Friday, January 27, 2006

The art of befuddlement

Summer's looming not too far in the horizon and I am befuddled. I have three options for what to do this summer and I've consulted with friends and family to the point of them throwing up their hands and fleeing in the opposite direction when they see me coming with the pensive look upon my face. So I ask you: Faced with these options what would you do? Note: the Summer programs cost about the same, are of the same duration, and same credit hours just different places.

Four Week Summer Abroad To Austria: This is a program in International Commercial Arbitration. We visit Linz, Vienna, Salzburg, Treinto; Italy; Prague and Budapest and visit the arbitraton courts of each city.

Four Week Summer Abroad To Brazil: This is a program in health and environmental law. We live in great accomadations right by Impanada and Copa Cabana but we also visit the Favelas (the slums) as part of our projects.

Don't Go To Either: And stay at home and work and take summer classes.

I'm torn. Part of me wants to go to Brasil. Yes it's is more dangerous and I've heard from people that it's more of a party city but I'm drawn to it for the opportunity to sit shoreside for four weeks perusing the hippie fairs and buying mangoes of every flavor and texture imaginable. But most of the advice I've received is to go to Austria. I mean how often do you get to see all those cities? Plus its safer. I actually reserved skymiles for Austria. But I don't feel that excited about it as I do about Brasil. Perhaps its because the Brasil professor had a snazzy slideshow with enticing visuals of oceans and mangoes. Perhaps its being in one country and truly absorbing the culture. I don't really know. I went to the professors for advice knowing that ofcourse they'd favor their own program but I had no idea the ferocity of their passion for their program. The Europe professor said, "sure go to Brasil if you enjoy getting mugged and shot." The Brasil said something so bizarre I can't really repeat it online. Needless to say, not much help.

And maybe I shouldnt go at all. Kashif encourages me to go abroad but I'll miss him :( Plus trips cost money maybe I should save the money and we could take a trip together? *sigh* I have applied for internships as well for summer jobs which if I get a very promising one I will pick over the other options simply because it makes better career sense. But if not... I'm torn about what to do... Been to any of these cities? Not been but know what you'd do in my shoes? Any advice much appreciated!

Thanks for all your advice. It means a lot to me that you took the time out to call, comment or email with your input. Hopefully after some soul searching I will reach a decision by week's end.

48 comments:

Jane said...

That is a tough call...If it were me the choice would only be between Brazil and Austria. If after more thought I couldn't make up my mind I'd flip a coin (no really I would) to choose. I actually did that when deciding to leave Spain for France. Go for Aisha! Get out of Atlanta for awhile. It will breathe fresh air into your soul.

Champ - Love Hound said...

I Love Vienna, I 've been there 'n' I Loved it there. You should go for the first choice.

If you visit Brazil, You can get the Nature 'n' all Beauty but there 'll be no rich deep culture 'n' history like Europe.

But if you chose Europe, you can enjoy Natural beauty of Vinna, Culture of Italy 'n' Historic values of Budapest.

Here I think you did a huge Typo error, You put PRAGUE which is not in Europe, it's in South America. I think you were gonna put Portugal 'n' yes it has Lovely Historic places 'n' I just Loved it there.

God bless you....

Aisha said...

Jane, thanks for the advice:) It would be nic efor a vacation.

Boxin. Maybe I spelled it wrong but there is a prague in Europe.

Aisha said...

FYI Boxin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague

mezba said...

Choice of summer between Europe and South America? I would choose Europe in a heartbeat. Austria's great, plus you can go down to so many other countries nearby for different cultures. Bulgaria nearby has Ottoman ruins and all, Rome for Vatican and etc. The Alps have great skiing all year round. Honestly, to me, this is no puzzle at all. Austria.

However, when you say you want to work in Atlanta in summer and save up to take a trip together later, now that is a tough call to make. I would stay and work in Atlanta and save up.

Southern Masala said...

