Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Student internship with the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre in Budapest

12 November 2015 |

Jennifer Fish, LLB Law student was awarded a scholarship earlier this year to undertake a work placement with the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC) in Budapest. The scholarship was made possible by the generosity of Marcus Killick, OBE and alumnus of the School of Law, University of Leeds.

Here is what Jennifer told us about her experience...

"I am interested in the area of Human Rights law because helping vulnerable groups of people is one of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in law. It was during my International Human Rights Law module during my second year that I became particularly interested in disability rights.

I applied for the internship with the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC) because I believe that volunteering for a good cause is an exceptional way to spend your time, especially when it is for an organisation that strives to improve the lives of people who are segregated from society. Throughout my time in Budapest I carried out work experience in various areas and the placement I carried out in a local solicitor’s office was the experience I enjoyed the most, I found it suited my skills more directly. The chance to improve my existing skills as well as develop new ones was one of the reasons I applied for the internship. The internship with MDAC gave me the opportunity to learn through the practical application of knowledge alongside gaining new and interesting experiences.

During my internship I carried out various tasks which aided MDAC in their work. The variation of the tasks I undertook helped me develop academic skills in a wide range of areas. I was asked to carry out research in many different areas of disability and in different jurisdictions. Some of the areas were; EU law infringement procedures; inclusive education; forced sterilisation; legal capacity; and supported decision making. Through this research I developed skills that will help me when I come to carry out research for my dissertation as it taught me how to narrow down my searches in order to gather the best and most suitable research materials. Carrying out the research tasks and presentations has also allowed me to develop more improved and eloquent ways of expressing my ideas coherently.

The experience also impacted my personal development, as carrying out presentations boosted my confidence in public speaking and publically discussing my ideas. It has also boosted my confidence in meeting new people and working in new environments. I am now more confident in myself and my ability to manage on my own in different environments.

My time in Budapest with MDAC has opened the door to many different opportunities regarding my future. It has highlighted my interest in the human rights of minority groups marginalised by society. It has helped me in my ideas for my dissertation and module choices for my upcoming year. I am also now considering further study abroad in the area of Human Rights as well as working for a non-governmental organisation such as MDAC who work hard to achieve developments in this field.

I would like to say thank you to the University of Leeds and to MDAC for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I would also like to extend my thanks to my donor, Marcus Killick for his kindness and generosity, as it has allowed me to take part in this opportunity and experience things that I would never have been able to, as well as a chance to better myself. For this I am very grateful."

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