LLM students Scott Dailey and Abebe Gebrehiwot Yihdego talk about why they applied to the programme and the absence of Dutch people in their class.
We talked to Scott Dailey from the United States and Abebe Gebrehiwot Yihdego from Ethiopia, two students on the Advanced Master’s (LLM) programme on international tax law, jointly organized by the University of Amsterdam and IBFD.
How did you find out about this programme?
Abebe: The University of Amsterdam runs six LLM programmes at the Mekelle University in Ethiopia, one being on tax law. I already have a master’s in tax and investment law and when by chance I heard a lecturer telling his students about this new and extraordinary programme, I thought it could prove a good specialization for me. I count myself lucky to be able to participate.
Scott: In my second year of law school at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, I attended a lecture given by Professor Dennis Weber on tax treaties and their interaction with national law. This inspired me so much that I chose to specialize in tax law. Recently, I passed the California bar exams and although I actually should be working to pay back my study loans, I could not resist the challenge of taking yet another step in education.
As it is the first UvA-IBFD LLM, we are really curious about the master’s students’ impressions of the programme so far. Can you tell us a little bit about this?
Scott: It feels like a privilege to be here because of the diversity and expertise of the teachers, and the fact that the group is truly international. Did you know that there is not a single Dutch person in our class? The teachers bring in the Dutch perspective. This small group of only eight students makes it impossible to “hide,” so everyone is motivated, involved and eager to learn. There is much discussion going on, as everyone brings in their own (different) point of view. The teachers even provide extra classes – sometimes in their own free time – whenever there are too many questions to discuss in one session. And we even get help from the IBFD research staff!
Abebe: The cooperation between UvA and IBFD is the real advantage of this programme, as we are given both perspectives: the theoretical, more academic side plus the practical side. We have access to a range of inputs and resources, including UvA professors, IBFD staff, guest speakers and library services. The services provided by the library are very convenient, giving access all the necessary resources online. If only I could borrow some materials, as we sometimes prefer to use the real paper!
We assure both students that this material is accessible in the physical library and that this is a quiet and pleasant place to study (as opposed to the crowded university libraries!).
When asked about their plans for their respective theses, Abebe says he is interested in the application and interpretation of the UN Model. Scott might choose to analyse the new US Model Tax Treaty which is expected to be published in 2016. However, they both agree that this is only their second semester and they expect to acquire new knowledge and ideas over the course of the classes yet to come.
We wish them both good luck and every success in their future careers!