Hey Aisha, If I were you I would definitely take any opportunity to go out of the country before I am tied to a desk. I would go to Brazil, but that is probably because I have been to Europe 3 times already. Italy is amazing!!! I have not been to the other places, but I would LOVE to see Prague and Budapest. I think it would be nice to see the juxtaposition between East and West Europe. So on second thought it is a tough decision (do you think one would help you in your career more than the other, both are big commerce places, do you want to do international commerce law?). I am going to Indian and Pakistan for the second half of this summer and I am totally psyched. Get out of Atlanta before you have a job and kids (at least thats my motto!).

momyblogR said...

OK. Now, I'm befuddled! My first impulse was "GO to BRAZIL!" then I kept reading, lol.

Your husband is a wonderful man for encouraging you to go. But, I'm with you on the missing him part. I don't think I'd be very happy being away from Honey that long.

Maybe take some summer classes but as far as going away? I say, take a wonderfully romantic trip together. After all, who wants to work in all these fabulous places? Go some where with Hubby and ENJOY!!

As you can tell, I'm all about the sweet stuff, lol.

FunkyB said...

I kind of feel like you should go somewhere, if only because you may never have this experience again. You've got your whole life to stay home and take classes or work... I hate to hear of people who look back and say, "if only..."

And I've been to Italy... and I want to be there forever, so my vote is on option 1.

Aisha said...

Mezba good point re Europe... I dont know if I'll have anytime to go beyond our itinerary to go skiing or anything (oh that sounds so fun!) but thanks for the input... seems like most ppl are leaning towards Austria.

Southern Masala and Robin you guys are SO right. The opportunity won't be here forever. I never thought of it like that. Once the job starts when can I go for four weeks to another country. This is really helping me think things through thanks! :)

Mommyblogr, you know you raise a good ponit about the time together on a trip. I just realized that though Austria is booked as far as skymiles go... brasil might not be! Maybe Kashif could come for a week or two of the trip then! Yay I'm so glad I posted. Great ideas coming.

mystic-soul said...

Its so easy !!. Who will answer anything except Austria. Its so obvious.

(Also Brazil is just down the road !!, you can go later with Kashif)

Aman said...

Isn't there one in Singapore :)

Aman said...

Personally I would go to Brazil. Last semester we had this session with a CEO of some company and when he was asked about the most memorable time of his life, he goes, it was the time I spent in Brazil.

Zainab said...

Boxin' champ,
Prague is the capital of Czech Republic, formal Czechoslovakia, which is a country right next to Austria, its about 4 hours in train from Vienna.
Aishah, I live in Czech. People say that Prague is beautiful, very historical, same as Vienna and Budapest. I live here so of course i'd tell you to come here. I dont know much about Brasil so I cannot even compare. I'd probably choose the "nature" over the "history" because I live in Prague where you get lots of history but not so much of the nature.
So at the end, its your call :-)

say what? said...

How about a trip to sweden :))
And swedes are cute too .. !

Aisha said...

Mystic, thanks for the input :) Europe isn't *that* far away either though!

Aman, welcome back! you know I've herad that too from someone! That it was the most memorable time of their life. Thanks for the insight:)

Sister!! Welcome and what luck I have to find someone from the area!! I have a serious question for you one reason I hesitate to go to Austria is that pepole say that area of Europe is very racist. I was told that me being desi will make me very uncofmortable there. Do you have any personal experience to avice on this?

TDH(!): Sweden? First c cuteness is no factor.. ahem.. married remember! :) Sweden doesnt offer a program... but thanks for narrowing my options :-/

Dil-E-Nadaan said...

Aisha: Are you a 1L? I think your first choice should obviously be the job/internship if you get one you like? Otherwise I would definetly study abroad, and commercial arbitration might come in hany more if your thinking of going corp post-law school. If you are a 1L, I hear that when we come back and interview in the Fall for 2L summer jobs that the firms and other interviewers just love to hear about travel experiences, and a lot of people seem to get call backs from those interesting and refreshing conversations. Lastly, I am in the same boat you are: deciding whether I want to go to Africa and work with human rights law or stay here and clerk and work at a small firm and just make some money, I have decided that there are very very few chances we will have in our lives again to just leave everything and spend time abroad, and we should take them as they come. Loans will come and go, its just a drop in the bucket, and we can pay those off when we start working iA. Hope this helps, I really feel like I relate to you with this post...Over here we just got first semester grades! aaah!

wayfarer said...

