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St. Louis Diary

August 23,1999 - my first week in Saint Louis, MO


Well, here I am - in Saint Louis, Missouri. Home to the famous (?) Saint Louis Arch and the former "Gateway to the West". To introduce myself and to tell you what all this is about, I guess it would be a good idea to provide you with some basic facts about who I am and what I am doing here. My name, as you may already know, is Nils Behling and in November 1998 I graduated from the Phillips University in Marburg, Germany with a law degree. Since I wanted to broaden my mind and to have at least another year without serious work (just kidding) I decided, that it would be a good idea to study in the United States for a postgraduate degree, a Master of Laws in International law (LL.M.).

After reviewing several universities' LL.M. programs I decided to apply for the one-year programs of three universities. When they all offered me a slot in their respective programs I had the choice of where to go. Finally I made up my mind that it would be a good idea to study at the Saint Louis University School of Law (SLU), which is an average sized, decent school, ranked somewhere in the middle of tier 2 of the national rakings. Prior to my decision I contacted several Germans who all had participated in the university’s program during the past years and who all encouraged me in choosing SLU. Another important reason for my decision to study in Saint Louis was the fact, that the school offered me a really generous tuition remission - studying in the states is, especially in comparison to German standards, very expensive.

Since classes have not yet started and I somehow feel obliged to fill this page, I want to give you some pieces of information about the city of Saint Louis: Saint Louis is a somewhat bigger city in Missouri, the part of the U.S. that is called the Mid-West. The School of Law has about 600 students and is located on the Frost campus of Saint Louis University, a Catholic Jesuit institution founded as St. Louis College in 1818. It received its University charter in 1832 and became the first university west of the Mississippi. At this time Saint Louis was already known as the "Gateway to the West", the city from where the colonialzation of the western United States started. The campus is located in the part of St. Louis that is known as Midtown, only ten minutes from the Gateway Arch, an over 600 feet high steel construction that serves as monument for the westward expansion and overall seems to be pretty useless. Of course there are more things to see and to do in Saint Louis but since I have just arrived and don’t know the city myself I will let you know as soon as I explored them. Now, that’s it for today - I hope, that you find my notes not too boring. Next week classes will start so I am sure that there is at least some interesting stuff for you to come. ;-)

Later, Nils