Similar and Different

Come to the other side of the world, literally, and you just might realize that law students come from a similar mold. Granted, Americans might tip the sarcasm scale slightly more than Filipinos, but you’d also be surprised how much we have in common.

We attended a law school “Acquaintance Party” this past weekend, and we were surprised both by our similarities and our differences. Here, law school is 4 years. Rough, I know. So, each year considers themselves a “batch.” Each batch was responsible for some sort of performance as “intermission” for the evening. The 1Ls did a sort of model walk and introduction of each student, the 2L girls did a Bollywood number while the 2L guys danced to Bruno Mars and stripped down to their boxers, no joke. Oh, and did I mention that law school faculty and staff were also at this party? Don’t worry, they thought this was hilarious.

The 3Ls and 4Ls both shot a video that they played, with the 4Ls singing “Let’s Cram” to the tune of Gaga’s “Let’s Dance.” Written and (performed first by students at NYU). It really was funny.

The evening concluded with a host of interesting games that honestly, law students at our school wouldn’t likely play with our professors in the room. Crude and vulgar, but wildly entertaining. Students and professors were equally dying of laughter.

The law students here have been more than welcoming, quick to make jokes about stress, alcohol, studying and briefs. Felicia and I will be giving a lecture this evening on our law school experience, and honestly, I think the students will hate us when they learn that our studies are only for 3 years, and with about half of the requirements of their schooling. They are required to take between 18 and 20 credits each semester, and every class is required. From taxation to commercial litigation, they take every subject in preparation for their bar exam, which nationally has about a 30% passage rate. Not too promising.

We continue to enjoy our time here. We have met many wonderful people curious about our studies and our anti-trafficking experience. We will be attending a conference in the next few days on gender issues here in the Philippines – issues none too foreign to Arizona and the U.S.

The more people we meet the more we realize we have in common. They always ask us, “Is domestic violence a problem in the U.S.?” “What about trafficking?” Yes and yes. These are global issues, and we are all working to better educate the community, to work toward prevention and to prosecute the offenders. It’s nice to know that oceans apart, we are striving for the same things.

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