Tough decision. Hmmm, wellllll, eating would be hard in Brazil. For one they love their pork. Second, they love their meat. But besides that, i've always wanted to go there, albeit, not the slums.

I've been to Austria and that place rocks. Lots of history and excellent coffee.

Staying home would also be nice because you could hang out with your hubby and that way i can see you over the summer too. We can go for nice hikes and picnics. :-)

Well, i didn't help at all did i?

sophister said...

there was a program to study law in Bosnia in my law school when i was a 1L - i would pick that before I picked any of these tourist trap countries. but if those are the only options, Brasil!

Aisha said...

Nermeen. NO I'm not a 1L :(. This is why the decision is hard. I'm a 2L but I'm in a weird situation where I was part time last year, full time this year. I'm still take 1L classes (torts/civ pro) and so I'm not ranked. This made it hard for fall interviews b/c its competeive and who will they pick? someone ranked or someone not? This is my last summer and I'd like to get an internship and I'm trying right now for summer internships... we'll see how that goes BUT the good thing with these programs is they are only 4 weeks long. I'll be back by June 18. That still gives me 2 months to work? I dont know. What do you think?

Wayfarer, yeah i heard they eat a lot of Pork there. As far as the meat I do eat outside meat but I prefer organic meat b/c I herad the animals are treated better. I'll be back though and go on hikes and picnics when I retrun though :) ACtually I just found out that for the Brasil flight Kashif can come with me for a week!!!!! With the Austria program it's all bookied up... hmmm!

Sophister,welcome! Bosnia wow! That must have been eye opening. Thanks for the assured vote. Not many people actually picking one over the other :) leaving me just as confused as before! :)

Emory said...

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

"The meeting was secular but I felt the love and compassion that God wants us to show each other .... but also through our actions. ..... They went not just to pray, they went to feel needed and to belong."

"my (theoretical) children's success will certainly not depend on the digits on our bank statement but on immeasurable other things that money simply can't provide"

"... most of the advice I've received is to go to Austria.... Plus its safer......But I don't feel that excited about it as I do about Brasil."


As destinations go there is no comparison between the two. The cities of Europe are arguably without equal. Prague especially so. It was untouched by WWII and frozen in time by the cold war. It is a place that my brother is considering for his retirement. He has traveled to every country on our planet, and for him Prague is the most wonderful, hands down.

But what is your destination. What is it that you would like to make a diffence in. International Arbitration, or Environmental Health Law. What path do you think will be fullfilling, which path leads you to you "bliss." Building a resume you should go to Europe, following a different path you should go to Brazil.

Indeed, "two paths diverged in a yellow wood" and sitting at the fork in the path is not an option.

Big kudoo's to Kashif. Supportive and encouraging of you, to explore the yellow wood.

Huda said...

I think I'd disagree that there's no rich, deep culture and history in Brazil; it's just not going to be the rich, deep culture and history you read about in your high school history book.

That being said, I think if your heart is telling you Brazil, go to Brazil. Also it sounds like the programs you'd be studying in Brazil are a little more interesting, and it seems more up your alley than arbitration courts in Europe.

If Kashif's okay with it, you should definitely go abroad instead of staying in town. Plus, maybe he can come visit for a week or so? :)

Sohnii said...

Aisha! I was going to see austria like everyone else cuz Europe really is worth seeing... but i think u shud goto brazil...

Ull get to spend time with Kashif (cheers for him for being so supportive) and ull get to see brazil in detail. Travelling isnt fun until u spend as many days as u really want in a place. Europe is worth going to, trust me on that, but u really have to give it a lot of time to soak in everything.

