Scholars in Spain
José M. Torres from the Department of Civil Law of the University of Malaga (UMA), and Professor Ruben Balane, well-versed in Filipino legislation in Spanish, wanted a way for Spanish and Filipino students of law to strengthen their understanding of the legal history shared between both nations. The ERASMUS+ K-107 soon allowed two Filipino teachers to pursue their doctoral theses at UMA—Attorney Lumba, from the University of the Philippines (UP Diliman), and Attorney Mandocdoc, from Ateneo de Manila (ADMU). How deep did the roots of Spanish legislation go into the heart of Philippine law? Ten Filipino students—from UP Diliman and ADMU, would have access to that knowledge. The selected scholars spent the first half of 2019 at the University of Malaga’s Faculty of Law. Julia Alexandra Chu, one of the UP Diliman students, shares her thoughts. This program is a first of its kind. What subjects did you select at UMA and why? I chose Public International Law, Law and Economics, International Organizations, and European and Comparative Constitutional Law. I wanted to learn about how constitutions of the European states were created—particularly now that the Philippines is considering a charter change. Understanding the beginnings of these documents would be useful. It’s also easy to get caught in legalese, which can be divorced from societal needs—Law and Economics would give me a practical perspective. What were your goals? I penned concrete goals to start with: to study international law and other subjects not available in the Philippines, deepen my Spanish language skills, build a personal and professional network. Explore neighboring regions, fall in love. I managed every goal I set out for myself! This program could be a precursor to a master’s degree in law. It was also an all-expense paid exchange program—flight, tuition, and monthly allowance were provided. Any advice for students who dream of a study-abroad semester? Have clear goals. What do you want to achieve in that short season, personally and professionally? Time can fly by fast. Without concrete objectives, choosing how you spend your time or which classes to select can be confusing. Also, manage your budget. I made a monthly account and daily itemized list of my expenses. With our allowance given in a lump sum, I learned early on that it was valuable to handle my finances well.