After being born in Germany and studying international relations in her undergraduate studies, for 2L Lauren Sanchez, studying abroad seemed like a natural fit as the next step in exploring her interests in international and business law.
As a participant in TU College of Law’s Dublin Study Abroad program this past June, she was able to experience all Dublin and Europe had to offer. Whether she was working at the historical Four Courts, taking classes or traveling on the weekends, Sanchez always managed to find a workable balance between being a tourist and an eager law student.
“I chose to take part in the Dublin Study Abroad Program because I had always wanted to study abroad in Europe and I thought this was a unique opportunity to not only take classes but also gain legal experience as an intern,” she said.
During her time in Dublin, Sanchez interned with state barrister Cindy Carroll, who primarily handled Irish immigration and asylum cases. Her time with Barrister Carroll was spent researching for upcoming cases as well as courtroom observation.
“My barrister and I got along so well, it was like we were old friends,” she said. “Cindy taught me so much about the Irish legal system and the culture of the people. I was very grateful to have been paired with such a compassionate supervisor.”
Because her supervisor was involved in various types of law, Sanchez was able to experience both the civil and criminal systems of Ireland. Her experiences in the courtroom were different than what she is accustomed to here in the US particularly in the relationships between opposing councils.
“My favorite part of the internship was observing court sessions in both the civil and criminal courts because there were so many cases in which I was enthralled with the content, that I hated to leave for class,” she said. “I was able to learn a lot about courtroom etiquette where in Ireland the barristers referred to their opposing council as ‘my friend.’ At first I thought this was a little silly but it really showed how the Irish viewed their work separate from their personal lives and friendships.”
Sanchez made the most of her free time on the weekends whether she was touring the Wicklow Mountains in the south of Ireland or spending her birthday weekend in Berlin, Germany. The program gives students a long weekend about midway through the month to allow students the opportunity to visit the Irish countryside or travel somewhere else in Europe.
“One of my favorite parts of the program was the ability to travel on the weekends,” she said. “One weekend a friend and I travelled to Berlin, Germany and it was such an amazing experience. We took a walking tour around the city and learned more German history than I ever could have anticipated. The sightseeing was phenomenal and I was even able to find a cuckoo clock, which has been a family tradition of mine dating back generations.”
Balancing coursework, interning and travel can be stressful but Sanchez was able to use her time management skills to get everything done including reviewing for class on her commute to and from her internship.
“At times it was difficult for me to balance everything but in the end I think I was able balance my responsibilities in a way that allowed me to still have fun and get my work done,” she said. “In the evenings a group of us would always go out to dinner then I would come home and prepare for classes the next day. On my daily commute, I would review what I read the night before.”
Although studying abroad might be draining on a person’s pocketbook and body, she wouldn’t trade her experience in Ireland for anything. Studying abroad allows you the opportunity to experience not only different cultures and legal systems but also helps prepare you for your future careers particularly if you are interested in doing business law.
“I think there is a lot to learn about international legal systems that can help you comprehend our own system better, as well as broaden our understanding of the legal systems abroad,” she said. “In today’s working economy, most if not all large corporations are becoming multinational. I think by gaining legal experience from different developing nations, I could really use my experience to aid a future company or firm with international proceedings in the future.”