Lebani Mazhani

Medical Law and Ethics LLM*

My Master’s will definitely change my life.

What attracted you to the University of Kent?

I was applying for a Chevening Scholarship and looking for a Master’s in medical law. Kent’s programme was different to the others I found, with modules on areas such as poverty, health and social justice which really appealed to me. When I secured the scholarship, I looked at Kent’s location and was pleased to see that it was near London. It’s also not far from the coast, which was attractive to me as I come from a landlocked country.

Has the course lived up to your expectations?

It has exceeded my expectations. I arrived a little late (I attended my first lecture in the airport in Botswana!) but the pathway leader was very supportive and helped me to settle in. I’ve enjoyed learning about the regulation of healthcare, which felt very apt during a pandemic. I also enjoyed the module on reproductive justice where we studied historic issues alongside IVF, surrogacy, and the ethics around designer babies, discussing how these will impact our futures. It was both personally and professionally motivating.

What do you think of the campus?

It feels safe and is very green, welcoming and relaxing. I only moved on to campus a month ago, before that I lived in a shared house just off campus. I wanted to be closer to the library but also to my peers, it’s been nice to be in the company of other students, who are also thinking about their studies and how much there is to do! Being around other Master’s students on campus has been rewarding.

How much interaction have you had with your fellow students?

I know all of the other Chevening Scholars; we are like a family. I’m from Botswana, and the other three are from Belize, Brazil and Macedonia. We've really bonded and the group expands as people bring in their classmates. International students are a very diverse group and there are opportunities to network. I enjoy meeting people from other countries, who in normal circumstances you probably wouldn’t come across.

What do you think of the teaching?

The teaching is challenging in a good way, the onus is on you to do the reading and prepare for your seminars, it works well because at Master’s level everybody is engaged and interested. I enjoyed it because even if you don’t understand the content at first reading, the seminar is an opportunity to interact and discuss the subject with your peers.

How would you describe your fellow students?

We are very international, very diverse. The UK students were supportive when we needed more context to help us understand particular circumstances or concepts. Although we couldn’t meet in person, I think the class was a good unit.

What do you think of the facilities at Kent?

At first I found the library intimidating – it’s huge. Another student, also from Botswana, showed me round and eventually I got to know it well. The library is now my best friend! I also spent a lot of time studying in the postgraduate space in the Senate, I found that very useful because it is open 22 hours a day.

Have you taken part in any extra-curricular activities?

One of the reasons I wanted to study at postgraduate level was to develop the academic tools I needed to engage directly with allied professionals back home, so I was very happy to be able to present an academic paper at a conference in the Law School.

I also worked for the EU rights clinic, which is a partnership between Kent Law School and the Brussels School of International Studies. It was great, very interesting. I did some reporting for Critical Law TV, interviewing fishermen in Broadstairs and fishmongers from Chelsea about the impact of Brexit. It was a real learning experience; I enjoyed working as part of a team. I also completed the Global Skills Award, receiving a gold award.

What are your future plans?

My Master’s will definitely change my life and give me the chance to work in an area I am passionate about. Currently Botswana doesn’t have a medical lawyer. I am going to be the first person who has completed a Master’s in medical law. So, when I return home I have a lot of work to do. The University of Botswana is keen for me to teach a module to their undergraduate students and I’ve spoken to the pathway leader here who's very happy to support me with that. So, hopefully I will be helping to train Botswana’s future medical lawyers and helping to establish laws around medical procedures.

I also want to do a second Master’s in public health and eventually a PhD, hopefully at Kent.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Kent?

To people coming from my country I would say don’t bring your coat or boots, because they won’t be warm enough for the UK! You can buy the appropriate ones when you get here. Also take vitamin D, you’ll definitely need it. When it comes to your studies, believe in yourself and your knowledge and don’t be afraid to share your experiences with your fellow students. It’s an exchange of knowledge, so don’t underestimate the value of what you’ve got to offer. I have been really pleased with how receptive people at Kent are to my views.

*(now called Law (Law and Health)