My name is Cassie and I’m so excited to share my experience with you. If you are anything like ‘old Cassie’, you are a law student who wants to study overseas but struggling with how to do an entire semester exchange and questioning whether any foreign legal subjects will actually be helpful for your future career. I was searching short term legal studies abroad and I came across AIM Overseas’ program International Litigation, Arbitration and Mediation (ILAM). I’ve always been attracted to the international law scene and my life goal is to be flying around the world helping people solve their problems. As soon as I read the ILAM program details, I knew that it would be PERFECT.
My experience in the ILAM program of July 2019 was everything I expected and more. The classes were taught by different experts in their field, so we knew we were getting the best education – they even flew in a mediator from Lithuania! We had both theoretical classes and practical lessons, where we formed groups and had a real negotiation with our secret facts. We were also able to put our mediation skills into practice, resolving a conflict between two highly emotional individuals – the type of issues you would be dealing with in the real legal world.
Our classes were broken up with cultural visits around the beautiful city of Graz, where we stayed for most of the program. Graz is a historic city, and the architecture of the buildings is so inspiring… to think they created such a magical place so long ago! There were always great places to eat and things to do!
In the middle of the program we went on a field trip to Vienna for 4 days. We visited the Supreme Court of Vienna, International Arbitration Centre, Vienna Centre for Commercial Arbitration and many more places! We also had plenty of free time to explore the city and experience the Viennese way of life.
One of the most valuable experiences for me was the day we visited a technology company in Southern Graz and had a lecture with the company’s in-house counsel. He taught us how they make decisions in the best interest of the company and provide protection when dealing with international contracts, customers and regulations. In Australia we are often so sheltered, as we share no borders with other countries, and it’s not common to be using international law. Having the chance to see how a company is working with very different jurisdictions was worth the flight from Australia to Austria alone! The second half of this day we crossed the border to Slovenia, had lunch and a tour of Maribor City. It felt so unreal, and so far away from home, in a good way. It sounds cliché, but you really don’t know what you would have missed out on, until you experience it. Being in Maribor City gave me this sense of freedom and confidence that if I could bring myself to a totally foreign part of the world, then I can do anything.
If you take the opportunity to participate in ILAM then you 100% need to make the most of your free weekend. A group of 13 of us students spent the first weekend in Budapest, Hungary – and yes, we did manage to organise 13 people, who met 3 days ago, to travel to a foreign country together. And yes, it was much easier than organising your friends in Australia to meet for brunch on a Sunday! Doing a study abroad in Austria is fantastic because the next country is just a few hours away!
If you’re worried about how you are going to fit all this travel in and still do well on your assessment – my advice is to not worry. The teachers make sure you have the chance every lesson to fully understand the content and you don’t need to spend hours after the lecture digesting the materials (like plenty of my subjects’ home in Aus). You also have more than enough time to finish your final assessment piece once you’re back in Australia.
Finally, I will answer the question I’m sure many of you are asking… “But what will this course actually do for me?!” Apart from stepping outside of your comfort zone and increasing your confidence, apart from giving you a stand out talking point on your resume AND apart from learning how international dispute resolution works, this course will open doors for you that you didn’t know existed. I recently applied to be a delegate at the 2019 UNCITRAL (United Nations Convention on International Trade Law) Working Groups in Vienna. My application had a strong focus on the ILAM program I completed and highlighted the key learnings from the course, and the fact that I’m willing to take a step and do what most law students won’t do (study abroad). Well guess who just got selected as the LawAsia delegate for the UNCITRAL Working Group on Insolvency Law!! You guessed it, I did! I can say with 100% certainty that ILAM will make you a step ahead of the crowd.
My time in the ILAM program is something that has shaped my life and I will never regret. My favorite quote by Saint Augustine sums it up perfectly: “The World is a book and those who do not travel have read only a page”.
Hi everyone! My name is Cassandra Heaslip and I am close to the end of my double Bachelor of Laws and Science in Environment at Griffith University – Gold Coast. Aside from working as a legal assistant and studying, I spend my time focusing on my health – gym, beach runs, yoga and amazing food! I love reading books about peak performance, self-development and how to change the world! I obviously love travelling!! My first travel adventure was when I was 17, I moved to Germany and planned to stay there for a year working in a horse stable. I had so many problems trying to get a visa and after 5 months I had to come home, which was devastating, but the travel bug had got me! Since then I’ve done a volunteer trip in Ecuador and helped build kids toilets, partied in Peru, spent Christmas in New York and New Years Eve in Las Vegas. I’ve swam in the crystal- clear beaches in Mexico and experienced some of the most unhygienic beaches in Thailand. I’ve spent 8 days on a cargo ship from Australia to Singapore, and overnight hiked in the Austrian Alps. Had the opportunity to study in Austria (thanks AIM Overseas!) and as a write this, I am packing to head back to Vienna where hopefully I will see the city covered in snow, and a quick visit to Prague! Travelling has honestly made me the resilient, curious and compassionate young lady I am today. If you would like to follow my journey or have any questions for me, head to @cassieheaslip_ on Instagram.