Ruth Mulenga Sinkala
My name is Ruth Mulenga Sinkala and I am from Zambia. For some time, I wasn’t too sure of which career path I would take but I am happy with where I have ended up! My educational background has been quite colourful. I’ve been able to experience each level of study in a different country. I did my primary school, high school as well as my Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in Botswana. After working for a while at different institutions including banks, law firms and colleges, I decided to do my Master’s studies (LLM) and thankfully, I was awarded a scholarship from the Swedish Institute (SI) to study in Uppsala, Sweden. I’m glad to say through everything I’ve had the love and support of my wonderful family and enjoyed many learning experiences along the way.
I did the Master Programme in Intellectual Property Law (IP) at Uppsala University. Although I am not an extremely creative person, I’ve generally been fascinated by the creativity of others and was interested in finding out how to encourage, protect and reward creatives at the same time! Also, there is quite a gap in expertise in the area of intellectual property law in Zambia so this programme presented an opportunity for me to contribute to bridging this gap.
The contents and quality of the IP programme is what initially caught my attention. Once I was satisfied about the quality of the programme, I assessed the non-education aspect of studying in Uppsala, the social life and environment seemed quite appealing, so – I chose Uppsala!
I absolutely loved the diversity of the learning experience at Uppsala University! Having different specialised campuses, great facilities and most of all, the way the IP programme in particular was coordinated in terms of organising study visits to different firms and organisations and bringing in experts from different universities and industry to lecture on specific aspects of the course was especially impressive.
The atmosphere in class and on campus was very conducive to learning. Colleagues and instructors were friendly and encouraged an interactive learning style. The learning was more than just following what the curriculum required but because of the different nationalities and backgrounds of fellow students and instructors, I developed my “people skills” and learned a lot from others. On some occasions, I met up with a few classmates on a social level, but of course being a year-long programme, the LLM took up most of my time.
Since graduation I have rejoined the university in my home country, Zambia (University of Zambia) and have been teaching undergraduate students in various courses including IP which I especially enjoy! I’ve also been participating in helping to develop the current IP programme at undergraduate and postgraduate level at the university. Organising and judging student moot court sessions/competitions and training programmes has also kept me busy.
I’m currently actively arranging to pursue my PhD in law, sticking to the same line of specialisation – Intellectual Property!
At Uppsala University I gained important research skills and the ability to combine the theoretical aspects of law with the practical aspects. This was very helpful for me personally because my line of work as a lecturer/academician at the university involves being able to research well and give students a rich learning experience, all of which my time at Uppsala University helped me to do.
If I got to redo my studies in Uppsala again I think I would be a little braver in facing the winter and go outside more despite it being very cold. I would also invest more in some Uppsala University memorabilia! Besides this, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience.
My advice to others is, once you have set your mind to doing something, just do it! Move on, do it, and achieve it all while you still have the energy and motivation. Studying law, particularly intellectual property law, and being an academic means staying on your toes and continuously working to improve your knowledge and staying on top of what is going on in the industry. Going the IP route is a smart choice because new inventions, ideas and creations are popping up every day. It’s also a perfect way to merge legal knowledge with other technical fields. Push through the tough times, don’t give, keep on pushing and keep on learning!
Read more about the Master's programme in Intellectual Property Law