Stories from abroad(Sherry Karabin)


RYUKAは海外のロースクールで学ぶ学生をインターン生として受け入れる、海外留学プログラムに参加しております。数年前、インターン生としてRYUKAで活動されたMs. Vanessa Changの体験談の記事をご紹介いたします。


Study abroad programs offer the opportunity to learn, explore and travel. Recent graduates share their experiences.

While study abroad opportunities ground to a halt early in the pandemic, most programs are expected to return this year, especially for vaccinated students. And good thing. Study abroad programs offer students unique opportunities to learn first-hand and gain valuable practical training.

“Studying abroad can be a great resume builder, while enabling students to check off bucket list items at the same time,” said Mallory Asp-Armond, senior coordinator for international legal and graduate programs at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.

Tulane hosts five study abroad programs, which range from two to four weeks and offer students the chance to earn three to six credits. Like most study abroad programs, they give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in different areas of the law and visit legal institutions and historic locations. Students often are able to add an internship.

“Our (students) enjoy an enriched learning experience both in and outside the classroom,” Asp-Armond said. “They are exposed to different teaching styles, a more diverse student body and get the chance to establish a robust network of business contacts and forge long-lasting friendships. The experience often opens up areas of practice and career opportunities they may not have previously considered.”

Sarah Jo Kirchner, a recent Tulane Law graduate, took the school’s Berlin program in 2019 because she felt it would help her career as a family law attorney.

A joint venture between Tulane Law School and Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, the two-week program focuses on international arbitration, mediation and negotiation.

“I had always wanted to visit Berlin, and I saw the value of alternative dispute resolution for family law practitioners, even if it wasn’t something I would need right away,” Kirchner said.

“We learned basic concepts and different styles of negotiation and mediation. We also learned about the differences between the U.S. and international arbitration systems.”

Several of the faculty were international arbitrators.

“It was very exciting to learn about all the components involved in alternative dispute resolution that don’t necessarily follow the same rules as court procedures,” Kirchner said.

She’s now using what she learned as a staff attorney in the Family Law Unit of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, where about half of her work involves cases that deal with custody and divorce.

“My mediation and negotiation skills come in quite handy when helping clients to work through nonviolent disputes surrounding visitation and custody,” she said.

But that’s not all she got out of the program. Through program-sponsored visits and independent exploration, she was able to see a variety of culturally significant sights, including the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag Building and the Libeskind Building, which houses the Jewish Museum Berlin.

She also visited a German beer garden, as well as many local flea markets and festivals, which further enriched her experience.

“Berlin is a city that lives simultaneously in the past, present and future, and many of the events I attended reflected this,” Kirchner said. “I definitely want to go back to Berlin as a non-student. I would also love to live internationally and would jump at the chance if a professional opportunity came around
down the road.”

Having grown up in Taiwan, Vanessa Chang knew what it was like to live outside the U.S. long before becoming a student at Santa Clara University School of Law in California.

Chang was interested in intellectual property law when she arrived at Santa Clara Law in 2018. But she didn’t know a lot about the field until she took part in the school’s summer study abroad program in Tokyo in 2019.

Students in the program are required to complete the four-unit Doing Business in Japan class. Held in Japan, the course provides an introduction to the Japanese legal system, court structures and basic principles of civil law. It includes lectures on regulation of international trade, contracts and financing.

Program participants have the option of taking a one-unit Japanese patent and copyright law class offered at one of Japan’s top IP firms.

The academic portion of the program lasts for about three and a half weeks. Many students also do externships at top international law firms in Tokyo, South Korea or Mongolia.

Chang worked for the Ryuka IP Law Firm in Tokyo.

“I learned a great deal about patent practice,” Chang said. “I was able to collaborate with my supervisor on a 17-page legal memo that dealt with the validity of the client’s patent. It really
solidified my interest in IP law.”

She said she got to know some of the firm’s partners and supervisors. In addition, she participated in planned field trips to the National Diet (parliament), the Supreme Court and the Japanese patent office.

Professor Philip J. Jimenez, director of Santa Clara Law’s Tokyo program, said it offers a deep dive into Japanese legal traditions, exploring how the culture’s focus on harmony and mutual trust has influenced the development of the country’s laws.

“The Tokyo program is the school’s oldest study abroad program,” Jimenez said. “We have learned that the Japanese value commitment, and our long-standing efforts have allowed us to develop relationships with and place our students in some of the top firms in Japan and Seoul.”

Santa Clara Law also offers study abroad programs in several other countries around the world.

“We encourage our students to take advantage of the opportunities that our programs offer,” Jimenez said. “Studying abroad not only teaches new perspectives on the practice of law, it exposes students to linguistic and cultural challenges and potential job markets.”

Chang said that during her time in Tokyo, she fell in love with the culture and the people.

When she returned to Santa Clara, she took a basic course in Japanese with an eye toward possibly returning to Japan for a future career opportunity. She also decided to pursue a privacy law certificate. She said she loves the challenging aspects of the ever-evolving field and was passionate about advocating for the protection of consumer privacy.

The study abroad program helped lead Chang to a full-time job as a privacy law specialist at Rakuten Americas, the North American division of a Japanese e-commerce company.

“Working for a Japanese law firm definitely helped during the interview process,” said Chang, who graduated last May. “They asked about my experience at the firm in Japan. I now have elementary proficiency in the language as well.”