News & Views

Stockholm versus Berlin

13 February 2019

Sophie is currently a Thesis Trainee in our IP & Tech group. She finished her law studies in Berlin in 2017, specialized in IP law, and moved to Stockholm in September last year to attend the master program in intellectual property law at the Stockholm University and further to have the opportunity to live abroad and get to know a new culture and new people. We asked Sophie about her future plans, and how Sweden differs from Germany in terms of law studies and everyday life.

What do you think about the everyday life in Sweden? Is there any differences compared to Germany?
My everyday life here in Stockholm compared to Berlin is not fundamentally different, but I can recognize small but fine differences. One of the reasons I left Berlin was that almost everything there is about being different from the others and the more you stand out the better. In Stockholm I have the feeling that it is rather the opposite. The only time I do stand out is when I don’t use these self-scanners in the supermarket and everyone is wondering why I voluntarily go to the cashier to all the others without a person nummer and therefore without a self-scanner… Speaking of supermarkets: even if I miss the wine department one or the other time, the department with the cinnamon buns and all the other wonderful pastries compensates this. What surprised me very much at the onset of winter was that Swedes adapt to the conditions without complaining. If it gets darker every day earlier, more lights are simply switched on. If the roads are not cleared when it snows, spikes are simply strapped under the shoes (or you just stand up again after you fall). If the public transport doesn't drive anymore at the first frost break, the poor employee at the platform isn't made guilty for it, but it is just quietly waited on. In the end, I am really happy that I chose Stockholm for my year abroad and hope that I can take some of the Swedish mentality with me to Berlin.

You have experienced law studies in both Sweden and Germany. Which one do you prefer?
I think it's difficult to draw a direct comparison between my entire law studies in Germany and the Master's programme here in Sweden, which specialises in a particular field. That also makes it very difficult for me to choose one of them, because a mix of both would be what I would prefer. If I would have to clinch one, I would go with the German law studies. Even though the Master's programme has a number of important advantages, such as the small number of course participants, the continuous assessments during the semester, the close contact to the professors who came from all over Europe in my Master's programme, studying law in Germany offers me more advantages. Since in Germany exams are only held at the end of the semester and there is no compulsory attendance or assessments during the semester, you have to motivate yourself more to learn during the semester and be very disciplined, but you also have more time to really internalize the contents. And because all the subjects of all previous semesters are tested again in the final exam, the material is repeated several times. Nevertheless, I think that it is the mix of both law studies that will hopefully prepare me well for the future.

What are your plans after your master studies?
Even though I wish I could stay here in Sweden for another year, as I feel that it takes more than ten months to get to know a country and also to learn the language, I have to go back to Berlin in June. In order to finish my education in Germany, I have to complete my legal clerkship for another two years, which will probably start in November this year. I would like to use the time between the master studies and the legal clerkship to do an internship in the creative sector to get to know the industry from the other side. Afterwards, I will work in various courts, in a law firm and also in an electoral station as part of my clerkship. During my studies in Berlin, I discovered my interest and passion for IP law, especially copyright law, and the master's degree here in Stockholm only strengthened my commitment. Therefore, I would like to work in this field, whether in a law firm or a legal department in a company I do not yet know, as both offer interesting opportunities. But what I am sure about is, which my time here in Sweden has made it clear to me, that I would like to go abroad again during my professional career and since IP law often has international aspects, I hope this opportunity will arise.

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