But the Institute of Law, based at Highlands, is doing its bit to sustain relations with a successful ‘double degree’ in English and French law being offered to around 40 students from France.
The institute’s chief executive and Dean Dr Mark Humphreys said that the students were attracted by the combination of the University of London’s Bachelor of Law degree and the corresponding French qualification offered in conjunction with the European School of Law at Université Toulouse Capitole 1.
‘We are delighted to maintain strong links with our friends at Université Toulouse Capitole 1, and to welcome such a large number of keen and enthusiastic young law students to Jersey each year. Our vibrant learning community, made up of international and local Jersey students, enrich the academic and cultural life of the Institute, and indeed of the Island,’ Dr Humphreys said.
Third-year degree student Arthur Pregett has been struck both by the atmosphere of the Island as a place to study and the opportunities offered by a number of Jersey Law firms to gain experience. He is currently working for Baker and Partners and would like to remain in the Island for a time after obtaining his degree next year.
‘I didn’t want to be one of the thousands of students every year who graduate with a law degree. I wanted something special and that’s what the institute provides. I also wanted to improve my English which is important now and Jersey seemed like the perfect opportunity,’ he said.
First-year students Shirel Knafo and Ludivine Desourtheau began their student journey at the start of the present academic year, and both are enjoying the opportunities which the Island offers.
For all three students, the prospect of pursuing their degree in Jersey has helped put on the European map an island which might otherwise have escaped their attention – at least before the onset of the fishing crisis.
‘I wouldn’t have thought of visiting Jersey if it were not for studying here,’ Ms Knafo said. ‘It provides a place of study which is closer to home that others offering a double degree. I came late in the summer with my parents and we visited all of the Island – from one part to the other is completely different. Also we can surf,’ she added with a smile.
Ms Desourtheau offers a similar opinion on the Island based on her first three months in Jersey. ‘I always wanted to work in an international area, so I applied to many places and I chose Jersey because of the cost but also because there was a small group of students.
‘It’s not like we are a hundred people in a room and the teacher just talks – we can ask questions and we can meet the tutor if we need personal time with them, so it’s better for me. Also Jersey is very small, so it feels safe. I had never heard about the Island before applying to study here,’ she said.
And what of the impact of those tense international relations between the UK and France on the subject of fishing? Mr Pregett has been dealing with jokes from family members back in France which have evidently been spilling over into the work place. ‘I’ve had some jokes about it there too where they say they will fill me with Jersey fish,’ he said.
Ms Knafo may be at the very start of her professional journey but she has learned already how to deal with awkward questions. How does she regard the dispute as a French person living in Jersey?
‘It’s interesting to study it but I don’t feel that I have an opinion on it because I don’t fully understand it. It would be interesting to look into it and form an opinion but right now I don’t have enough information to have an opinion,’ she said before adding something that might give others some reassurance in these difficult times. ‘All publicity is good publicity.’