Our grantees| Barbora Smékalová| The second year of studies ends
30. August 2019 Barbora Smékalová

The second year of studies ends

Almost two months have passed since the day I wrote the final exam of the second year of my bachelor's degree. I spent the end of March writing a dissertation about the extradition of persons to countries which infringe the prohibition of torture laid down in international treaties. Despite choosing the topic myself, I lost more hair and mental well-being before the deadline than I originally anticipated. In April and partly in May, I prepared for the remaining three exams; each one was two to four essays long. If we ignore shopping in Tesco, I spent this period on five square metres of my room at a student's hall. Very soon, I will receive the results, and I am suspensefully awaiting whether examiners managed to decipher my somewhat illegible handwriting.

I wrote two exams in an unusually beautiful and reassuring space of an art gallery which I pass every day on my way to campus. It is located in the Mile End Park, and its glass frontage overlooks a smooth surface of a small lake. During exam day, the calm atmosphere of the gallery contrasted with the nervous chatting of students and rustling of papers filled with notes. By the gallery, there were groups of students holding underlined statute books and most of them with big bags under their eyes. Professors who taught us the given subject throughout the year came to support us. Their strolling across the room and looks into the answer sheets caused the students to feel nervous rather than reassured.
The day after I wrote the final exam, I flew back to the Czech Republic to compensate for the lack of light, exercise, social contact and rest that I had experienced in April. Initially, I planned to spend the following academic year in the Netherlands, but that was, unfortunately, not among the options this year. I contemplated an alternative offer of a year at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. Despite the high quality of the university, I could not create such a timetable from the available subjects that would persuade me to extend my studies by one year. In September, I will, therefore, begin my third and final year of the bachelor’s degree at Queen Mary and would like to continue with a master's degree in law at one of the British universities.
In May, we selected subjects for next year. Apart from the mandatory Jurisprudence and Legal Theory, I look forward the most to Public International Law. I also decided to write another dissertation, this time in the extent of 15,000 words, probably from lack of sleep or momentary insanity. That said, I managed to find a willing professor who will supervise my work, and the faculty approved my one-page description of the dissertation. I chose a topic from International Criminal Law. Although I am not terribly familiar with this area yet, I take it as a challenge and look forward to what the academic year 2019/2020 will bring.
I want to thank The Kellner Family Foundation for their support without which I would not have been able to finish this academic year.


Back to homepage