Yinka began her legal journey at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Law. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in International Law at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. Her interest in International Law began in her undergraduate days as a member of the Moot and Mock Society. Participating in various competitions and activities increased this interest and eventually lead her to decide on pursuing International law as a career. She enrolled for a two-year Master’s degree program in International Law at the Graduate Geneva Institute after working as a corporate lawyer in Lagos, Nigeria.
Speaking about her graduate school experience in Geneva, Yinka briefly shared some lessons and useful tips.
In your application make sure to highlight interest and past experience that aligns with international law. During your application process and while studying as an undergrad be open-minded to opportunities. It is also important to stay updated on what is happening in international law space. To help with this, you can engage in several activities such as volunteering, writing papers, reading wide and making full use of available resources. You can find useful resources about International Law from the European Society of International Law blog, American Society of International Law website and African Economic Law Network.
Discuss with your professors and academic advisers when deciding on the career path to pursue and be flexible and open to other possibilities. Connect with people on LinkedIn and make good use of your contacts and networks. This will give you an opportunity to learn from their graduate school experience and be better informed. Other career options in International Law include; Human rights Law, Activism, Environmental Law, Investment Law, Global Diplomacy etc. She also emphasized the need for students to make use of their school’s job board and to start looking for a job or internship opportunity right after obtaining admission. She also mentioned the opportunity available to lawyers from other jurisdictions to work as foreign associates and avoid re-qualifying. She recommended that applicants remain receptive and open-minded to opportunities.
Some of the challenges Yinka faced while studying international law were, learning a second language, getting accustomed to the new system particularly with regards to timelines and deadlines, making friends with classmates and sharing ideas. She was also faced with the challenge of using the comparative research method and also the relaxed style of asking and responding to questions, which she was unfamiliar with as it contrasts with what obtains in Nigeria where the classroom culture is quite rigid.
Yinka mentioned some institutions offering programs in International Law including:
Oxford University- International Human Rights Law
York University, Canada- Masters in Dispute Resolution Practice
University of Geneva- International Law
European University Institute- International Trade Law
Geneva Institute- International Law
University of Western Cape, South Africa- International Criminal Law
Mc Gill- Air and Space Law
In conclusion, be prepared to work hard and pursue your dreams, and be willing and open-minded to opportunities that come your way. Also, do your best to seek out others in the same field you are in and learn from their career journey, it will go a long way in helping you navigate graduate school.
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