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Around the World in a Summer

July 31, 2009

Internship, volunteer, and study opportunities brought more than 120 USF School of Law students around the world this summer.

Students traveled to Bangalore, India; Beijing China; Bilbao, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Hanoi, Vietnam, to work with NGOs, law offices, and government agencies. In the Dominican Republic, seven students investigated discrimination experienced by Haitian migrant families. Students also studied the Cambodian genocide while in Phnom Penh and participated in study abroad programs in Dublin and Prague.

Several students chronicled their experiences in International Law Society blogs.

In Hanoi, Carlos Romero 2L worked with STAR-Vietnam, an agency that helps Vietnam meet international trade requirements and integrate into the global economy. Dean Jeffrey Brand joined Romero for the first few days of the internship, travelling throughout the country and presenting at meetings and lectures, including a presentation to the Ho Chi Minh Academy, which trains government officials, and the Diplomatic Academy, which trains international lawyers.

On a blog detailing his experiences, Romero wrote about the overwhelming scent of cooking meat on the streets of Hanoi, motorbikes that jump across lanes and into sidewalks, and the stifling heat. "I've never been to any place like this before, any place that reached out and grabbed you in such a forward manner," Romero said. "The noise, the smells, the madness have all become as commonplace as the fog in San Francisco."

While interning at the Child Protection Unit of India's Department of Women and Child Development, Hilary Amster 2L helped enforce the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in India, where some girls are married as young as 6 years old. Amster researched perspectives on the new law and prepared trainings for child marriage prohibition officers to help prevent, report, and stop underage marriages.

For Warren Klein 2L the summer presented an opportunity to not only study the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia, but to witness its evidence firsthand. Klein and other students enrolled in the Law in Genocide: Cambodia course visited the Killing Fields, where victims of the Khmer Rouge were tortured, executed, and buried in mass graves.

"An overwhelming experience, I meditated and tried to drink it all in and I couldn't," Klein wrote about his visit. "I was brought to tears and had to excuse myself from the group to cry alone. The sheer horror of the place was made even worse by the surreal beauty of it."

In addition to international internships, many students gained experience closer to home. While living in San Francisco, four students participated in 10-week internships focusing on current human rights issues relating to Haiti. Six students traveled to the American South in June to help defend death row inmates, and 26 students participated in PILF-sponsored internships in the public sector.

To read more about international internship experiences, click here.