By: Ms. Phavadee PHASAVATH (Nook)
Internship student from United World College of SE Asia, Singapore
I am the first ever Laos high school student, from United World College of South East Asia, Singapore (UWCSEA), to be a summer intern, at the Faculty of Law and Political Science Clinical Legal Education (FLP CLE), in Vientiane, Laos, and there were lots of things to learn and develop. My placement was facilitated through UWCSEA and BABSEACLE. BABSEACLE and UWCSEA have had a long standing collaborative partnership which has included the placement of interns like myself.
During my internship, my main roles of translator, liaison officer and administrative assistant were really new, hard and challenging, at the beginning, but this just made me determined to work harder. Before work started, I was briefed, by the National Laos CLE Coordinator/Lawyer and BABSEACLE team member, Thip, and they were all so pleasant to work with. They also helped me understand the complexity of the offices and of their staff functions.
As translator, I did not know much about law, or have the necessary legal vocabulary, so I had to ask the law experts for help. Luckily, the Thai and Canadian interns worked with me, on legal documents, and other interns focused on legal research. We worked and cooperated so well with each other that I felt we were like a big office family.
As liaison officer, I was asked to contact speakersfor a variety of events. The staff at FLP CLE gave me advice on how to make contacts in an appropriate and expeditious manner, which meant that I learned and remembered how to do things, by myself, instead of waiting for someone’s help, and risk forgetting how or what to do.
As administrative assistant, I was mentored by BABSEACLE team members, on how to organize and plan a conference or workshop. Under pressure to learn skills, independently, the BABSEACLE team and volunteer teachers were willing to explain the task, to be done. It was tough, at first, but through positive teamwork and learning, I came up with some creative ideas. By the end of my internship, I had a much better understanding of my three roles, and I treasure every single minute of my experience, with FLP CLE.
I have gained many memorable and valuable experiences, understand a lot more about the law, and think that this will be a really interesting major, to study, at university. I learnt how to work, selflessly, as part of a team that has common objectives. Moreover, I learnt how to organize, not only my work, but also aspects of my own life, and have made new friends and professional contacts, which are invaluable. I am so glad to have been an intern, and to have had the chance of participating in Clinical Legal Education activities.