Anticipation, curiosity and excitement was in the air as the second group of Strathmore Law School students embarked on a 10-day International Academic trip to Europe. They visited the Netherlands, Italy and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
For some, it was their first time on a plane and the first time in a different country. Imagine the thrill of taking pictures of the “Kwaheri Kenya” sign as one exited the airport to board the plane, the butterflies in one’s stomach during take-off and posting “Europe, here we come!”
The trip exposed SLS prospective lawyers to legal professional fields through visiting places and organizations such as the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNIRMCT), the Kenyan Embassy in Netherlands, Roman Forum, and Palace of Peace, just to mention a few.
Het was erg koud! (It’s very cold!)
“Upon arrival, we were met by the freezing temperatures. The climate of the Netherlands, influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, is cool and cloudy for most of the year. Sunlight is a luxury. One may find it hard to adjust to the weather, especially those coming from relatively warm countries. But that did not matter to us. The grandeur of a new city distracted us from the cold.
We got the opportunity to visit the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. This is the body that oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons. We had an interactive lecture on how chemical weapons threaten international peace, security and stability. A fun fact about OPCW is that it was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace for their extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.
At The Hague, we visited the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (UNIRMCT) and attended a lecture on the work and history of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and how that work has paved the way for other tribunals.
We also visited the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) and were welcomed by the Secretariat that enlightened us on the eye opening opportunities in the legal field. We got to hear more about the #CapeTownConvention that fulfils its aims of modernizing, harmonizing and coordinating private and in particular commercial law between states.
Home away from home
During the trip, we had the privilege of being hosted by the Kenya Embassy at the Hague. We had a brief lecture with the representatives who demonstrated how foreign policy, international law and diplomatic relations between Netherlands and Kenya work and are strengthened through bilateral relations.
In those moments of feeling like home is a million miles away, we were offered a hot and well-brewed cup of chai, scrumptious cookies and cake that made us feel like we were on Kenyan soil.
The world is ours to explore
We were all meant to roam, explore new lands, travel and see breath-taking sights all around the world. After the interactive and informative lectures, we let our curiosity lead the way.
FamiliePark Drievliet, the amusement park, brought the inner child out of us. Bright flashing lights, shrieks, music and laughter. The ferris wheel, merry go round… you name it, we hopped onto them, enjoyed ourselves and danced the night away.
Not to mention, we tried our luck playing the ring toss and darts to win enormous stuffed animals offered as prizes. Now, these games look simple and easy to play but it takes patience to win the prizes.
While visiting the Rome Colosseum, we were impressed by the ancient buildings and monuments from antiquity. How can such beautiful columns be so old and still stand proudly after over 2000 years? Walking in Rome is literally like walking in a museum. Every few meters there is a monument, a statue or a historical building. The history and grandeur of this wonder is like no other. Magnificent, isn’t it?
At the Colosseum, one often encounters showmen dressed up as gladiators. A photo session with them makes a great souvenir, but be prepared to part ways with some few euros.
A man, dressed as a legionnaire, photobombed our pictures and we thought this would look good. Little did we know that we would part ways with 5 euros per person after taking the snapshot with him! In as much as it was painful letting go of that money, it was worth it to have a memory of that moment.
Travel and experience. These is education in itself
The trip, organized by Strathmore Law School, exposes the students to critical legal institutions and experts that acquaint them with the real-world experience of law, human rights and justice at work. Furthermore, they gain a rich cultural experience off their European trip. The visits to breath-taking sites and organizations in Europe was eye-opening and will forever be etched in the students’ memory.
Fun facts about Europe;
- The sun sets at around 8 p.m., so late you’d actually lose track of time while exploring the new brightly lit places.
- Most shops in Europe close quite early. You would probably find yourself touring an empty street.
- Take pictures with the gladiators. Of course, it will leave a dent in your pocket, but it is worth the memory.
This article was written by Jemmy Kamau.
What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org