Chris completed an internship in a law firm in Sydney, Australia in the summer of 2012. Below is a letter that he wrote to Global Experiences about his international internship experience. Chris is currently continuing to pursue his law degree at Hofstra University: School of Law.
There are few things in life that are truly worth the investment. Whether it is the cost, risk, time commitment or the fear of uncertain outcomes, everyone has their own reasons for turning down opportunities when they present themselves. Global experiences was a program that I decided to invest a great deal of time, effort and money into and I can honestly say it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.
Being matched to a law firm in Sydney wasn’t exactly the placement I had applied for or had even given much thought to, but looking back, it could not have been a better fit. My time in Sydney had a monumental impact on my life. In those short two months I was not only able to learn a great deal about the legal system of a foreign common law country, but I also grew and matured as an adult.
My experience as a law clerk was fantastic. I was thrown right into the mix of things and was trusted with very large and delicate assignments. It was definitely intimidating at first as it was my first legal internship ever, but everyone in my office helped make my transition smooth. Before long I grew very confident in my skills and my abilities. It was the first time all year that I had felt like law school was the right choice for me and that I could truly see myself as a future attorney. I learned a great deal about interacting not only with my supervisors and coworkers, but also with friends and family as well. Most of all I learned about and grew confident in myself.
When you are living alone for two months in a foreign country you really have to learn to break out of your shell to make friends and acquaintances or it will be a long trip before you get back home. I made lifelong friends and contacts in Sydney. I just had dinner in New York City last week with my co-worker from Sydney who was visiting the U.S. on vacation. The reference from one of my supervisors in Sydney is a major reason why I am employed as a law clerk this semester with a firm in Garden City. I was also able to travel around Australia and see a country and culture so different than mine, yet by the time I was ready to leave it had already begun to feel like home. The nightlife was also great too. As you can imagine, Australians really know how to have a good time!
No matter where you go or what you do in life, whether it is a bad experience or a good experience, you have the power to control how you react to those experiences. If you are fortunate like I was to have a great work environment and experience you will grow tremendously and have a blast. If you are not so fortunate and perhaps get stuck with a supervisor you may not click with, or do not know many people you are traveling with, there is still a great deal you can take away. For example, look at it as an opportunity to learn communication skills so that you can gain some meaningful feedback or advice from your supervisor. Or look at it as a great opportunity to be away from home. Use that chance to make new friends and connections, or just see a part of the world that you may never have the chance to visit again. Those are some invaluable skills and opportunities that will serve you well throughout both your personal and professional life.
Everything in life is perspective. Allow yourself to be open to trying new things. Learn from experiences that may not go as planned as opposed to letting it get you down. Global Experiences is so much more than an internship opportunity if you allow it to be. If you do, I guarantee that this experience will help shape your life just as it did mine. If anyone would like to contact me to talk more or to ask any questions please feel free to e-mail me.