'It was sort of a validation of the work I'd put in'

Malaysian scholarship winner, Jeevitha Thurai, on psychology, a surprise phone call, and Criminal Minds
Malaysian scholarship winner, Jeevitha Thurai
Jeevitha Thurai: "I just told myself, well, I'll put in the work and whatever happens, happens."
In Malaysia, because of the similarities in our legal systems, a University of London law degree is really valued

Jeevitha Thurai studied at Advance Tertiary College for the first year of her LLB. Awarded the Malaysian LLB scholarship, she is currently in the second year of her LLB at King's College London, where she will complete the degree. 

I wanted to do a joint degree in both psychology and law, but I couldn't find a degree like that. So I started with psychology and did that for four years, including two years in Perth, Australia. Then I did law as my second undergraduate degree.

I've always wanted to study law. I'm interested in forensics and human behaviour and how it relates to criminal activities.

I really loved studying law at ATC. It's sort of what you imagine law to be – interesting courses like contract and criminal law, common law and public law, which includes elections and that sort of thing. So it's a bit of an overview. And then the second year gets more technical: property law, tort, trusts and things like that.

"Law really depends on psychology, because when you enact these laws you have to foresee how people will react to something."

What was really interesting about the first year was that I got an overview of how law works in different areas of your life, and how important it was to understand human behaviour in general. And this was really interesting for me, coming from a psychology background. Law really depends on psychology, because when you enact these laws you have to foresee how people will react to something.

We had really good lecturers. We had about 20 people in class, so the classes were pretty small. The lecturers were also available on social media, so any time I had a question it was really easy to ask on Facebook. It was great.

At the start of every year, our lecturers would tell us that there's a scholarship and one person gets it. I never worked towards it in that way. A lecturer actually came up to me in the middle of the semester and asked me if I was trying for it and I said that it seemed really hard and it was only one student from Malaysia. I just told myself, well, I'll put in the work and whatever happens, happens.

"(On winning the Malaysian LLB scholarship): I was really happy, because it was sort of a validation of the work that I'd put in. And my parents were really proud – I was happier for them than I was for myself!"

When a call came from Simon (Askey, Deputy Director, Undergraduate Laws Programme), I was really surprised. Simon called my parents and when I came home they said the University of London called and I thought, oh wow, I got the highest mark in one subject, maybe. And then they said you got the scholarship. It was completely unexpected! I was really happy, because it was sort of a validation of the work that I'd put in. And my parents were really proud – I was happier for them than I was for myself! 

I thought King’s was really pretty: the structure and the architecture. London has a certain charm to it.

Studying at King's is quite different from ATC. First of all, the University of London International Programmes syllabus is different from the King's internal law programme. That took a while to get used to. I found it kind of overwhelming at the start, and then a friend said you should apply for a personal tutor – everyone gets allocated one, but I didn't get one because I came to London two weeks after term started. So I had to apply for one at the Law School, and it really helps to know that there's someone I can go to. I had a huge backlog of reading to do and tutorials were ongoing, so it was really difficult. 

I'm really enjoying 'Law of trusts', which is quite surprising for me as I didn't think that I would like it. I like new stuff – you learn new subjects every year. It's a lot of information and at the end of it you know so much. That's the best part of it! 

In the best case scenario, I would like to do something like Criminal Minds – that sort of behavioural analysis. But it's a really niche area, especially in Malaysia. I also like international law – if I want to go into international law I'd have to learn French, which I'm starting next year. 

In Malaysia, because of the similarities in our legal systems, a University of London law degree is really valued.