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Isabelle Hoyet

Isabelle Hoyet

Isabelle is an international student who began studying for her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) LLB part-time in 2016. She’s faced multiple challenges, including English not being her first language, a lack of confidence, and chronic illness, but she’s on track to complete her degree in June 2022.

“I have always been interested in the law, especially in international law and human rights law.

“I began studying law after high school in 1993. I studied at Leiden University in the Netherlands where I live. But after a year, I switched to languages instead. Then, in 2011, I got a job at an international tribunal in the Netherlands. Since then, I’ve worked at two different international tribunals and I currently work at an international court.

“Working in this environment and with the encouragement of my colleagues, I decided to start studying law again, this time at The Open University.

“It’s going really well and, so far, I have got a distinction on all four of my modules! Before I started studying with the OU, I never thought this would be possible. I am used to the French education system, which in my opinion is very elitist. I was an average student, so I did not think that I would be a good university student.

“There have been many obstacles along the way, and there still are, which I have to overcome. When I started studying, I had a total lack of confidence in my own ability. I hoped I would pass the module, so it was a huge surprise when I got good grades and obtained my first distinction. This made me feel more confident and I realised that I could do this! Now, I am under a different kind of pressure, because my aim is to obtain a First-Class Honours.

“I am also an international student, so I can’t attend face‑to‑face tutorials or meet with other students. I always attend online tutorials and interact with students that way. I also travelled to the UK last year for a mooting workshop and mooting competition organised by the OU Law Society. In addition, I volunteer in online roles with the OU Students Association.

“Another challenge is that English is not my mother tongue. I am French and Dutch, and English is my third language. However, because I work in an international legal environment, I speak English on a daily basis and read legal documents in English, so it hasn’t been too problematic.

“I work full‑time and have things going on in my personal life, as well as some chronic health issues to deal with, so it can be quite challenging at times. I’ve found that with good planning and time management, it is absolutely possible to study part‑time and work full‑time.

“I feel that the OU has helped me discover my true potential. My tutors are always very supportive and are there for me when I need them. They are positive, encouraging and give constructive feedback which I use to improve my work. The Student Support Team is also very helpful whenever I need assistance.

“My studies have helped me to gain important legal knowledge, which in turn has helped me get a better understanding of the work of the judges and my colleagues at work.

“Achieving the LLB will potentially help me progress in my career. It will also give me the opportunity to do an LLM afterwards.”