Zainab said...

Salaam Aisha,
well, about racism, Im not so sure. Actually there is so many foreigners here nowdays that I wouldnt say you would experience anything weird. I am a hijabi and yeah, I do get these weird looks from time to time, but thats usually when people hear me talking czech. Otherwise they would think Im a foreigner as well. I'd say that foreigners are treated very well here, many czechs hope to "make good connections worldwide" so most of the time, you may get better treatment then czechs themselves. There is loads of students here from all over the world, studying especially at Charles University, big % of czech people speak english now - it is a must for the younger generations. In Austria there is loads of muslims (and foreigners) as well, I really dont think it could be a problem. Anyways, there are rasists everywhere in the world, you might as well have problems in Brasil :)
As far as pork is concerned, yes, it is the national food of Czechs, Germans and Austrians. Be careful about eating out... if i eat out, I usually order vegetarian or sea food. You'd better not trust anyone non-muslim if they say: there is no port in this. For many people pork means the actual meet, they dont consider for example the "pig fat" that they add to the meal as pork. Same with alcohol, beer or wine is not alcohol for many... things are cooked on wine here... so just be aware.
If u have any other questions, just ask :)

Masti-boy said...

Aisha Apa - desi lurki ki khanai - i uploaded on my blog

Kuch likha tha na aap ne - desi lurkion ki bebasi ke bare main.

Aisha said...

Emory thanks for the advice. I've heard many such things about Prague, infact Kashif and I wanted to vacation there someday before these programs were even up for consideratoin. So Europe is a better resume builder than Brasil? Hm. Food for thought definetly. Regarding the Frost reference... seems life itself is two roads diverged...sitting on the edge of the fork in this scenario would be staying in atlanta working and taking classes... What about the other quotes?

Huda yeah, i just talked to delta and they have availabilty to book kashif there plus my flight would be non stop from atl to gig instead of literally seven stops to vienna from where i'd take a train to linz... do you think that it'd be career wise wiser to stay and look for summer jobs though?

Sohnii I've seen parts of Europe I went to Paris and Turkey (I call it partly Europe!) and England.. but yeah yo'ure advice is good... Kashif going is an important factor for me. People who've been on both trips say that Austria trip is wonderful but it is a bit rushed as you travel all those cities in the span of 4 weeks not to mention complete 6 credits.

Sister thanks for the advice about pork and alcohol I would never have known!! Thanks for the advice about foreigners... it makes me feel better :)

Masti-boy. I looked at it but didnt understand it. particularly sinc the words were in hindi.

Baji said...

Absorb the culture, go with your gut, eat mangoes, sit seaside and work more intensely with the people on health and enviro. issues. I am sure the school realy wouldn't encourage a trip if it were statistically that dangerous. Besides, you are a seasoned traveler, you will be fine.

Tee said...

Ugh - I'm struggling in thought for you as well... I say you live once - go with what you feel pulled towards. (Sounds like Brazil.) ... Yes, you could save and go somewhere else together - but let me tell you - once you have kids, a lot of things go on hold. Enjoy some travel. Go. Go somewhere. Atleast I would... I would probably pick Brazil. My grandmother is actually from Austria and I've heard it's very beautiful - and you get to see more it sounds like but, I don't know, I'd feel pulled towards Brazil as well... For one thing I just love the language. Portugese is such a beautiful language. I could listen to it being spoken forever. The people are also so passionate. I had a friend from Brazil. He was an exchange student in high school. What great lively people they are.

Good luck on your decision!

Champ - Love Hound said...

I'm an applicant, askin' for Pardon. LOL! I didn't think you were talkin' about Czech Republic. I don't know if you 'll like it there or not, It's the Poorest country in Europe 'n' Tourist facilities 're not enough there. Though I never visited there.

Thankyou for clearin' the Mistake. *smiles*

God bless you.....

Raheel said...

