Kent Law School alumna Ava Strowel secured a six-month internship at the International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) in Paris shortly after graduating with an LLB degree in English and French Law in June.
Congratulations on securing an internship with the ICC! Can you tell us how you went about finding this internship?
I spent most of my summer, on and off, applying to internships or sending spontaneous applications to organisations I thought were interesting. I found the internship position for the ICC on LinkedIn. I would recommend most people start and focus their efforts on applying to jobs via LinkedIn. It gives the employer a chance to get a look at your page before inviting you to an interview.
Tell us about your role with the ICC – what does a typical day look like for you?
I work with the Institute of World Business Law at the ICC; this is a branch within ICC which focuses on offering training and conferences to exclusive members on arbitration and business law generally. I contribute to the research, organisation, and invitations of these events. I then get to attend these (online) events where professionals discuss very interesting topics!
You completed a four-year LLB degree in English and French Law earlier this year. Did your course live up to your expectations?
Kent Law School was a great experience, it provided me with many opportunities and the final year gave us much more flexibility to study modules we were more interested in. I think the possibility to study abroad was a highlight of my studies. I went to Aix-Marseille Université and it was a great way to discover the French legal system and a new way of living abroad.
Why did you choose to study English and French Law at Kent?
I changed courses in first year to start the English and French Law programme, I did this because I believed it would be more intellectually stimulating and challenging. I’m very happy with my change and I think it’s great to be able to study a course in English and in French, and to learn about two very distinct legal systems.
How did your course help you prepare for the experience of working in Europe?
Because of the independence we are given as Kent students, you must stay on top of your work and prepare for deadlines in advance. I believe this is a great skill to carry over into the work environment. At the ICC my boss will give me a lot of different tasks and I need to make sure I finish them on time and that I’m able to prioritise the more important ones. As I studied both common law and civil law, this has helped me to work in an international company.
During the final year of your studies, you chose the Law Dissertation module, writing a dissertation on the postcolonial character of peacekeeping missions. What skills do you feel you gained from the experience of researching and writing this dissertation?
[Ava’s dissertation, supervised by Kent Law School Reader in Law Dr Luis Eslava, focused on the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Belgium’s relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as her main case study.]
I highly recommend doing a dissertation, I did a 15 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) dissertation so it’s shorter (for those who may be intimidated by the length of words). However, in retrospect I would recommend probably doing the 30 ECTS. It’s a big commitment doing the dissertation so you might as well take the longer one. I had a great supervisor and learnt a lot of skills, but importantly I discovered a topic which I had never really researched but that I’m now passionate about.
Did you get involved in any extra-curricular activities at Kent?
Yes, I played hockey throughout my entire time at Kent (minus Covid times). It was a good way to build social skills and make great friends at Kent.
Can you tell us about your career plans?
I’m not sure yet! Although it was not my original plan, I am happy to have taken this year to work as it has given me new possibilities and shown me different subject I may not have previously considered for my Master’s. My internship at the ICC ends in February and I hope to find another six-month internship in Paris related to law, politics or public affairs.
What advice do you have for law students keen to secure internships with the ICC or with organisations more generally in Europe? Do you have some top tips you can share?
Persevere! Although applying to internships can be draining and a bit boring, you’ll always end up finding something! I would say don’t limit your options, apply to everything in which you have some interest because at the end of the day your first job experience is about the experience in general. It’s probably quite useful to speak another language if you want to work in international environment.
And finally, what’s your favourite memory of your time at Kent?
Living with my friends! It was an amazing experience living with friends, you created your own Kent family, and it really makes you more mature and independent.
Learn more about studying a degree in English and French Law at Kent