International Law Study Tour – Day 1, Mannheim, Germany

Authors: Holly, Seb and Ashleigh
After 36 hours of cramped airplane seats, catching up on the movies we didn’t watch while studying this year, stopping for Starbucks in Dubai and successfully navigating the German train system (they don’t always run on time) arriving in 5 degree Mannheim was certainly refreshing. The cold weather and promise of some kind of hearty German meal after innumerable plane meals coaxed us into the necessary layers of warmth to take an early evening stroll by the Rhein to visit the 18th century palace that houses the University of Mannheim. Prof Dr Oliver Brand, took us through the University’s Law School, filling the well-warmed and brightly coloured rooms with his musical voice and historical anecdotes.

Tuesday morning brought the first parts of the ‘study’ element of the tour: lectures on Insurance Liability and European Takeover Law. Although not immediately suggestive of exciting content, the classes held were enjoyable and a great introduction into the areas of comparative law and European Law. Questions were asked and answers attempted: is liability insurance a de facto element of tort? Did that guy mean to break the other soccer player’s legs? The subject matter covered in the insurance law lecture was quite refreshing as no-one in the course had dealt with many of these issues before, let alone in the German context. Prof Dr Brand, renowned for his engaging lecture style, did not disappoint and was not only super informative but managed to pique everyone’s interest in returning to Mannheim in the future to take the insurance course run at the university. European Takeover Law saw us stepping into our Gordon Gekko wingtips to look at the way the EU deals with the competing interests of SYNERGY, nationalism, and corporate greed.

The day’s activities did not relate solely to academic pursuits. The afternoon heralded some free time for shopping, H&M being the main attraction, trying out our limited German with patient baristas, and exploring the sights of ‘old’ Mannheim. Although the buildings of Mannheim look like they were built in the 17th or 18th century, with all the Baroque symmetry you’d expect, as most of the city was destroyed by bombing in WWII many of the buildings are historically accurate and better insulated recreations.

Later that evening, everyone prepared their warmest clothes to travel to Heidelberg’s renowned Christmas markets. The quaint city (feat. bridge, victory arch, and valley) put on a show as the streets, lined with Christmas lights and stalls, welcomed us all with hot and spicy mulled wine and an array of traditional food options. The locals basked in the cold while we huddled like chubby penguins, wearing as many layers of clothing as possible — though the cold was an excellent excuse to have a local mulled wine (‘glühwein’.) None of us braved the local ice skating rink but many of the group were descended upon by an inexplicable merriment, despite it still only being November.

Dubai airport where students caught up with emails and pre-lecture recordings

Cornelia Koch, speaking to the class

University of Mannheim

Heidelberg Christmas Markets

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