January 21 was the first day of spring semester. Since I’m a 3L headed into my last semester, you might assume that my first day was not especially new or exciting. Sure, I might be eager to start interesting classes, but I should know what to do and where to go by now, right? Well…not quite. I’m not in New York City. I’m not in the familiar rooms of Vanderbilt or Furman Hall. I’m in Buenos Aires.
Last year, when NYU announced its special new study-abroad programs—located in Buenos Aires, Shanghai, and Paris—I knew I had to apply. One of the reasons (among many!) that I chose NYU was for its strong emphasis on understanding law in a broader global context. Whether or not a lawyer specifically practices international law, in-depth understanding of the legal practices and systems of other regions can be invaluable. With such knowledge, corporate lawyers may better inform clients of investment risks; nonprofit lawyers may better tailor strategies to promote human rights; and government lawyers may assess the ways in which the US might be strengthened or reformed. I didn’t want to miss such a fantastic opportunity to gain these skills (and, of course, get to explore a country and culture at the same time!). I chose to apply to Buenos Aires as the courses available offered a perfect mix of public interest, government, and private-sector topics, and because I wanted to improve my rusty Spanish while living somewhere I had never been.
Now I’m here, writing to you from my patio in Palermo Soho, a leafy tree-lined neighborhood of Buenos Aires. My classmates and I have been practicing our Spanish as we’ve begun orienting ourselves to the sights and sounds of the city. In the past few days I’ve walked miles and miles, visiting the sites of Buenos Aires. I’ve eaten delicious meals with my classmates, practiced Spanish in the grocery store, and relaxed in the city’s gorgeous rose garden. My fellow students and I have laughed on the colorful streets of La Boca and discussed Argentine politics outside the Casa Rosada, the office of the president of Argentina. A tour guide even lost us in the maze of La Recoleta, the famous cemetery.
The Porteños (Buenos Aires residents) who we’ve met here have been wonderful. They’ve been patient with our Spanish and helpful in sending us in the right direction. We know where to go for ice cream and steak, music and theater, groceries and clothing.
Of course, we’re here to be law students and not just tourists (as fun as that might be!). We’re now familiar with the beautiful, wood-paneled NYU building, and have set up our access to the law facilities at the University of Buenos Aires. Classes began on the 27th—wish us luck!