The desk, the classroom, and the office.
"Everything that has a beginning has an ending." I suppose, despite its once seeming perpetuity, even 1L year during the pandemic was not an exception to this rule. When I met its ending through my laptop screen at the exact same bedroom desk where I had met its beginning, I initially noticed a nondescript feeling, which was contrary to my expectation to be “over the moon” in the literal sense. However, knowing that this feeling was likely induced by the absence of change in my physical setting, I remained seated reminiscing about the year that had just passed.
While I have experienced almost as many academic years as my own age, this one was especially remarkable due to its remote characteristics. My days of rushing in the morning to attend Torts in a professional-sleepwear-hybrid attire, hopelessly staring at my temporarily frozen screen during lectures, sitting through the unavoidable awkward silence in Zoom breakout rooms, and forgetting to unclick the “raise hand” icon after speaking in class were all over. At the same time, I perceived that my 1L year’s entirely online nature also presented me with unique advantages such as conveniently attending professors’ office hours from a local cafe, hosting alumni attorneys practicing in another state as guest speakers, and joining study sessions from my own desk whenever I needed to panic about finals together with classmates. Subsequently, this realization turned into a reminder that such unique features of an online academic year and the exceptionally supportive William & Mary Law community had rendered any difficulties of my online 1L year negligible and its progress seamless. Then, at last, the overwhelming feelings of gratitude and accomplishment supplanted the initial dullness and perpetuated my novel experience from this relatively solitary yet extraordinarily edifying year in the form of cherished memories.
Although my physical location remained the same, the legal knowledge I have gained, the professional relationships I have established, and close friendships I have built had already advanced me a step closer to becoming a future lawyer who can amusingly say, "I started law school during a pandemic."
Studying economics in college, I have become cognizant of the significance of sound law and policy in fostering global economic development, peace, and justice. Intrigued by the interplay and synergy between law and economics, I decided to pursue a dual degree—JD and Master's in International Economics—with an aspiration to practice in the field of international law. In this regard, an offer to intern with Open Development Mekong appealed to me as an irresistible opportunity to gain hands-on experience in analyzing the impact of such an interplay in developing countries while possibly contributing to the security and welfare of deprived world citizens. Indeed, I was thrilled, after my initial meetings and orientation with the team, that my main responsibility of mapping foreign direct investment (FDI) in Cambodia and across the Greater Mekong Subregion by analyzing relevant law and policy closely aligns with my interests.
Throughout my internship, I will present a briefing memo to partners on: (1) the geopolitical drivers of FDI; (2) legal framework such as regional framework, bilateral trade agreements, and investment loans that support FDI; (3) government policies prioritizing particular sectors; and (4) social and environmental consequences of the aforementioned factors. Additionally, I will provide visualized datasets of changes in FDI in Cambodia overtime and their exacerbation of negative environmental impact and illicit activities in the region. Lastly, I will identify the firms and organizations that are also tracing and mapping investment data in the region.
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