Latin America Student Exchange

March 1, 2011 - 12 AM

T.B., 1L

This summer, I will spend four weeks in Santiago, Chile, as part of the YLS Linkages Program. In Santiago, I will learn about the Chilean legal system through class visits, meetings with government officials and NGOs, and interactions with law students. Linkages is an exchange program: I’ll be living with a Chilean law student and collaborating with Universidad de Chile and Universidad Diego Portales during my time in Chile this summer. In exchange, for three weeks this February, ten law students from Chile, Brazil, and Argentina spent their summer vacations in snowy New Haven visiting YLS.

I had the good fortune of hosting a Chilean law student during her time in New Haven, the same student that I’ll be living with in Santiago this summer. For three weeks, she and the other Linkages participants had ideal access to the best of Yale Law School: a schedule that included lectures, debates, movie screenings, discussions with professors, and the flexibility to attend whichever classes and reading groups most interested them on any given day. I invited the Linkages group to some of my classes and extracurricular activities, and also lived vicariously through them as they shared their daily experiences with me.

During their time here, each Linkages participant gave a presentation related to their work or academic interests in their home countries. I learned about abortion in Argentina, media markets in Brazil, and prison conditions in Chile. The presentations catalyzed conversations about governance and justice, and our diverse backgrounds and experiences enhanced those discussions.

Hosting a Linkages participant also enlivened my social life. From salsa dancing to sushi night, movies to museum visits, I tagged along with the Linkages group on their explorations of New Haven and the YLS social scene. The Linkages participants had their first sledding experience, attended a Super Bowl viewing party, and cheered for Yale at a Yale/Harvard hockey game.

It was sad to say goodbye at the end of the three weeks. I look forward to continuing the Linkages experience this summer in Chile.