Law & Love
Marcelle Franco Espíndola BARROS and her husband, Guilherme Freire de Melo BARROS, two Brazilian participants in the “Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Trade Law - Contracts and Dispute Resolutions”, followed the same course of studies before getting married and participated in the TSD Master as a married couple.
Tell us about yourselves
Our story began in 2000, when we were both offered places at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, continued with our falling in love in our graduation year (2005) and was crowned by our wedding in 2011.
In legal practice, we have followed slightly different career paths, as Guilherme works as a public lawyer for the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Paraná and Marcelle works in intellectual property (IP). In 2011, as Guilherme had to move from Rio de Janeiro to Paraná for work, Marcelle went along with him.
I understand you followed similar courses of study. Where and how did your studies together start?
As I said, we met during law school, but only started dating after graduation. Last year, we decided it was time to invest again in our studies and applied together for the LLM in International Trade Law in Turin and the Master in Economic Law at the Catholic University in Curitiba. Being accepted on both programmes, we were able to experience life in Europe, while participating in online classes with our teachers in Brazil. Italy seemed a great option because of its amazing environment and joyful and friendly people, similar to Brazilians. We thought it would also be a great opportunity for us to learn more about Italian culture, history and language. Indeed, it was a unique experience and we fell in love with Italy.
Was studying together a help or a hindrance?”
Studying together was undoubtedly a blessing. As we were taking classes from two programmes at the same time, we very much needed the mutual support we were able to give each other. We were able to share difficulties, doubts, hard work and success. We have no regrets and would do it again. In fact, we are planning to complete a PhD in Europe very soon. Needless to say, we plan to apply for it together!
What about your careers? Are you now working together?
Unfortunately, as we are back to our routine in Brazil, we spend the days apart: Guilherme at the public law office and Marcelle with her law firm. At least, we still have the two-year master programme here, so we are attending classes together twice a week.
What are the most important lessons you have learned from your time together?
The most important lesson is that we are stronger together. When one is weak, the other is there to help, listen, support. The difficulties are never so hard that they cannot be overcome together. It was very good to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week together and find that we didn’t get tired of each other. In Italy, we had no problem coping with this situation. On the contrary, now we are not used to spending so much time apart.
What about your experience during and after studying at the Centre in Turin?
The LLM gave us the chance to live and study with people from many different cultures and backgrounds. We met participants from Ireland, Canada, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, India, Georgia, Serbia, Moldova, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. We learned not only about trade law, but also about life, diversity and tolerance. We can testify that people from such different backgrounds nevertheless have a great deal in common and can live, work and study harmoniously together.
After a semester in Europe, we are now part of an international family spread around the globe. The memories of those days will stay with us forever.