This semester, Bob Griffith, third-year law student, is studying at a sister Jesuit law school in Spain, Universidad Pontifica Comillas de Madrid. This study abroad program gives Creighton law students the chance to live and learn in the Spanish capital city—and to learn alongside Comillas students in the classroom.
Griffith recently took time out from his studies to answer a few questions on his experience.
What courses are you taking during your semester in Spain and will they be fully transferable to your course of study at Creighton law?
I’m taking master’s level law courses that are fully transferable for my law degree at Creighton. All classes here are taught on a pass/fail basis and I’m taking competition law (more commonly known as anti-trust law in the U.S.), public international law, private international law, international criminal law, environmental law, European Union (EU) law and a Spanish language course.
My favorites this semester are international criminal law and EU law. EU law is particularly good because it’s interesting to learn how the law in Europe operates. All my classes are in English but taught by Comillas professors.
What is it about Comillas that appealed to you and how long are you there?
I liked the fact it’s located in the heart of Madrid and is also a Jesuit school. It is widely considered to be the best university in Madrid and one of the top schools in Spain. I fly home Dec. 24.
Where are you living? Was there assistance in finding housing?
I’m renting a flat through Airbnb and share it with the owner. Comillas does not have any residence halls for students and most Spanish students live at home. Comillas does direct international exchange students to an independent placement agency that rents out flats, but generally getting your accommodations is something you have to figure out on your own.
What are the biggest differences you notice between law school at Creighton and law courses at Comillas?
Group work and student presentations are prevalent here, as opposed to the Socratic method that is used in U.S. law schools. The setting is also much less formal than in the U.S., with students interrupting the professor mid-lecture, and the concept of being called on doesn’t exist.
What is the biggest difference you notice between American law students and those from other countries?
The most obvious has been age. Outside of the U.S., it seems that the general law program is five years long, but starts as soon as you finish high school. Because of this, most students in my program from outside the U.S. or Canada are 19 or 20 years old. Unlike in the U.S., law is not a separate graduate-level degree, but more an undergraduate major.
Do you have a mentor at Comillas?
My constitutional law professor at Comillas is someone I can turn to if I have problems with exam scheduling or understanding professors, but I have also formed good relationships with two other professors here as well.
What are your career aspirations after law school and do you think your time at Comillas will play a role in them?
I’d like to practice in commercial real estate development and construction law. I have clerked the past two summers in this area and really enjoyed it. I think my time here at Comillas is beneficial in providing me with some background in international business practices that will come in handy.