The Development of the International Externship Clinic in Myanmar

DSC_0853BABSEACLE has been hosting and coordinating the placements of externs since 2004 throughout many countries in Asia.  The participants have come from more than 20 countries, and more than 75 universities, worldwide.

Beginning in July 2015 Myanmar, as a country where international externs have been place, and local externs have come from, was added to this list. Since then, we have hosted two more Myanmar Externship Clinics that focused on developing our Clinical Legal Education (CLE) English curriculum, with students from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia National University (ANU), the University of Queensland, the University of New England and La TrobeUniversity, who participated in the Clinic, developed interactive CLE English lesson plans, and used them at a number of Myanmar universities.  We hope that this CLE English curriculum will be used, along with other CLE programmes, by law teachers, in Myanmar and across the region.

To date Myanmar University partners in Mawlamyine, Magway, Monywa, Pyay, Taunggyi, and Taungoo have hosted externs participating in our program, and the feedback, from both the teachers and the students, has been overwhelmingly positive. It is clear to say that they have both enjoyed and gotten many substantial things out of the experience. These externships not only create greater awareness about CLE, but also develop CLE knowledge, skills and values, provide an opportunity for cultural exchange, foster relationships between Myanmar and international universities and expand international friendships.11951332_10156630146750377_4171998115401984470_n

By hosting externs, law teachers experience, firsthand, how a CLE Externship should be coordinated, and learn how to effectively supervise externship placed students and work with the BABSEACLE team and visiting  supervisors, in order to develop university CLE programmes. By participating in the Myanmar Externship Clinic, international students acquire a multitude of knowledge, skills and values, and experience the importance of CLE, while increasing e rule of law and access to justice, within a country.

For some, this encounter has been completely life changing- e.g., Lain McGregor-Lowndres, 2015 Myanmar Extern, said “I had some of the most amazing conversations of my life with some of the University Staff, and got a real candid insight into what Myanmar was actually like. It was definitely one of the highlights of my entire life, and without a doubt the best opportunity I was given while I was studying.” We, at BABSEACLE, are very proud to have fostered strong relationships with our university partners, so that students may receive university credit for their CLE Externships, especially in Myanmar.

DSC_0346Over the past two years, the Externship Clinic has continued to build on its strengths and experiences and as students go back home,to share their positive experiences, BABSEACLE has received many additional requests to host Externs.  We are, therefore, happy to announce that, in January, 2017, we will be hosting the largest number of Myanmar Externs, ever- i.e., 24 law students from QUT, ANU and Swinburne Universities. Accompanying them, will be 5 supervisors: Catherine Campbell (QUT); Catherine Kenny (College of Law Australia); Vivien Holmes (ANU); Margret Rowe (ANU); and Jonathan Lijebald (Swinburne University), who will actively participate in the Clinic, assist with the training and supervise the externs. In this manner, they will learn about the legal educational system of Myanmar, develop CLE within law departments, and share their CLE expertise and knowledge with the host universities.

As this Externship Clinic model has proven to be very successful, in Myanmar, BABSEACLE is reaching out to our regional partner universities, in order to expand this model, in other countries. Our goals are to promote CLE development, and the placement of externs, in Asia and across the globe.

By Lauren Donnison , Externship Coordinator, BABSEACLE

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Author: Vietnam Team

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