For many students, studying abroad offers them the opportunity to experience a new place, new culture and of course make new friends all while earning course credits. For 2L Blake Johnson, who is in the middle of the photograph, studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland was no exception. Whether he was being placed in the back of an armored car in Belfast, studying for class or working at one of the largest solicitor’s firms in Dublin, Johnson certainly had an experience he will never forget.
Initially what attracted him to studying abroad in Dublin over other places was that both countries speak the same language and he had wanted to see the countryside in person as opposed to seeing it in pictures. When he arrived, he did not know any of his roommates but that did not stop the six of them from becoming fast friends.
“Going into this trip, I had no idea who any of my roommates were going to be, whether they were students from TU or other laws schools,” he said. “Of the six people in my suite, two were from TU, one was from Capital University in Ohio, another from the University of Houston and the last from the Phoenix School of Law. This turned out to be one of the best groups I have ever been a part of, and we spent most nights all hanging out together.”
One of the things Johnson had to adapt to while studying in Dublin was all of the distractions that the city provided. Rather than exploring all the city has to offer every day, he did strike a balance between coursework, interning and sightseeing.
“While the classes did move very quickly, the workload was not overwhelming and it usually only took me an hour or two each afternoon to skim through my readings,” he said. “Even with classes and an internship, I was able to go out with friends at least three or four weekday nights each week and I was free every weekend to do whatever I wanted.”
During his time in Ireland, Johnson had the opportunity to intern with Maureen Daly, a solicitor at Beauchamps, which is one of the largest solicitor’s firms in Ireland. As an intern, he was responsible for a variety of different tasks exposing him to areas of law such as Intellectual Property and Contracts as well as taking notes during his time in court.
Also he was responsible for contributing to a series of online articles by Ms. Daly that focused on Intellectual Property Concerns. These articles were composed in a more journalistic style as opposed to a legal style as a majority of the readers are businessmen and inventors as opposed to other attorneys.
”While the main focus of each of these projects was Irish or European Union law, the experience gained from them will be able to translate into my future work in the US because the material covered is just as important here in the US as it is in Europe,” he said. “Also this internship allowed me to gain a perspective on these topics I may not have otherwise had.”
One of his best memories from the trip is that of being placed in an armored car while he was walking from the train station in Belfast to the Titanic museum. Due to President Obama’s recent visit and the fact he was walking in a dangerous neighborhood, police ordered him to get in the vehicle.
“The cops stopped to warn us that the neighborhood we were walking in was still very dangerous,” he said. “At first they gave us directions, but circled around a few minutes later and told us to get in. They gave us a free ride to the museum and told us a little bit about the security issues they were dealing with since Obama had visited that week. I think they mainly picked us up because they were concerned about the amount of paperwork involved if a group of Americans got in trouble wandering around Belfast!”
After his time in Ireland, Johnson would highly recommend that students take the opportunity to study abroad at some point. The study abroad program offers not only the ability to intern in Dublin while taking classes but also provides students the opportunity to network with not only TU students but also students from across the nation.
“I would definitely recommend this program to other students,” he said. “Not only is it a chance to make incredible memories and to learn about another country and its legal system, it is a great way to meet people. There were many people from Tulsa and other schools around the country on this trip who I didn’t know before that are now friends. Not only would I recommend this program to other student, I cannot wait until my next opportunity to visit Ireland because there is still much I have not seen or done there yet.”