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A split summer: Internships in Brazil and Israel

August 14, 2014
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Michigan Law student Liz Bundy in Rio.

Michigan Law student Liz Bundy in Rio.

When Liz Bundy returns to Michigan Law this fall, she’ll have no shortage of experiences and anecdotes to relate from her summer internships in Brazil and Israel, two nations that have both garnered international attention in recent months.

Her worldly endeavors have played a significant role in shaping her present studies, as well as influencing her professional aspirations for the years following law school.

“My experiences this summer have 100 percent reaffirmed my interest in pursuing a career with a strong international component and have broadened my understanding of the current and long-term conflicts facing the Middle East,” said Bundy, who logged more than 23,000 miles of crisscrossed travel between Ann Arbor, Rio de Janeiro, and Tel Aviv.

“My longstanding interest in both Latin American and Middle Eastern culture and the very different conflicts currently facing both regions encouraged me to divide my summer between Brazil and Israel,” she added.

Heading first to Brazil—and into the heart of World Cup fever— Bundy enrolled in an intensive, six-week Portuguese course in Rio de Janeiro before beginning independent research into the favela pacification process—the practice of sending security forces into Brazilian neighborhoods to contain gang violence—and the evictions implemented in connection with the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic games.

This research will continue upon her return to Ann Arbor with funding from the Tinker Foundation and U-M’s Brazil Initiative, supported by the university’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the International Institute.

From Brazil, Bundy left for the Middle East and an internship at Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center. Arriving in Tel Aviv the day before the start of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, she found her host nation once again in the global spotlight.

But rather than the headlines, it was the work at Shurat HaDin, a nonprofit law firm that focuses its litigation efforts on U.S.-designated terrorist organizations and those that materially support them, that captivated Bundy during her time in Israel.

“The opportunity to work closely with the attorneys who litigated these cases in the U.S. federal courts and subsequently obtained judgments on behalf of terror victims proved to be particularly rewarding,” Bundy said. Also rewarding was the internship program’s organized visit to the northern border with Lebanon and Syria and tours of the Knesset (Israel’s national legislature) and Supreme Court in Jerusalem.

Of course, Bundy’s 23,000-mile journey was not without excursions outside the realm of law. From hiking trips to Rio’s famed Christ the Redeemer statue to a weekend trip to the Nabataean ruins of Petra, Jordan, the personal and professional impact of the summer is not one Bundy will soon forget.

“Overall, this summer has truly been a stimulating and enriching experience that I will continue to look back upon as a pivotal point in my law school career,” she said. “I am very grateful to the university for not only the invaluable exposure I have gained to the international issues I studied, but also for the ability to engage with these organizations and contribute towards their efforts in a meaningful way.”

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