The classes in Sydney and my placement in Melbourne were amazing!
In Sydney, Professor Abriel, as well as our local professors, were incredibly kind, knowledgeable, and accessible. They helped us get actively engaged in the class discussion, and they answered any questions that we had. Outside of class, Professor Abriel and Professor Poynder went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed by inviting us into their homes for dinner and socializing. Our site visits were fun and informative, and they were great ways to bond with everyone. In addition, on days when we did not have site visits, we finished classes around noon. We had ample time after class and on weekends to go explore Sydney on our own.
In Melbourne, I gained heaps of hands-on experience. Every day I worked directly with clients, either in person or over the phone, to assist them with applying for protection visas. I developed meaningful connections with clients, as well as the solicitors and staff that I worked with. I miss them greatly. The work environment at my placement was so positive – no question is a dumb question and they are grateful for our help. I am leaving this placement with much more confidence in myself and my capabilities, because I worked in an environment that fostered my growth.
Although I spent the summer learning about Australia’s refugee laws, I do see myself utilizing what I have learned when I get back to the U.S. I had no exposure to U.S. refugee law before I began the program, so I will now be using my Australian knowledge as a baseline when I learn about U.S. refugee law in the future. I will be able to analyze both legal systems comparatively.
I had a wonderful time and I highly recommend this program.