They say your first year in law school is designed to scare you to death. Well, mission accomplished Law School! After so many months couped up in law library carrells and study rooms researching, drafting memos, sweating over the finer details of various statutes and cases (if only to avoid completely embarassing myself in front of my professors and peers), and endless cramming for exams, it is pretty hard to believe that my 1L year is finally over.
However, they also say that the 1L summer is your opportunity to go on an adventure. When Prof. Warren informed me that I was selected to join the East West Management Institute's Program on Rights and Justice (PRAJ) team in Cambodia as a summer fellow for William and Mary's Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, I knew I found the perfect way to seize that opportunity. I would be able to utilize both my legal education and my passion for international studies in order to gain practical experience in the intricately-related and dynamic fields of institution-building, legal reform, economic development, and human rights.
I began speaking with my supervisor Terry Parnell (PRAJ Advisor and Open Development Cambodia Project Manager) to get a better understanding of both PRAJ's and ODC's work in Cambodia. I was also eager to meet with Sarah Beason, who was PRAJ's 2012 summer's fellow, and she generously shared her experiences working and living in Cambodia. Both Terry and Sarah's insights were truly invaluable, and their willingness to help answer any questions I had simply cannot be overstated.
As I finish packing my essentials (while promising myself that I will actually pack lightly this time!), it begins to dawn on me that in less than six days I will be leaving the Western Hemisphere for eleven weeks. Indeed on Tuesday, May 14 my journey will begin- a thirty-five hour transcontinental oddessy, courtesy of Singapore Airlines, which will take me through Houston, Moscow, Singapore, Siam Reap and finally to Phnom Penh. This will be my first experience working abroad, and especially in such an ancient, beautiful, and resilient nation. I will cherish all eleven of these precious, life-changing weeks, and I can honestly say that I have never been more excited about summer!
*A special thanks to Mara Lilley (current PRAJ intern) and Penhleak Chan (Research & Volunteer Coordinator for Open Development Cambodia ) for all of their amazing assistance and support! I cannot wait to meet you and the rest of the PRAJ and ODC teams!