Sunny Jeong, USA, Summer Intern 2011, Juris Doctor Candidate, 2012, William S. Boyd School of Law University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The strongest memories I have from my internship come from the close bond I made with the BABSEACLE family. I made unforgettable Australian, American, Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, and Thai friends, and I still keep in contact with them. I especially enjoyed immersing myself in the Thai culture with the help of local staff and language lessons. The staff was always available to answer our questions as to what is polite and what is rude in Thai culture. Some of them even took me out to see different scenes of Chiang Mai, such as university culture, popular culture, traditional culture, different religions, and so on. I personally worked with a local gay and transgender community, so I got to experience their cultures as well.
The language lessons were vital to my life in Chiang Mai – I was able to give directions to my house, bargain in the markets, and converse with neighbors, all of which allowed me to be more easily accepted in the community. The conversational skills especially helped when I stayed with a Thai family for a whole week.
Working with a not-for-profit organization in a new country taught me how to be flexible mentally, emotionally, linguistically, culturally. I learned to work with various resources and limited financial resources. A lot of times, I had to think how to stretch my baht the farthest so I could help the most people and I had to be brave enough to ask for help from others.
These lessons translated to my next externship with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, a non-profit organization here at home. The director of this organization is excellent at fundraising and I am learning a lot from her. Also, I am continuing to pursue the passions BABSEACLE helped instil in me – Community Legal Education and practicing law. After this externship, I hope to be employed at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and then eventually expand my career internationally.