Personally if the places are concerned, I will go to Austria. But the study topic of brazil is more interesting.

If you get a good internship go for it or else go to the place where there is more interesting topic.

Shabina said...

Everyone's responses were too long, and i'm sleepy...so apologies if i'm repeating :)

Dude, definitely go *somewhere*, you have the whole rest of your life to be at home! I'd go with Brazil, b/c even though they speak Portuguese, it's so close to all those wonderful Spanish-speaking countries!!

That interaction would help you more (professionally) back here in the states than an internship in Europe, right?

A. Eteraz said...

to answer your question on eteraz.wordpress.com

no.

ASH said...

Aisha, you've obviously already talked to me on this point so I shan't add more. But I agree with Emory in the sense that maybe the decision should be based on which area of Law you are more interested in or you feel will help you in future. I'm not sure about the resume builder thing, I believe that a future Law firm that is looking at you will be impressed with the fact that you took the courses abroad at all. And Brazil is an up and coming country as far as it's economy and it's potential.

I will have to take a great issue with Boxin's comments on Brazil not having as rich a history as the European countries. When Pizarro's lieutenant hacked his way through the Peruvian jungle and then built some large rafts and travelled down what is today the Amazon (his route was the Rio Negra down to the Amazon where it meets near the present day city of Manaus) he wrote an account of huge cities that ran for miles along the river's banks. He spoke of kingdoms with matrilineal societies...hence the river being named for the mythic Amazons. Later it was colonized by the Portugese, and the importation of slaves over the centuries has given Brazil capoera, maroon culture, and it's wild Carnival...not to mention African religious hold-outs like Candomble. When Napoleon conquered the motherland the Portugese kings lived in exile in Brazil before the nation finally reached independence. So it is nation with a vibrant history just as deep as any other.

Sorry for the history lesson, just making a point. Are you inclined in any particular direction vis-a-vis the actual coursework?

Zainab said...

Ahhhh, now Im gonna sound like a big patriot *wink* but Boxing Champ, Czech Republic is not the poorest country in Europe and not sure what you mean by not enough of turist facilities.. so i wont comment on that.
Had to get that off my chest :) Leaving now... *smile*

Marel Lecone said...

Wow--so many choices. If your husband doesn't mind, go away and do one of the programs. I'm sure they both will have their own adventures and learning experiences. :)

Hadeel said...

omg - go somewhere please. i'd do austria, but u know urself and what serves ur purposes better. so brazil would be cool too :) DO NOT STAY HOME is the bottom line i guess!!

Aisha said...

Baji, Tee, Shabs, thanks for the vote for Brazil :) Y'all raise good points.

Boxin, we all make mistakes :)
Sister thanks for stepping in and representing your country! :)

Raheel, Marel, Hadeel, thanks for the vote of confidence!So far only a handful have said "stay".... :)

Ash, I agree obviously an old country like Brazil is going to have rich history. Like Huda said it may not be the history we learned in our US textbooks. I am more inclined towards one over the other as I've thought about it more and more :)

Champ - Love Hound said...

SISTER _ Didn't mean to hurt anybody, I'm sorry if you were offended by my comments. But yes Czeck Republic is a Poor country, how can you oppose it?

I think if I 'll explain it, it 'll hurt you more. But I didn't say nothin' against Czeck people, Coz I 've worked with them. I know they 're Nice.

God bless you......

AISHA _ Thankyou Dear1 for your Nice comments on my blog.

God bless you.....

Champ - Love Hound said...

SISTER _ Didn't mean to hurt anybody, I'm sorry if you were offended by my comments. But yes Czeck Republic is a Poor country, how can you oppose it?

I think if I 'll explain it, it 'll hurt you more. But I didn't say nothin' against Czeck people, Coz I 've worked with them. I know they 're Nice.

God bless you......

AISHA _ Thankyou Dear1 for your Nice comments on my blog.

God bless you.....

Maleeha said...

both of your options sound exciting, but it seems your heart is already set on Brazil. I would wait to see what your domestic options are before making a final decision.

