Experiential Learning as a First-Generation International Student

Helping other international students find their place at Loyola Law School

I have had the privilege of having diverse experiential learning opportunities in (almost) all the fields of law that I am interested in. I have worked in in state government for an administrative law judge division, participated in Loyola’s International Human Rights Practicum under Prof. Cesare Romano, and worked in both litigation and legislative affairs in multiple environmental nonprofits.

As an international student, getting to have such diverse work experiences was always a re-introduction into the specific, often unique, area of American law in a practical setting, not theoretical as it tends to be in the classroom. Having the guideline of the field placement department was always helpful and provided a good baseline for me as an international and as a first-generation law student.

Experiential learning allows you to first experience the tangible fruits of your labor; getting to work on real cases, especially as someone in public interest, can be extremely rewarding in terms of getting to see the impact of your efforts, and the lasting change you hope to provide. I’ll never forget the feeling of submitting my first assignment, and getting to see the photo of the person whose rights I was helping fight for.

Another benefit that I hadn’t initially anticipated was the feeling of ‘finding your footing’ in terms of the types of law you want to move forward with. This happens when you get to build your network, and actually get to try and practice the different legal skills that different areas require; do you like oral advocacy? Research and writing? Client interaction?

Although intimidating at first, experiential learning inside and outside of LLS is vital and has been an incredibly important but challenging part of law school, and I am grateful for having had such varied and rich experiences across my legal interests.


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