I was lucky to have the opportunity to undertake a five week legal internship in New York City, at a civil rights law firm. I looked forward to the internship throughout my final year at university. Thinking about all the fun I would have and what it would be like to ‘live in the City’ made all the hard work of fourth year worth it! However, the invaluable experience did not come without hard work to prepare for it (difficulties in finding accommodation, visa considerations etc.) and even with this all organised, by the time came to get on the flight, I had a few worries about what it truly meant to be a New Yorker for the summer.
Being someone who likes company, I was concerned about my first truly solo trip. They do say that despite the population nearing nine million, NYC can be one of the loneliest places to live. However, the flight proved the first opportunity to make friends and connections in the City. The lady who I sat next to happened to work in the civil rights field and as well as having lots of interesting tales of her exciting working life and showing interest in my internship, she also had some good tips on how to work the daunting subway system! She was kind enough to give me her business card and offered to help if I needed help over my placement. It seems that you never know where you will meet interesting people and eased my concern about being lonely for the summer.
With sound advice from my friend on the flight, I made it to my accommodation the New Yorker way; one train, one subway, two overweight suitcases and a lot of stairs! Having researched where to stay in NYC, I decided on a residence for women who intern in the city. Although seeming a bit of a ‘blast from the past’ with a no boys policy, it was a safe, affordable and fun place to stay. My experience at the residence demonstrated how important it is to find somewhere that will suit you to live, it gave me the opportunity to take part in social events and meet people, who similarly to me, wanted to make the most of their time in NYC.
Having settled in to my accommodation, the next event was starting work. I could not wait to get stuck in and gain experience in the civil rights field, something which I would not be able to do back home. I had been told that part of my role would include delivering documents across to some of the courts across the district. At first I found the sheer number of people travelling to work and the widely scattered courts intimidating. It is a little different to what now seems the more compact system in Scotland. However, after shadowing my supervisors for the first couple of court runs, I soon found it easy to find my way around and enjoyed getting to see all the different parts of New York along the way. One of the courts was beside the famous Yankee Stadium and so I could really do some sightseeing on the go!
I found that this ability to get manoeuvre my way around the busy city, made me more adventurous in my spare time. I The challenges I faced in NYC made me more independent and some of the highlights were things I had done myself including the runs across the Brooklyn Bridge and visits to the arts museums. I am extremely grateful for having had this taster of life living in the city and the experience has given me confidence that I am able to handle challenging situations. I am now left trying to think of my next excuse to go back!