Tag Archive for: Legal Internship

Shannon C., London Internship – Law Track

Platform 9.75Interned in law at a small human rights firm, Spring 2015

Internship: My internship was with a very small human rights law firm with just around six full-time employees in total.  While I didn’t have one on-going project with the firm, I worked on different things such as researching different bodies of law as they applied to our clients and preparing memos on the topics; drafting letters and notices for our clients and opposition; and creating hearing bundles to be used in court.  I even got the chance to attend court on a few occasions, which was a really great opportunity to see first-hand how the British legal system works.

I Learned: I had no idea that the British work environment would be so different than the American work environment. Though there are definitely exceptions, the British work environment tends to be much more relaxed and laid-back than in the US.  It’s common for co-workers to go out for drinks at lunch and talk about their personal lives at work.  Because my office was so small, I came to know the lives of my co-workers pretty well.  The office felt very comfortable and open, but at the same time everyone was really focused on their work, and I realized that I liked the balance of those two aspects.

I also learned how to travel with other people.  This wasn’t really something I had given thought to before traveling abroad, but it ended up being one of the most crucial parts of enjoying my time abroad.  My roommate and I went on every trip together and had a great travel dynamic, which allowed us to enjoy our adventures.  We came to know who was good with directions, who was good with plans, and who was making sure we were taking enough pictures.  I learned a lot about compromise and communication and planning – the little things that can make or break a trip!

What Surprised Me: The thing that surprised me most when I was abroad was just how much there is to do in London.  It seemed that in the last few weeks of my time abroad I was trying to squeeze in every last ounce of London that I could.  The city is so large and surrounded by so many other great places to visit in England that it’s nearly impossible to fit everything in.  One thing that helped my me and my friends was making a list in the beginning of the semester of the places we wanted to see most – it helped us make sure we hit everything that we had planned on.  Definitely make sure that you spend a majority of your trip in London.  It’s great to travel around Europe, but there is also so much culture and history to explore right in London!

Hardest Part: This is going to sound really cheesy but…the hardest part of my experience was leaving.  After spending four months exploring a new city and learning all about its culture, history, and people, I had definitely developed an attachment.  Not only did I love the city, but I loved being constantly busy and always exploring something new.  I remember the last few weeks I was in London, I could hardly think about leaving the city.  But what’s nice about the BU program is that there are many BU students share that same experience with you.  Once you come back to BU, it’s like you immediately have this family of students who were abroad with you and who you can share memories and stores with.

Best Part: Markets!  Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best part, but it was definitely a highlight.  London has so many great outdoor markets in its different boroughs that are great ways to spend weekend afternoons.  Borough Market and Camden Market have excellent food, and Portobello Market has what seems like an endless amount of antique shops to explore.  Broadway market also has a mix of food vendors and hand-crafted items, and even some musicians performing on the street.

Overall though, the best part of the experience was how much of the world I got to see.  I visited a total of nine countries as well as towns around England.  It was such a great opportunity to become a better traveler, learn different cultures and histories, and see new parts of the world.  As much as I would encourage students to spend a majority of their time in London (after all, it’s such a great city with so much to do), I also encourage them to travel outside of the city or the country at least once or twice.

My Tips: Definitely utilize the social programmes! BU offers coordinated trips and events that you can purchase ahead of time for a discounted group price.  They were really helpful for trips that were difficult to get to without a car, or for finding tickets to shows that would usually be expensive. I went on planned programmes to Swan Lake, Stonehenge, Notting Hill Arts club, and a few others.

Also, be sure to budget!  London can get expensive, but it’s entirely manageable if you plan ahead.  You can find free events and things all over the city that won’t break the bank, and a quick internet search will show you affordable events all over the city.

Finally: museums are free.  This is perfect for rainy days, cold weather, or spare time.  You can explore a museum for 20 minutes and come back the next day to see more of the exhibits.  The BU buildings are also within walking distance of the Natural History Museum (which was basically my front yard for the entire semester) and the Victoria and Albert museum so there’s almost no excuse not to visit them!  There are so many museums all over London – try to visit as many as you can!

Hidden Gems: That’s a hard question – there are a ton!  During my first week in London, my roommate and I went for a walk in Hyde Park and spontaneously ended up in the Serpentine Gallery (free!).  It has really fun interactive exhibits and is fun to pop in and visit.  Another day, we ended up in Battersea park, and I wish I had known about it sooner!  It’s across the river from South Kensington (where the BU buildings are) and has fountains, open fields and sculptures.  It’s a great place for a picnic, a run, or just people-watching.

Also, if you like live music, you have to check out Ain’t Nothin But the Blues.  It’s a blues bar in SoHo that has live music every night (also free!).  I must have gone four or five times during the semester.  It’s a small little place that’s always filled with people enjoying the music and atmosphere.  It was a great activity for weeknights after school or work when my friends and I wanted to do something as a group.

And did I say markets?

Rachael Gresham, London Internship

Rachael Zip LineAs a college student you are naturally inclined to fear the inevitable – graduating. In what feels like no time at all, suddenly you are in my current position: an incoming senior trying to write about the best semester I had, while attempting to wrap my mind around the fact that in a few shorts months I’ll need to deal with the big ‘R’ word – responsibility.  Go abroad. Before you have real responsibilities, grab the opportunity to travel the world. Build it into your schedule as a freshman or figure out how you can manage it as a senior; either way, do it.

Second semester of junior year was when I crossed the pond and explored London for the first time. BU London resides in none other than the posh neighborhood of South Kensington, with easy access to everything you could possibly need. Hyde Park is less than a block away, Imperial College boasts a gym and student activities they welcome you to join, the #9 and #10 buses run right along High Street when the Tube is too crowded to bear, and there are three grocery stores to choose from, in addition to the American favorite, Whole Foods, around the corner.

Being on the Pre-Law track, I interned with a law firm based in the middle of City, the epicenter of London and its original neighborhood. I was tasked with very basic office jobs: photocopying, retrieving the mail, logging files, making phone calls, and taking notes during client interviews. While the work was not overly stimulating, I loved being able to talk to my coworkers about their favorite parts of London, as well as the UK, and gain native perspective on the city I would call home.

If you are a homebody like me, the mere thought of traveling thousands of miles away can bring on an anxiety attack. This is actually normal; you are not in the minority. Just ask yourself this: if not now, then when? Going abroad taught me how to say ‘yes.’ It taught me not to fear change, but to embrace it, and fully enjoy the opportunities that might never come around again. Being abroad also taught me more about myself, as painfully cliché as that is. Take control of your semester. Be selfish – visit the countries you want to visit, do the things you want to do, explore on your own, and never say no. It might feel like you have all the time in the world, but just like graduation, your end date is looming and one of the best times of your life will be over before you know it.

Sure it was hard to leave my family, of course the exchange rate made it impossible to afford everything, and yes being in a foreign country is scary; however, all these fears subside when your Mom tells you how envious she is of your jet-setting lifestyle and your Dad is can’t stop listening to your tales of Istanbul and Croatia, places he’s never been. If you are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to not only travel abroad, but to live there for an entire semester, it is actually your duty to go. I am so serious, you must. Those of us who have returned need more people to envy.

Two Tips:

  • Immerse yourself in the cultures of the countries you travel to and find what it is really like to live; don’t just visit all the tourist traps.
  • Remember to sleep or you will end up sick for a week.