Saige Kelsey

Saige Kelsey
Saige Kelsey recommends choosing courses and extracurricular activities that align with your passions.

I chose to study law at ANU because I loved the flexibility that the double degree program offered and I heard great things about the student lifestyle in Canberra. Having not lived in Australia prior to university, choosing ANU was a roll of the dice, but I am so grateful I made the choice that I did.

Canberra is a great student city because it’s got everything you could need in a city but with a relaxed, laid back feel. As someone who moved to Canberra after growing up overseas, I love how the city is so knowable and inviting and so quickly makes you feel at home.

The highlight of my degree was doing the law exchange program. I went to Radboud University in the Netherlands to study at their international and EU law faculty. I got the opportunity to travel, meet new friends and experience student life in another country. On top of that, it was really fascinating to see how law school, and university in general, is like overseas. Despite my exchange being cut short due to Covid-19, I could not recommend it more. If you have even the slightest inkling that you would like to go on exchange at some point in your degree, take the risk—I guarantee it will be an unforgettable experience. Oh, and save your electives!

A course I’d recommend is the International Law Clinic (LAWS4302). The first half of the course was spent engaging in weekly presentations and discussions with professionals and eminent minds in international law. The second half of the course was spent completing a clinical project with a partner, on a topical issue facing international law. I loved how we were introduced to a variety of international law professionals who all had their own unique careers and interest areas. It showed me how many ways you can apply yourself with this degree. Eight students participated in this course, and I really appreciated the small, intimate learning experience because it meant that you could develop a relationship with your classmates and convener (as opposed to courses with large lectures and tutorials). This translated into how supported I felt while completing the clinical project, as we could turn to our convener for guidance whenever required.

This experience really helped me find my footing in law school and helped me become more sure of myself and my path after law school. This course also opened me up to more opportunities. For example, I recently participated in a research project for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This was a partnership with students from ANU, the University of Cebu and the University of Hawaiʻi in which we completed a report on the implementation of the CITES treaty in the Philippines and submitted these findings to the World Commission on Environmental Law. This semester I also got the opportunity to be a student editor for the forthcoming edition of the Australian Yearbook of International Law. These were two fantastic opportunities that I would not have been open to prior to completing the international law clinic. Of course, if you’re not interested in international law there are plenty of other clinical courses on offer!

During the course of my degree, I learnt that no one path through law school and beyond is the same. If you don’t know what you want to do after university, don’t stress (too much); it’s basically a rite of passage. Choose the courses and extracurricular activities that interest you and don’t box yourself into any one area or direction just because you think it’s the only way forward.

After graduating I plan to take some time off and recharge after five years of studying. Then, I hope to do…more studying! I will hopefully complete a master’s in international law with a focus in international environmental law and then apply myself overseas in this space.

My advice for new students is above all, take care of yourself and others around you. Law school is a marathon and can be challenging and exhausting at times. Build a strong support network, whether that be fellow law students and professors, friends and family or the support services available to students. Make sure that you reach out for help whenever you feel you’re struggling. And invest in warm clothes (you’re going to need them)!

Ready to start your Bachelor of Laws (Hons) study at ANU? Learn more here.

Saige Kelsey

Bachelor of Laws (Hons)
Bachelor of International Relations
Degree Type

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team