As a seasoned traveller, it only made sense for Dan Evans to study abroad to help him reach his career goals.
After completing his first degree as a French major at Western University, Dan decided to return to school a few years later to pursue a career in law. He spent 3 years studying abroad at Truman Bodden Law School in the Cayman Islands to gain international experience and begin a new career. Dan shared the highlights of his journey abroad with TalentEgg, touching on why he chose to return to school, the people he connected with on his trip, and how his experience led him to his career today.
Making plans for the Cayman Islands
Dan’s adventure to the Cayman Islands meant starting a new chapter in his life. He spent time as a pub musician for a few years after completing his first degree, but he eventually realized this wasn’t the career he wanted. Unsure what he wanted to do from there, he decided to return to school in 2010.
“My brother attended Truman Bodden Law School in 2008, and two years later I followed in his foot steps. We lived together in my first and his last year there,” Dan says.
The size of Truman Bodden was something that attracted Dan to the Cayman Islands. He was looking forward to studying at a small school – a stark contrast from his time at Western – because it meant he would be able to build close relationships with his classmates and professors.
Dan confesses he was also drawn to the relaxing lifestyle the Caribbean offered.
“Cayman Islands: enough said!” Dan adds. “When you were stressed, you could just find a beach and chill out.”
It took Dan a year to refine his study habits, but once he did, he realized he’d found the career he was looking for.
“I found the first year to be the toughest, as learning law is training your brain in a whole new way, much akin to learning a new language,” he says. “But by second and third year, I had a firm handle on how to learn the law properly.”
Building new connections
“I love diversity and learning about other cultures and ways of life. You tend to assimilate different colloquialisms, appreciate different accents, and explore interesting foods.” Dan Evans, 2015
International travel offers a great opportunity to build your network. For Dan, one of the biggest highlights of his trip was meeting new people from different walks of life. The area he lived in was filled with all sorts of cultures – some of his closest friends were from Britain, Australia, and South Africa, making them a diverse group. Dan found himself building new relationships easily in this lively area.
“I developed quite a few friendships with people outside the classrooms,” he says. “I met people while playing tennis, grabbing a pint at my local bar, or simply meeting friends of friends I had already made.”
The close-knit culture of Truman Bodden also helped Dan build some personal and professional relationships with professors and other students. In fact, Dan says he still keeps in touch with many of them today with the help of digital media.
“Over half of my Facebook friends are those I met while in Cayman!” Dan explains. “My tennis buddy came to visit me last summer, and I still see my other Canadian classmates from time to time.”
Dan’s top tips for studying abroad:
- Abandon your preconceived notions – “other than financial preparations and packing your clothes, just have an open mind and enjoy your experience!”
- Manage your time well – “you want to be able to balance both your studies and your social life.”
- Homesickness can make studying abroad seem hard at times – “but with technology such as Skype and FaceTime, homesickness can easily be overcome!”
Dan’s career today
Dan learned a lot about himself from travelling over the years, and it’s something he recommends to everyone to help with their personal development. He found his journey abroad was an extremely rewarding experience that helped him build a career in law as a mature student.
“The most important thing I learned while abroad was that it’s never too late in life to embark on a new endeavour,” Dan explains. “I’ve spoken with others in my field who have studied abroad, and they all feel that the experience makes you a well-rounded lawyer”
As an aspiring career professional, Dan feels as though there’s always more for him to learn. His goal is to be called to the bar in Ontario before 2016 so he can specialize in Personal Injury Law and help as many clients as possible with his legal skills.
“I would recommend this experience to anyone who is leaning towards attending law school.” Dan says. “Truman Bodden Law School in the Cayman Islands is my alma mater, and I will cherish my memories there for the rest of my life.”