Iowa Law is honored to welcome 22 international students this semester, several of which are attending their courses entirely online from their home country. They make up one of the most diverse classes the College of Law has ever welcomed, and despite the ever changing climate and challenges presented by COVID-19, these students have remained resilient and dedicated to furthering their legal education abroad.
"Beginning law school in COVID times makes the initial process harder but its a great opportunity to rise up and grow" Mike Elys says. