November 23rd 2017 at 7:19 am
Final-year law student Gabrielle Sumich is breaking new ground as the first McCusker Centre for Citizenship intern to work at prestigious London-based law reform organisation JUSTICE UK.
Gabrielle has just flown to London to live and work for three months – an opportunity she describes as both unique and thrilling. For 60 years JUSTICE UK has successfully agitated for law reform that better protects individual rights and which reflects the UK’s reputation for upholding international law. There is no direct Australian equivalent.
“It’s an organisation with a strong voice that is heavily involved in that country’s courts and political systems and has a reputation for actually making change happen,” Gabrielle explains.
“JUSTICE UK attracts excellent lawyers, many of them former barristers and solicitors who’ve come from private firms into the not-for-profit sector because they want to make a difference.
“So I’m really looking forward to being immersed in that environment of top lawyers and human rights advocates and learning about how the organisation approaches law reform and how that compares to Australia.
“I’m looking forward to forming relationships that I can maintain and maybe engage with later on in my career, too. “There are not many other ways for an Australian student to go to the UK and find an internship like this. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along every day – I can’t wait.”
Gabrielle says she’s always had an interest in human rights, which she partly attributes to her schooling – at St Hilda’s and later Santa Maria – which she says instilled a strong focus on giving back to the community.
She has also completed night courses at Red Cross and incorporated human rights-focused electives in her law studies at UWA. While the London internship is daunting, Gabrielle says she’s glad she didn’t let fear hold her back from applying. “Being given this opportunity has really confirmed for me the value in giving something a go even if you might be lacking in confidence,” she says.
Gabrielle is one of just over 350 students to have undertaken an internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at UWA since the Centre opened in late 2015. The McCusker Centre for Citizenship has partnered with more than 250 organisations and interns have contributed more than 31,000 hours to the local, national and international community to date.
Do you want to see how you can make a difference in your community? Applications are open for Semester 1 McCusker Centre for Citizenship internships! Find out more here