International Students’ Goals, Backgrounds Bring Fresh Perspectives to Law School

The 84 students who make up the law school’s current contingent of international students hail from 16 foreign countries, and their backgrounds and goals are just as diverse. Their homelands include Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Iran, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. The students’ interests cover the full range of legal education, from corporate law to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), human rights, intellectual property, and all points in between. Twenty-five of them are exchange students, while the others are enrolled in one of the law school’s LLM or JSD graduate programs.

“The greatest strength of our graduate programs is our ability to tailor them to each student’s academic and career goals,” says Mike Koby, associate dean for International & Graduate Programs; professor of practice; and director of the Trial & Advocacy Program. “International students can concentrate in specialized fields, or they can select a more general course of study.”

Kanyamon Chairattanawan, from Thailand, is a good example. She already holds an LLM in international trade and commercial law from Durham University in England. At Washington University, she is in the LLM in Intellectual Property & Technology Law Program. With her diverse educational background, she has her sights set on a very ambitious goal—becoming a judge in her native country.

“There is currently a shortage of judges in Thailand,” says Chairattanawan. “I believe that is how I can best contribute to Thai society after I complete my studies.”

Another student who aspires to be a judge is Yining Feng, from Macau, China. An LLM in U.S. Law student, she is most interested in commercial law and has worked as a law firm assistant. She is fluent in seven languages and has  taught Chinese part time to foreigners. Feng earned her bachelor of laws from the University of Macau. 

“I have enjoyed meeting new people and making new friends in St. Louis,” Feng says.

Ashley Hammett, from Brisbane, Australia, is also an LLM in U.S. Law student. “I hope to have a career focusing on transnational legal issues of social justice in fields like environmental and criminal law,” she says. “I’m especially interested in addressing these challenges collaboratively by building and strengthening international ties and using ADR.”

Ahmad Mohammed Aljwair, a faculty member at Prince Salman University in Saudi Arabia, is pursuing his JSD. He says he chose Washington University not only because it is among the top 20 schools in the country, but also because of its weekend classes and faculty members who are leaders in their fields. [more]

Enrolled in the general LLM with a Concentration in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution is Emmanuelle Ruen from Paris, France. She holds her masters of private law degree from Paris 2 Assas University. “I have worked as an employment law judge and as a human resources manager,” she says. “I am interested in furthering my career in employment law, especially working in ADR in a human resources capacity.”

Most of the international students share an interest in exploring St. Louis, with Cardinals games, Forest Park, libraries, and learning about the city’s court system ranking highly on their “to-do” lists. But for exchange student Chi Cheng from Chongqing, China, St. Louis is just the beginning. “I plan to use my time at Washington University as a starting point in my journey to explore the world,” he says.