Carolyn Wong’s learning style is multi-faceted: although what attracted her to study law at the University of Saskatchewan was the order and logic of the subject, she still expresses her free spirit as she travels around the world to gain new educational experiences many could only dream of.
The graduate has just finished her third and final year of studies to be a lawyer, at the University of Oxford in England, as part of the U of S study abroad program. She says she wouldn’t have been able to benefit from an international education without the support of U of S donors.
As the recipient of a generous $10,000 scholarship, funded by donors to the Annual Campaign for Students, Carolyn received the assistance she needed to attend the prestigious university in her final year of her law degree. She explained, “Oxford is one of the oldest and one of the best law schools in the world. It has such a rich legal heritage. I wouldn’t have been able to receive this opportunity without this support.”
The travel bug bit her after she completed her first degree at Western University. The Markham, Ontario native studied biology, and then took an extended working holiday after graduation. She moved to London to work at an online media company, and used her holidays every few months to discover Europe—skipping from country to country she travelled through Italy, France and Portugal. As a result, Carolyn says she’s now more open to follow career opportunities world-wide, and aims to work in a large international city like London or New York.
When she initially chose to pursue her law degree, she selected the University of Saskatchewan, even though it was far away from her family in Ontario. She has been very happy with her decision to pursue a smaller program. She said, “You really get to know people well. The faculty are very approachable, and have been so helpful—even providing me with reference letters or teaching me new subjects I’m interested in, like the use of DNA in evidence law.”
Carolyn’s international education was given a boost in her second year of studies at the U of S, when she was one of the lucky few to be accepted to intern with United Nations (UN) in the summer of 2014. The opportunity came about as a result of a partnership between the United Nations Development Program and Universities of Canada that began in 2012, and her travels were supported with a $5000 bursary funded by U of S donors.
Carolyn’s UN assignment was to travel to Dhaka, Bangladesh to assist international lawyers with development work. Working in the government sector, she worked on a project that provided legal aid for garment workers.
The experience left a lasting impression on her. She said, “There are so many experiences I wouldn’t have had without donors! I wouldn’t have gone to Bangladesh as the UN internship was unpaid. Instead I’ve had the opportunity to explore becoming an international lawyer.”
Now that’s she’s graduated she moving back to Canada for a clerkship at the Federal Court of Canada in Ottawa, where she will assist a judge with research and writing. “It will give me a behind the scenes look at how judges make decisions,” she explained. After that, she’s hoping to work for a full-service law firm to explore administrative law, immigration, and Aboriginal law.
She’s also planning to give back to support students once her career is off the ground. She said, “The support has benefitted me so much, and helped me get to the position I am in. I hope I can recreate this experience for another student one day. I’d like to pay it forward!”
Over $848,000 has been raised through the Annual Campaign for Students to support student scholarships, bursaries, and awards. Read more about how the campaign made a major difference for students this past year in the Expanding Our Horizons series:
Written by Jessica Elfar, Development Communications Specialist