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1st Day of SiP in New Zealand

So I haven’t written in a while.  I completed all my courses and did alright, but I think I could’ve done better.  I hope that being away on SiP will allow me to re-focus and then to do really well when I return.  I’ve been at VLS for 2 1/2 years because I did it straight through – high school to 3 years of undergrad to 1 year of the MELP to 1.5 years of the JD.   So this is a lot of schooling and time without really experiencing the working world.  I mean I had a few part-time jobs in undergrad along with one full-time summer with the MI Dept. of Env. Quality.  However, when I got a chance last summer to work for the Trustees for Alaska, I got a thirst to experience even more of what it meant to be a lawyer so  that I could better understand my courses and relate it to real-life situations. 

I think I like learning by doing better than reading out of a textbook and trying to apply it to hypos that I sometimes don’t understand or can’t relate too.  So I applied for the SiP program and got a placement that best suited my personal career and academic curricular goals to actually learn more about being a lawyer and to apply what I’ve already learned and to get another boost so that I can complete my 3rd year the way I want to.  That way is by understanding real-life scenarios and knowing how what we’re learning in the classroom does apply outside of it.  I’ve heard many times, “will we really be using this?” or “how are we going to use this in our career?”  But many times we do use it, and I just want to actually experience how to use the law along with many other goals that I hope to carry out this semester that are a part of a 12 page curricular plan. 

The SiP process is going really well.   I applied in March of 2009 for an international SiP then worked with the SiP office throughout the summer and fall to confirm my placement.  The placement was finalized in November, but I bought my tickets and visa information in December once I sorted out the Financial Aid requirements that were necessary for this situation.  I was also provided with a Faculty Supervisor who is a VLS alumni that lives in Japan.  He seems like he will be a great supervisor and I can’t wait to get to know him more throughout this semester. 

After the semester ended, I went home for 10 days and spent it with family.  Then I traveled to Brisbane, Cairns, and Sydney, Australia from Jan. 5-13th.  I think the best parts were diving in the Great Barrier Reef, getting my advanced diving certification, sailing on a tall ship through the Sydney Harbor and laying on Bondi Beach.  Then I visited Nadi, Fiji from Jan. 13-15th.  This was an life-changing experience.  I learned a lot about Fiji and traveling here.  I would recommend if you go to Fiji to visit the small islands by hiring a plane/helicopter from the airport to take you after you get off your flight.  Since this is where you experience the Fiji that is advertised in all the magazines.  I experienced the “real” Fiji which I enjoyed, but was not ready for.  

On the 15th, I arrived in Auckland for a 3 hour layover until my flight to Wellington.  Once in Wellington, I stayed at my SiP mentor’s house with his family until I found an apartment to live in for the semester.  This was so nice of him and I couldn’t thank him enough for all the hospitality.  I found a place a few blocks or a 10 minute walk to work.  Plus it was near all the book stores, internet cafes, restaurants, shopping stores, etc.  Oh – it was 50s and rainy until the afternoon of my first day!  Yuck.  I would describe Wellington as a smaller version of mixing Seattle, San Fran, and New York.  Well at least that is my opinion.  I got settled into my apartment and met my 7 other flatmates.  I live with an opera singer, a hotel cleaner, a musician, a radio DJ, an insurance adjuster, a social worker, and a massage/accupunterist.  There are 6 males and 1 female, not including me.  They are from all over the place – 3 from NZ, 1 from UK, 1 from Hungary, and 1 from Spain.   I can’t wait to get to know more about them. 

 I started my first day at the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries on Jan. 18th (yes, you all had a holiday while I was working).  It was a cloudy morning to start, but when I left at 6pm it was a gorgeous day with blue skies, sun and 60 degree weather.  (Sorry for those of you in cold weather.)  At work, I met everyone in the office which is about 10 lawyers.  Although there are 13 more that are located in offices around New Zealand so I will meet them next month when everyone comes together.  Then I started learning about the issues I would be dealing with in the coming weeks.   I ate lunch at a place called BB’s.  It’s like Panda Express.  After work, a few of us met up for drinks so it was nice getting to know them on more of a personal level. 

I then walked about 2 miles exploring.  I found Mac’s Brewery, a good brewery, along with Te Papa, Māori Museum, along with lots of bars and restaurants.  I also went grocery shopping.  There were no american brands whatsoever so everything was new.  I felt like I’d never been shopping before!  I had to read things and figure out where they were in the grocery store.  I felt like a chicken with its head cut off…running around not really getting anything.  But I found most of what I needed then headed back to my place.  To get there though, I have to climb all uphill!  Whew!   What a climb.  I was exhausted by the time I got back so I just had cereal for dinner.  I read a book I bought “Oystercatchers” and did laundry before hitting the hay.  I’ve read quite a bit on this trip and hope I do more.  I already finished “Brida” on the plane ride from DET to LAX.  So I will need to start getting more to read, which will probably occur once I figure out an AWR topic. 

I woke up this morning to another sunny, gorgeous day.  I took a different route to work to become more familiar with the area.  It helps.  I got to work and started working on my SiP class and determining what the Ethics codes are in New Zealand.  They have their own set so I looked into it some more.

While I think that is it, I mean there is more to this post, but I’ve got to get back to my day so more to come…



  1. yzvls2010
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lisa, I am interested in the international SiP program and hope to find more details about the process from your experience. May I contact you by email? Thank you in advance. Yu

  2. yzvls2010
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Enjoy the rest of your stay in New Zealand!

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