding a plus value to the high quality education provided in the Masters.

How is your accommodation?

My accommodation is on campus, which makes easier for me to go to my classes, the library, and the different facilities around campus that hold a diverse range of events, such as workshops, recreational activities and academic seminars. I enjoy the location of my accommodation because is replenished with several green spaces, which contrasts the buildings and advanced facilities of the university.

Have you joined any clubs or societies?

I am part of the Law Society which organises several events for the undergraduate and postgraduates’ students of the School of Law. I have also joined volunteer programmes through Warwick Volunteers for helping homeless people and conserving the green spaces around the West Midlands area.

Have you managed to travel at all during your studies?

Coventry is in one of the central areas of England which gives access to several other regions of the UK, making transportation easier and cheaper compared to other locations. Since the beginning of my master programme until now, I had the opportunity to visit at least 8 cities in the United Kingdom, and I am still looking forward to travelling to other regions.

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

I plan to come back to Bolivia to work either at the public sector, NGOs or any international organisation developing public policies and carrying out projects focused on the rule of law promotion and/or environmental sustainability. I am also interested in participating in or helping to establish inclusive platforms for the involvement of young Bolivians in the pressing issues affecting Bolivia with the aim of promoting their political and social involvement as alternative to conventional forms of governance and democratic processes in the country.

What makes you happiest about being a student at Warwick?

Warwick is well known for its multicultural environment, giving you the chance to meet people from different backgrounds and cultures, which ultimately changes your perception of the world.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying?

Think outside the box. From my experience I could say that generally students take decisions on their future career based on the apparently existent job supply or misjudged assumptions over specialisation programmes. In fact, some of the careers that are pursued by young students are massively oversupplied, making it harder to find a job. Other students regret undertaking certain degrees because they find the contents somewhat different to what they expected in the beginning.

Forget about the current stereotypes surrounding the most famous careers or conventional Masters degrees, and take a decision based upon your preferences, former experiences, and a well-informed search. You may be missing important opportunities just because they involve taking non-conventional paths; however, if history has shown us something, it is that change and innovation is driven by individuals that break the status quo coming up with ideas that are not the generally accepted ones. Try to take the same approach when deciding over your future.