A Semester in a Shrinking World: Jumping Borders

The world is shrinking. For me, it started shrinking the day I stuck one of those free AOL floppy disks into my computer. Instantly (sort of), I was connected to the World Wide Web and debating the latest episode of Doug with a kid named “PorkChop69” living halfway across the country. It was the beginning of a life without borders.

porkchop

Porkchop, the World’s Greatest Dog with the World’s Coolest Doghouse.

Fast forward to 1L year at BC Law, when I took an elective course called Globalization. There, I learned that the legal field is perhaps the most crucial player in our increasingly global world, whether from the perspective of international relations, corporate law, environmental law, immigration law, or human rights law. As our artificial borders continue to dissolve, it’s the lawyers who write the rules.

When the first-ever BC Law Paris Exchange/Summer Externship program was announced at the beginning of my 2L year, I jumped at the opportunity to experience the world of international law for myself.

The first half of the program consisted of six weeks of accelerated courses on International Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) at an innovative French business law school called Hautes Études Appliquées du Droit or HEAD. Classes at HEAD were very different than those at BC Law. While we had very little outside reading, we would spend anywhere from four to eight hours a day in classes taught by not only lawyers but current practitioners involved in major M&A transactions. It was immersive, challenging, and utterly practical.

Once our courses were finished, we were placed in a five-month internship at a company or law firm in the heart of Paris. I was placed in the M&A Legal Department at the world headquarters of a large multinational corporation called Veolia Environnement. As the first American intern at Veolia, I was able to cultivate first-hand experience in the field of international M&A. I worked on large, complex projects based in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America, at every stage of the M&A transaction. I quickly earned respect from my supervisors and peers due to both the stellar reputation of BC Law and the excellent practical M&A training I received at HEAD.

But this wasn’t just an exchange program and an internship–this was seven months of my life. I grew up in the Boston area as the son of two immigrants from Bangladesh, but my only time abroad before this trip was a weekend trip to Montreal with my 7th grade French class and a weeklong trip to London with my high school marching band. At twenty-eight years old, I was not exactly a man of the world.

So while my time in Paris was an amazing and unrivaled experiential learning opportunity, it was also life-changing on a personal level. Over the next few weeks, I’ll speak to the experiences in Paris that not only greatly broadened my worldview, but in very important ways, shrunk it.

Next Time: A Muslim-American moves to a purported Fox News “No-Go Zone” in post-Charlie Hebdo Paris.

Sajid Shahriar is a 3L at BC Law. He is the Co-Chair of the Board of Student Advisors, Co-Chair of the LSA New Students Committee, and former Co-President of the BC Law Democrats. He really just likes to share chairs. Feel free to contact him with questions about his experience at BC Law, studying abroad in Paris, or law school in general. Comment here or send him an e-mail at sajid.shahriar@bc.edu.

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