South Africa Program Student Testimonials
I would recommend the Global Justice study abroad program in Johannesburg to anyone who wants to step outside the U.S. legal system and gain a broader perspective of justice. By the end of the first day, at the first meet-and-greet barbeque, I met a Cameroonian law student, a Liberian refugee turned Canadian law student, an Australian lawyer working in Hong Kong, and a former Rhodesian soldier who fought and lost the war for Zimbabwe. I was blown away by how much I learned before even starting my classes, and it only got better throughout the program. Visiting the Apartheid Museum, the Constitutional Court, and Vilakazi Street in Soweto were incredible and powerful experiences that went beyond words for me. My perspective of who I will be as a lawyer was changed by studying law through a global, all-encompassing lens while simultaneously experiencing the current effort of many South Africans who work for equal justice alongside the shadow and legacy of apartheid.
Anne DeVoe, 1L. S. Africa Program 2010
Seattle University's study abroad program in South Africa was a memorable trip in so many ways. Engaging professors introduced me to a wide range of international law issues, enabling me to see how these issues affect Africa, as well as the roles that other countries, the United States included, play in the global community. However, the real learning took place with the interactions I had with African students who were taking the courses with us, as well as the relationships I made with both locals and other US students outside of the classroom. It was truly an enlightening experience, and changed many ideas I previously held about the continent. Additionally, the program allowed me to travel to a part of the world that I may not have otherwise been able to visit on my own.
Lael Carlson, 3L. South Africa Program 2009
I was lucky enough to be a part of the Global Justice Advocacy program in Johannesburg, South Africa this year. I flew back to Seattle a little over one month ago and I'm already homesick for the people and places that filled my summer. Certainly, the classes and the materials we read were exactly what I had hoped for when I signed up; though, most of the program exceeded my expectations. On the first day of class, we were asked to get into small groups (half American students, half African students) and discuss the differences between the American and various African systems of government. It seemed like a typical icebreaker for most of us. Plus, the majority of us had a pretty good idea of what the differences already were, being informed students. But, when one of the men in my group from the Democratic Republic of the Congo began speaking about his experiences back home I was speechless and it was hard to keep my emotions from showing. His story was both sad and uplifting, and that experience, listening to him, was indicative of so many I would have over the coming weeks. For me, it is one thing to read about another country, to stay informed by watching the news and talking with friends, but it is quite another to study, sleep, and eat together. We had so many amazing discussions and debates with other students, professors, guest lecturers, and strangers that it would be hard to convey how great an effect the trip had on me in just a few lines. However, I know that if I ever get a chance to go back, I will; and, I will never forget the countless stories and people that enriched my life.
Mary Przekop, 3L. S. Africa Program 2009
Visiting the Apartheid Museum outside Johannesburg is one of the most sobering, yet uplifting, experiences you're ever likely to have. To walk through it is to explore a historical dreamscape, the reality of the events it portrays somehow made more vivid by the surrealism of the imagery. It is, in some sense, the afterimage, the memory, of a decades-long national nightmare, and you will walk away from it with a much clearer sense not only of the nation and legal issues you are studying, but of the importance of those studies.
Maximilian Kalton, J.D.,'10. S. Africa Program 2008
The South Africa study abroad program is a great way to learn international and foreign law while gaining an international perspective on how the US both positively and negatively impacts other countries. After taking classes and socializing with students from other countries, I was surprised to find where our similarities and differences lie. Whether it's race relations, study habits, proper etiquette, or growing up in a third world country, sharing experiences with one another will change the way you think.
Micol Sirkin, J.D., '10. S. Africa Program 2008
Read Micol's essay on her S. Africa Program experience
The South Africa Global Justice Advocacy Program was definitely one of the highlights of my law school career. We got to study with some of the most prestigious legal scholars in South Africa, including former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson. The program was intense but I learned so much not only from the professors at Wits but from guest speakers from around Africa and the international community. However, I probably found our fellow South African students to be the greatest source of information. Having the African perspective to inform us on the underpinnings of the South African Constitution, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (which was formed after the apartheid era to establish a sense of healing and resolution, and to signal the beginnings of a democratic South Africa) was invaluable. I think that our courses in international criminal law, South African Constitutional law, and legal writing from a global perspective not only informed my sense of the political and legal structures in South Africa, but helped me examine American legal philosophy in a new light as well.
Diana Chaikin. J.D., 2009. South Africa Program 2007