Another week has passed in this incredible city and I have fallen further into my routine. I am in my third week here and I think all the time about how in just a few short months I’ll have to go home, have to return to my home country, home state and my home university, and I am immediately depressed with the thought. I love this city and everything about it, I love the city life and frankly the British life, the lack of superficiality and the hustle and urgency of routines. I have integrated into my own schedule in my incredible internship and I love it. It has created a further thirst in me to graduate next semester and begin law school so that I may soon enter the world of young professionals.
I intern for a non-profit organization that aids women in vulnerable situations. Many of these women need housing placement services, immigration advice, general resources like access to computers and phones, or counseling services at our women’s centre which has a variety of workshops and events available throughout the week. The organization also provides services in prisons and remand centers for immigrants with a criminal background that need resources, immigrants that are remanded in the process of applying for a visa, asylum, etc. Another service is also provided to women who are either victims of sex trafficking or are either in the process of being identified as a possible victim of sex trafficking. There are so many services this organization provides that I haven’t yet participated in that I don’t know what each department/case worker does or the full extent of their outreach.
I am already enjoying the work I have done in the past couple of weeks in this organization. I do most of my work with the women’s centre; whether it be various administrative work or work preparing for or maintaining the workshops. I mostly go where I am needed with the various case workers and help with whatever service I can. This internship has definitely been a challenge for me in different ways than I expected. Previous internships that I’ve held have been in courtrooms and various legal atmospheres that were conducive to my future career field as a lawyer. I am used to the formality of the courtroom, the procedural guidelines, and a smart matching suit. Working at an all-female non profit has presented challenges for me that I’ve never faced before. This is more of the “human, emotional” side if you will, of the legal system that I’ve not yet seen. The side that makes jokes about lawyers, or solicitors they call them, and which is frustrated with the systems in place. I have had to deal with the pathos of the field, meeting clients and learning about their lives, with lesser emphasis of law but more of their emotional state. What also has been challenging is that most of my coworkers and the people I encounter at my office are 75% non-native born English speakers. There is definitely a language barrier in many instances, which is not something I expected to encounter in the UK but has been a rewarding challenge so far.
This past week I proceeded with my normal routine: went to classes, my internship, and building a relationship with the locals at the neighborhood weekly pub trivia night. I do feel as though I experienced the true life of a commuter although when there was a tube strike on the tube line that I take every day for my internship. This line I normally take from my neighborhood station to my internship an entire twelve stops (which is a very very long way) but due to the strike I had to find the most roundabout way (including a couple different tube lines and a bus). What ensued was pure mayhem, every station was chaos, overcrowded and anxious masses of people. At the station I changed trains at it was so overcrowded the tunnels were wall to wall with people like I’ve never seen before; people were videoing the scene— we were stuck there, standstill in the tunnels, for over thirty minutes until the station declared emergency, shut down and evacuated. There was no other way to reach my internship and so I called to notify I’d be late, waited for the station to reopen, and eventually after taking two more trains and a bus arrived with a total commute of almost three hours to work. They say you haven’t experienced London until you’ve experienced a tube strike. This upcoming weekend I will be taking my first trip outside of London to Prague, Czech Republic (or sometimes referred to as Czechia) which I will update about in my next blog.