After my Bachelor's, I knew that I was really interested in EU and international law and that I wanted to study in a two-year Master's programme. I applied to the University of Helsinki because Global Governance Law fit perfectly with my Bachelor studies in Political Science and International Law, and because I always wanted to live in the Nordics. The international ambitions of the degree programme and the welcoming atmosphere, including the lecturers and professors, were very important to me – and proved their relevance during my studies.
What stood out to me the most was the variety of areas the courses cover. I believe this allows everyone to find an area that they are particularly interested in and into which they want to delve deeper into in their Master's thesis. Moreover, I like the flexibility the programme gives you, and the research-based approach. Especially in the realm of international law it is extremely important to develop good argumentative skills not just orally, but also in writing.
Firstly, the international atmosphere in the programme is very unique. It gives a new perspective to many areas that we study, and creates an opportunity for very fruitful classroom discussions. Because so many of us did our Bachelor degrees in different countries, the level of knowledge is not always the same, but allows us to help each other and spend time together also outside the classroom.
I did my internship at the European Court of Auditors in Luxembourg for 5 months. It was an incredible experience for me, allowing me to really use my academic knowledge hands-on at the EU institution. Me and my team conducted a Review on the EU Commission's Rule of Law Report. This meant that I was concerned with a very political area of the Court's work. I was entrusted with a lot of responsibility by my co-workers, and I know it allowed me to grow a lot professionally and personally. I would really recommend it warmly to anyone who is considering doing a traineeship with one of the EU institutions or agencies.
I am writing my thesis on the Recovery and Resilience Facility of the EU, which was created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I will focus on the transparency framework and how it differs from other financial tools of the current MFF. Moreover, I will specifically focus on Italy in my analysis.
I chose this topic with my supervisor, first because it is an extremely novel instrument, thus giving me the chance to really contribute to the policy discussion, and second, it's an exciting opportunity for me to look at the law of the EU from an economic/financial POV. Before in my work and studies I focused a lot on the rule of law - connecting it with transparency now will be very interesting to delve deeper into.
I’m planning to graduate in the Spring of 2024. Having worked in Luxembourg for 6 months already and having an international audit background, I have been recruited by EY Luxembourg. Although my main area of interest is international organizations and intergovernmental fora, I am extremely grateful to gain more experience at the big four, also because I believe I will benefit a lot from the industry insight before eventually going into the public sector. I’m also very confident that my degree in Global Governance Law is preparing me very well for this role.
To go into it very open-minded, and you’ll be able to meet great students throughout your studies here. Be prepared to write a lot, and have fewer written or oral exams – that is something a lot of us, especially those who studied abroad were not fully prepared for, I think. Overall, just enjoy your time here, study well but also enjoy Helsinki and the surrounding areas, it will all go way faster than you expect!
After graduating from undergraduate law studies in the UK, I wished to return to Finland for my Master studies. The Global Governance Law-programme had just launched, and the international overlook and non-doctrinal approach to law seemed like a perfect fit for me. Studying law and governance that is applicable across borders was a great opportunity to not only jump from one legal system to another, but also to build from my previous studies.
Students are given a lot of freedom to dig deeper into the areas that interest them. That became evident in multiple courses where the essay topics were freely chosen by the students, within the limits of the course topic. For example, I was able to write about law and technology in almost every course. Of course, the freedom came with the ‘cost’ of independence. We were challenged and trusted to ensure the execution of independent work, in the form of reading and research alike, while support was available if needed. I felt that this was very fitting for Master-level studies.
During the first year I completed an internship as a research assistant in the University of Helsinki Erik Castrén Institute. I’ve been interested in academia for some time, and the low threshold opportunity to see the work that academics do more closely was an eye-opening experience. While it ensured that academia is the way to go for me, at the same it time helped with my studies. Master’s studies are not that far away from a full time research job if tackled headfirst.
I wrote about implications of technological design on access to documents in the European Commission. The idea came partly from my internship in ECI, where I was involved in research about access to EU institution documents. My interest towards the regulatory abilities of technology was combined with a new fascination with the execution of transparency and access to documents. While at first glance access to documents may seem like a dry subject, it really is fascinating to see how an age-old democratic principle becomes intertwined with political and economic interests.
I’m currently employed by the University of Helsinki as a PhD researcher in the Legal Tech Lab. Before I started my PhD, I worked as a research assistant in the ECI and the Legal Tech Lab for about three years altogether. Since this experience, I knew I wanted to pursue an academic career, and now I am in my first year of PhD research in a great research community. I have taken the topics that interest me to the next level, and I’m currently researching the infrastructural change of the state to digital and the legal effects of the employed technology. Becoming acquainted with the research community in Helsinki has been very rewarding, and the people are very nice and supportive.
For me, especially the theoretical foundations from my GGL degree have been great. I noticed my interests early on in my Master’s studies, which allowed me to concentrate on the issues that interest me most within each course topic. The ability to choose essay topics so freely was a great benefit to start building knowledge early on.
