It’s not every day that class is held in another country. Yet, for the Dublin Semester-in-Practice program, it’s not out of the cards either. For students who have participated in externships, the weekly seminar requirement is nothing out of the ordinary. Usually, students spend the class time talking about their placement, divulging what they have learned and areas they seek to improve in. In a sense, the seminar serves a very practical purpose of hearing from students, learning from their experiences, and providing advice on how to proceed.
However, for the students participating in the Dublin program, our seminar can look a little different. On an average week we get to hear from excellent speakers on a variety of Irish, legal, and political topics. This includes lecturers from Trinity College Dublin’s law school and high-ranking government officials. Every week it’s something new and relates back to the environment we are working in. While we also talk about our externship placements and how to navigate an international workplace, we get to supplement these discussions with talks on Irish sports, constitutional referendums, and EU data protection laws. And sometimes, we get to leave the classroom and experience that week’s educational topic firsthand.
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It is 56 degrees in February. The sun is shining over the water and the hustle and bustle of morning traffic is just kicking in. As I walk to my externship, I pass cafes buzzing from the morning rush, the smell of pastries and coffee wafting through the air. Where am I? Not Boston (56 degrees should have given that away). I am in Dublin, Ireland along with five other students taking part in Boston College’s Semester-in-Practice program.
So, what drew me to this program? Take one round of law school exams and you will see the appeal of externships. But in all seriousness, how could I pass up the opportunity to spend a semester living and working in Europe? Maybe I’m just the product of the Covid era – itching to get in the study abroad experience that was swept out from under me. Yet, I find it more likely that I was drawn in by the opportunities this program presents.
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I’m pleased to host a guest post by Ned Melanson ’19, who writes about one of BC Law’s several programs that place students in legal internships in other countries.
Picture this: It’s Wednesday, 5:30pm, in late February in Boston. You, a 2L still coming down from the whirlwind of 1L (or a 3L starting to feel like a caged bird ready to spread your wings), are sitting on the yellow room couches with your law school chums, waiting for that night class to start. You are wondering why you were too lazy to sign up for a morning class and subjected yourself to a 6:00pm. The light fades from the Newton sky as you and your compatriots trade gossip from the last weekend or discuss plans for the upcoming, yet still distant one. Outside it’s cold and there’s snow in the parking lot.
Now picture this: It’s Wednesday, 5:30pm, in late February, in Dublin. You, adventurous and with great foresight, are sitting in O’Donoghue’s pub, just around the corner from the beautiful Georgian brick building that houses BC Ireland. Surrounding you are a group of equally adventurous BC Law 2L and 3L’s, most of whom you could not have named before this semester, but now you wouldn’t hesitate in calling them friends. You’re listening to the two chaps in the corner booth play a fully unplugged set of classic Irish folk songs; occasionally one will stand up and reprimand the crowd for not being quiet enough or to pass around the hat. You’ve spent most of the day working at your internship at a well-respected Irish law firm, dedicated non-profit, budding tech company, or maybe the world’s largest aircraft leasing company. The Guinness sitting in front of you is rumored to be the best in Dublin.
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