Last summer, NYU Law students interned in 33 countries across the globe. Here are some first-person accounts from those who went abroad through the International Immersion Program and the Center for Human Rights & Global Justice’s International Law and Human Rights Fellowships:

Ishita Dutta (LL.M. ’12) interned at the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Dhaka: “This internship has strengthened my resolve to work in the human rights and development sector in South Asia for the next couple of years. I have always been keen on public interest work. Working closely with an organization that is dedicated to such work and actually makes meaningful impact is inspirational.”

Luis Fernandez de la Vara ’14 worked at Marval O’Farrell & Mairal, one of the leading law firms in Argentina: “During my summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I had the opportunity to work with a law firm in a cross-border transaction, dealing with multiple jurisdictions and novel legal problems. I also had the privilege of meeting Constitutional framers and international tax experts while learning about transnational environmental regimes that are shaped by monopolistic aspirations. Immersing myself in the country, its people, and its culture, developed my familiarity with the subtleties of cultural adaptation, creating true bilingualism that is foundational for work in any field…My work abroad signals to potential employers not only that I was committed to working in the field, but more importantly, that I was adaptable and comfortable in new and different environments.”

Caitlin Kelly ’14 interned with the Honorable Alexandra Valencia Molina at the Tribunal Superior de Bogotá, Sala de Justicia y Paz in Bogotá, Colombia: “The Justice and Peace Courtroom is a transitional justice court that allows eligible former members of illegal armed groups to receive a lower sentence in exchange for confessing the details of their crimes. The mission is to bring peace to the Colombian society by reintegrating the ex-members of illegal armed groups into society and revealing the truth of victims. My main role was to observe the trials and familiarize myself with the Justice and Peace process. During trials, I would think of questions and pass them to the judge to ask the person on trial or the legal actors. I also interviewed various actors in the system in order to learn about their roles, including prosecutors, magistrates, administrative assistants as well as ex-paramilitaries and victims. I had a great internship experience. I learned so much about the political situation in Colombia and the unique way their judicial system is dealing with the conflict. This is a very unique experience because you get to see what goes on in the inside of the system, rather than looking at it from the point of view of an international organization forming their opinions. This internship really helped me focus my career plans. I already knew I wanted to do public interest work, but this experience got me more interested in working with judges and especially transitional justice. Everyone in the office was great, very welcoming and eager to help me with whatever I needed. I truly felt like a colleague and a friend there rather than an outsider and am so grateful to everyone for helping me have such a wonderful experience.”

Meghan Ragany ’14 worked at DeJusticia, a center for applied research, in Bogotá, Colombia this summer: “I had a wonderful time at Dejusticia. I spent a great deal of time researching the right of indigenous peoples to prior consultation before projects are undertaken that affect them. In the process, I gained familiarity with both international sources of law and with decisions and actions within various domestic systems. I was able to be very involved in the production of a journal article on the subject and a chapter for what will eventually be a book on the issue of prior consultation and consent. On another project, I was involved in coordinating with Ecuadorian NGOs and eventually going to Ecuador for a week to conduct interviews with them. This gave me a great overview of both academic and advocacy-related work during the summer. Our trip to Ecuador also included a visit to an indigenous community in the Amazon whose case against the government regarding the effects of oil exploration was recently decided by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. I got to spend a few days in the community and sit in on my boss’s interviews with people who played a key role in moving this lawsuit forward. I knew that international human rights law is an area that I am interested in, and this internship confirmed that.”

Jessica Rofé ’14 worked at Defence for Children International in Sierra Leone: “Working as an intern at DCI-SL significantly influenced my career goals.  My work with the organization afforded me the opportunity to work in direct services in Sierra Leone’s southern provinces for four weeks, and conduct empirical research throughout the country for six weeks.  This exposure to two facets of international human rights work helped solidify my decision to work in direct services.  I found the direct contact with young people more fulfilling and more in line with my own skills as an advocate.”

Christel Tham ’14 interned at the International Law Commission, Geneva in the summer of 2012: “The internship was largely focused on issues of public international law, and I had the rare opportunity to work amongst the greatest international law minds of this generation. It definitely reaffirmed my interest in international law, and at the same time provided me with a crucial insight into the workings of such an influential and world-renowned institution.”

Rachael Young (LL.M. ’12) interned at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Office of the Co-Prosecutors, Phnom Penh: “When I started my International Legal Studies LL.M., I was focused on studying transitional justice. This internship offered me a premier opportunity to analyze and evaluate the role of a unique hybrid Court system as a response to mass human rights atrocities.  My experience in Cambodia piqued my interest in international criminal law in post-conflict societies. I am a prosecutor and litigator for my Attorney General in my home country, and I feel more passionate about my job and the importance of preserving the rule of law. In addition, my interest in international criminal law jurisprudence has been cemented after my time in Cambodia. A legal intern has many fabulous opportunities to assist the Office of the Co-Prosecutors in substantive legal work which is both varied, demanding and fulfilling. It was very satisfying to see my work product being used in the trial and to have learned so many new skills from the many talented staff members at the Office of the Co-Prosecutors.”