Post by: Sherri Sturgeon
Pursuing justice is not always a glamorous endeavor. In my head I think I envisioned this summer as a Hollywood courtroom scene where at the last second someone rushes in with the final piece of evidence which sets the innocent free, resulting in exclamations of joy as the music swells and the audience leaves with a renewed sense of hope. Naïve, yes, but I believed that as soon as I committed to fight against injustice through an international internship this summer, I’d find myself in that courtroom, overcome by the knowledge that I’d had some small role to play in seeing justice prevail.
Needless to say this is not what my last two weeks in South Korea have looked like. To the contrary, my days at Handong International Law School have been spent behind a computer screen, sorting through international laws, attempting to extrapolate meaning from a foreign language, balancing the competing interests of multiple professors each with unique and substantial projects requiring in-depth research. Glamorous, it has not been. But what the last two weeks have shown me, is that this is a capacity building exercise I greatly need.
Interning with a law school means that there are numerous research projects occurring at any one given time, all of which have the potential to create transformation and be a catalyst for justice. In the last two weeks alone I have begun research related to Korean private adoption laws, North Korean policies and practices toward persons with disabilities, China’s One Belt One Road global trade initiative, and immigration issues for adopted children. Further, I have been welcomed into a community that is daily showing me that justice requires getting into the dirt and mud before true success can be achieved. The faculty of the law school are all distinguished professionals in their respective fields and have been quick to share their knowledge and experiences and have taken the time to invest in me their wisdom for pursuing a career in this challenging field of international law. What I am doing here is much more than simply research, it is an invitation to walk alongside professionals who have spent decades in the field of law and witness how laws and hearts are shifted for justice; not overnight, but through long, arduous and persistent toil. I am honored to play the role that I have been given, and am keeping my eyes wide open to the many facets of law I could never learn in a classroom.
This internship is undoubtedly teaching me the fortitude and endurance necessary to pursue a career in international human rights law. I realize that it is not in a courtroom drama where capacity is built, but behind the scenes where lawyers and their teams spend tireless hours cultivating and crafting research and arguments that will one day allow doors to be opened to someone who has lost all hope. I am so grateful for the opportunity to come to this beautiful Land of the Morning Calm and gain experiences and relationships that I know will be influential in my future pursuits of justice. I am expectant for what the next few weeks will hold and anticipate the lessons still to come.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Intern. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.