Five UOW Law students, Andrew Mastroianni, Grace Welsby, Saeromi Kim, Kristina Komadina and Michael Meletis, spent 4 weeks interning with law firms in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in November-December 2019.
The students worked in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, undertaking work across a range of areas from intellectual property to commercial law and employment law. Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics - Bachelor of Laws student, Andrew Mastroianni said, ‘It was an amazing experience. It took a little while to get used to the firm culture and the way of doing things but everyone was so helpful and friendly. Most business is transacted in English which makes it easier to undertake allocated tasks. The legal principles applied in many areas of law are the same as what we study in Australia, although in some areas there is specific codified Malaysian Law and, in others, Sharia Law applies. On a social level, my workmates shared ‘local knowledge’ with me which included great eating and travel tips. We also got to attend an event at the Australian High Commission which was exciting. Living in the centre of this bustling city was also a fantastic experience, though traffic is not for the faint-hearted!”
The internship as made possible through Federal Government funding via the New Colombo Plan (NCP). Each student received a $3000 grant to go toward their travel, accommodation and expenses. Internship coordinator, John Littrich, said “We’ve been running the Malaysian Internship program since 2011 and have been able to successfully apply for funding to keep it going. We couldn’t have kept it up without the NCP funding. It’s such an amazing experience for students, not just in terms of the workplace experience but the cultural immersion that takes place. The participating firms are all local firms and students work and live in central Kuala Lumpur for 4 weeks while interning. Kuala Lumpur has such a rich cultural mix and is a place on non-stop activity””.
The 4 week (20 day) internship also meets the requirement of the mandatory internship subject LLB 397/3397. “Not only do students get to satisfy this requirement through the Malaysian Internship, they have a unique workplace and cultural experience and get to have a good talking point on their CV. Past participants have commented on how their participation in this program has been a talking point at job interviews”, Mr Littrich said. ”Last year we received multi-year NCP funding for 2019, 2020 and 2021, with additional funding to grow student numbers so we will be seeing more students being able to access this experience.”