Discard expectations and come to your studies with an open mind. Law can be studied in other ways than just doctrinally. Listen to yourself and try to start unraveling what you are interested in. The programme will offer many topics and viewpoints, and you will learn a lot. If everything interests you, see which articles or book chapters are the ones that you just cannot stop reading, or which conversations are the ones that raise the most interest in you. By starting to recognize your own interests, you will be able to get the most out of the studies.
I did my Bachelor’s degree in EU law and I wanted to find a degree in which I could deepen my knowledge of EU law and also take courses on international law. GGL was the perfect combination of these two as it covered many different topics from both EU and international law. Moreover, I wanted to go abroad at some point of my degree and it was possible to do that during GGL.
My two favourite things about GGL are the comprehensive overview on different legal frameworks and topics and the flexibility of the programme. I was very excited to learn about all the different international law topics, but after my first year I realized that my main interest is EU law. I was able to design my second year according to my interests, which was one of the best things about the degree. In addition to the mandatory courses, I was able to take several optional EU law courses from the faculty of law and do an internship abroad.
I did my first internship in Brussels at the Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union and there I worked mainly with topics related to the internal market and competition law. It was fascinating to see how the European Union and especially the Council function in reality. Experiencing Brussels and the EU world was honestly a dream come true for me. My second internship was at the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, in which I got to see EU and international affairs from a more national perspective. Both of my internship experiences were amazing as I learned so much about how EU and international matters work in practice.
I wrote my Master’s thesis about the potential effectiveness of Article 102 TFEU and EU Digital Markets Act in regulating digital markets. During my bachelor’s degree I developed an interest towards EU competition law and EU internal market law and during GGL, my interest towards these topics only grew stronger. During my first year of GGL, I took an optional course on EU competition law & digital markets and there I realized quickly that I wanted to write my thesis about the Digital Markets Act.
After I graduated from GGL, I got a job at Nordea, which is one of the biggest banks in Finland and in the Nordics. More specifically, I work at Nordea’s Compliance unit. Most people who work in compliance are lawyers and I work quite a lot with different national and EU legislations, so my educational background in law has helped me remarkably.
I took optional courses already during the first year of GGL and personally, this worked very well for me. During my first year, I took a couple of optional courses that I could use as inspiration for my thesis topic. This made my thesis project in the second year quite easy, since I already knew what I wanted to research in my thesis. But more importantly, my number one advice is to enjoy your studies and student life in Helsinki!
I chose to study Global Governance Law because I found the content of the programme very exciting. It was important for me that I could also choose interdisciplinary courses, especially from the political field. In addition, I had already focused on international and European law during my studies in Germany, and the Global Governance Law-programme allowed me to deepen this knowledge even further. Furthermore, the Global Governance Law-programme, in my opinion, is a very unique programme, as the focus is not only on European law but also on international law, including political aspects.
What stood out for me in the Global Governance Law-programme was the support I received when writing my Master's thesis. I received a lot of guidance from the professors, and we had regular classes with all participants of the programme to give each other feedback. In terms of the University of Helsinki itself, I was very enthusiastic about the student organisations and their events. You experience a lot and get to know many students from other programmes – and of course, as a student from Germany, I was very fascinated by the Finnish haalari culture.
I completed my internship at the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki. After my internship, I worked there part-time as legal support. As I worked in the area of access to documents, I could see some parallels between my lectures at university and my own work. This showed me that I had chosen the right programme, because I could relate it to my practical working life. My internship also gave me an insight into the institutions of the European Union and how European law is applied in practice. It was a great experience working with colleagues from many different European countries in a multicultural environment.
My Master's thesis was about access to documents and the EU Regulation regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. I made a critical assessment of three European Union agencies and analysed their handling of access to documents requests and how these agencies contribute to transparency within the EU. I obtained my data through interviews with legal professionals from the European Chemicals Agency, Frontex and the European Medicines Agency and by submitting my own access to documents requests, in particular to the European ombudsman. I chose this topic because I myself worked on access to documents requests at the European Chemicals Agency and with the help of my master thesis I was able to analyse this topic from a different perspective, no longer from the point of view of the EU agency but from the point of view of an EU citizen.
I am currently working as a trainee lawyer for DLA Piper, a law firm that also has an office in Helsinki. I work in the litigation team. I chose to work for DLA Piper as it is a very international law firm with offices all over the world and the work is partly in English. By working for the litigation team, I also get the chance to go to court and assist the lawyers in preparing their court cases. Before my current work, I completed an internship at the European Commission after having a great experience working for the European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki.
Although in my current work I mostly work in the field of German law and not with European law, my GGL studies have taught me how to approach legal issues and how to analyse them, regardless of the law and area of law involved. Through my studies I got familiar with key English legal terms, which makes my current work for an international law firm much easier.
My advice to prospective Global Governance Law students is to enter the programme with an open mind, to take many courses that match your interests and choose essays on topics that fascinate you most – and enjoy the extracurricular activities offered by the student organisations!