Aamina said...

Wow, how cool is that? It's like a long-term field trip. I'd take the first option, you get to see more places.

Aisha said...

Aamina thanks for you input and haha yeah its like a long field trip :) Luv you kiddo.

Maleeha you would be a great person to advise me on this actually. I'm in a dilemma b/c I need to register for brasil by mid feb. employers are coming to interview late feb. So do I just not go on the hope I get work? or should i go to brasil which is only four weeks and then if i get interviewed ask for a partial internship for six weeks? Any advice much appreciated sis.

Maleeha said...

hmm...i think whatever you do this summer, you should have an eye on how you can spin this to look good for your campus interviews for firms (presumably) for next summer. my inclination is to say to go to brazil b/c that would give you something really interesting to talk about. BUT its only for a month, and employers might not like you to split a summer (although many allow it). is there any way you can find out what employers are coming late feb? i would think the best thing would be to contact them before they come, tell them you're really interested in interviewing with them, but that this opportunity has presented itself, and you want to find out whether they allow a split summer. i dont think this'll hurt you. you should talk to your career services ppl too. good luck - i'll keep checking your blog to see what you decide.

Aisha said...

That's a great idea! I could call them and ask them if they're willing to split. My problem Maleeha is that I'm a weird hybrid 2L which means though I'm classified as a 1L I graduate next year. This is my last summer as a law student. My last summer to do a summer internship. I worked at a small immigration firm last summer, i'm with the aclu now, but nothing for the summer. I tried to get something during the first round of internships in the fall but as i'm not ranked i got nothing. now public sector employers are coming and some mid-small sized firms. I dont know how it works really. Is not getting a 2L internship equal to no job upon graduation? I do have some legal experience and I anticpate working next fall and spring if even if its just externships. I'm so confused. :) But thanks for your advice.

Maleeha said...

I definetly think that if you decide to go to Brazil you should still do some sort of legal work when you get back, so to that end asking the employers whether they'll split is a good idea.

Most ppl that go to big firms for 2L summer presumably have a job lined up after graduation. for the rest of us folks (I fall in this category) have to hussle to get fellowship or a clerkship, which are more competitive. One advantage of splitting this 2L summer would be that you might be able to develop ties with an organization that might sponsor you for a fellowship after graduation.

Seems like we have similar backgrounds - I worked for the ACLU my 1L summer and will be working for an immigration firm this summer, but i'm not guaranteed a job upon graduation. So i'll be trying to find some organization to sponsor me for a fellowship and trying to keep my grades up to make me competitive for a clerkship. Ahh the joys and stress of law school...

Anyway, good luck! I'm sure you'll figure this out soon.

Aisha said...

Maleeha, that's cool that you worked with the aclu! My first summer I worked with a small immigration firm which was cool. I wonder because you go to Michigan they help you out more (and ofcourse name means a lot in law school) to get these clerkships. I herd clerking for a judge or something is a great lifestyle and very fulfilling. Just dont know how to get it. My career services office is terrible but I guess I could ask around to figure it out. I'm not used to this because in teaching you have people knocking down your door to work for them. I found a legal placemenet office too that puts you in jobs so I'm going to ask them as well what options I have... *sigh* so much pressure.. thanks for the advice:)

Champ - Love Hound said...

No new Post??? Where 're you....

I hope you 're doin' good *Smiles*

God bless you....

Aisha said...

Post up boxin :)

Thanks all for your advice btw- I'm stewing on it right now but hopefully by week's end a decision will be made.

Baraka said...

Salaam,

Brazil. The dynamics of a developing country implementing environmental & health law will be amazing. Brazil is an intriguing case study under Lula who has sympathy for the rural landless workers' movement & is an outspoken critic of the FTAA.

I guess my feeling is that Europe is always an option that can be easily done later, but Brazil will open your mind in so many ways. I used to work specifically on human rights in Brazil so think it's fascinating.

Good luck!

Baraka

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