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International Law

Jason Mohabir

November 20, 2012

Extern at Human Rights Legal Network, Class of 2014

“Externing in India this summer was an experience I will never forget. Not only did I receive great legal experience but also an emotional experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Working for HRLN:

From the very first day at the Human Rights Legal Network, I was introduced to various parts of a case: interviewing clients, drafting petitions, and traveling to court. I also had the opportunity to work side-by-side with various attorneys on multiple issues–prison conditions and housing rights were among the initiatives I was able to work on. One of the most memorable tasks I participated in was a fact-finding mission to a village. Although, I was confronted with immense poverty, the villagers treated me as one of their own. The children ran around me, playing hide, and seek. The adults offered me food and invited me to their homes. Their circumstances did nothing to diminish their hospitality, offering what little they had to me. Furthermore, I was able to conduct numerous interviews with clients pertaining to prison conditions. These interviews taught me that every client is different and how you interact with one client in an interview may or may not be effective when interviewing another.  

An Opportunity to Grow:

Overall, going to India went beyond an educational experience for me; it was an opportunity for self-growth. Being of East Indian descendant, my whole life I was surrounded by the food, music, language of Indian culture and it has truly become a part of who I am. When I arrived in India, I was initially very nervous. Soon this nervousness transformed into excitement when I saw the Indian culture all around me–from the driver on a rickshaw singing a bhajan to the women wearing sarees and men wearing kurtas. The amazing smells of various curries and the beautiful music playing through radios at the market. My experience became more life changing as I started to travel around New Delhi. As I traveled by rickshaws and sat in restaurants for my meals, numerous Indians would ask if I was Indian. I would quickly respond and say, “Yes, I am.” This made me feel amazing because living in the United States, many European Americans assume I am either Latino or African American. For the first time in my life, I was in a place where everyone knew that I belonged.

Final Advice:

India is an amazing country. It was a great place to extern as I worked on various initiatives for the Human Rights Law Network. One piece of advice I would give anyone who was thinking about externing in India is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. India will be an experience you will never forget!