Study Abroad in Arizona

Thomas Wilmer – Law LLB (Hons)

My name is Tom Wilmer and from January to May 2023 I studied at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona while staying in the United States until June. Here at Surrey, I study Law (LLB) Hons, however, the opportunity of studying abroad allowed me to explore other academic areas as I enrolled on the much wider course of Politics, Philosophy and Law where I was allowed to choose modules from any of these three academic areas. 

At NAU I studied Philosophies of the World, Introduction to Politics, Politics of Developing Nations and Civil Liberties. These modules ranged in difficulty as some were first year modules while some were final year. I particularly enjoyed the module of Civil Liberties, this module was focused on the US Supreme Court, its cases and decisions relevant to the liberties and rights of the peoples of the US. It was so engaging and interesting to learn the history of the court and how their decisions have changed over time, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

The academic structure of the University differed vastly compared to what we know at Surrey. There were some similarities such as the online learning system which is very similar to what we know as Surreylearn. But overall, the teaching style is much more lecture based, they do not have ‘seminars’ or ‘tutorials’ as we would have, however, you are very much expected to participate in the lectures especially the smaller sized ones. Studying Law at Surrey means you are only really assessed at the end of the semester, at NAU you would be assessed over the course of the entire semester through a variety of different ways such as attendance, pop quiz’s, group projects, midterms and finals. Overall, I would say the workload however was significantly less that Surrey and easier with a lot of marks that can be banked early on.  

My favourite trip during my time at NAU was a three-day camping trip at the Grand Canyon. This was an opportunity provided by the university costing around £200. This price is significantly cheaper than it would have been to organise the trip myself, plus you are with people who have been to the Grand Canyon many times and are able to show you the best parts in a few days. Our activities included hiking down the canyon, watching the sun rise over the canyon and taking some amazing photos at great locations.  

I would recommend anyone to study abroad at NAU or elsewhere, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that teaches you responsibility while having an amazing time. It is truly something I believe everyone should do should they get the chance.