Aurelie-Anne Gilly ’01

Double Major in European Cultural Studies and Philosophy

Aurelie-Anne Gilly '01

What brought you to AUP? 

I grew up in Sydney, Australia. My dad always told me that being an undergrad was about meeting new people and learning more about the world; even though I had planned to study law in the UK, I instead decided to follow my dad’s advice and move to Paris. At first, I attended the Sorbonne. I loved being in France, but I wanted a smaller, more personal classroom setting than what the Sorbonne offered. That’s what brought me to AUP. I signed up for a semester and ended up staying five years! 

What did you expect from your time at the University? 

I was looking to expand my mind, my world and my experiences. AUP offered serious academic programs and an international student body. It was a unique opportunity and a great experience. I have this horror of insular thinking, and AUP was the complete opposite. I really appreciated the international aspect. I expanded my culture and horizons. The friends I made at AUP are still among my closest friends. 

What is your most enduring memory of AUP? 

In Professor Petermichael von Bawey’s European Cities class, we went on a study trip to Berlin. It was my first time in the German capital, and von Bawey took us to so many amazing places. He told us about the time he’d spent there before the Berlin Wall came down. It was such a brilliant way to learn about the city. I also particularly remember Professor Edward Latham, who taught theology. We had fascinating debates in his class, and there was a lot of respect for each other’s opinions. I helped us to open our minds to how other people think. 

What impact did AUP have on your career? 

Those years in Paris were among the greatest of my life, and I hold those experiences very close to my heart. Today, I am a lawyer for the European Union’s institutions: I worked for the European Commission for nine years before moving to my current role with the European Central Bank. I also teach legal writing at the Catholic University of Leuven. My work requires an open mind, an international perspective and an unending curiosity – all of which AUP offered me. 

What does your work involve? 

My job is largely to clarify legal language – to take large-scale financial regulations, find the holes in the wording, rewrite them and make them legally viable and defendable in court. Normally as a lawyer, you risk getting pigeonholed in one specialization, but in my job I follow regulation from conception to application. That’s a rare opportunity in the field. 

What advice would you offer AUP students looking for a legal career? 

My main advice is to study something other than law as an undergraduate! As a lawyer, it’s essential to have a wider understanding of life experiences. I found I only really enjoyed law once I’d lived a bit. It helped me see why what I was learning was important. Law is mostly about applying common sense and interpreting and understanding language. There’s not always a “right” answer, only the most appropriate answer in this context or on that day. Keep an open mind and you never know where the law might take you!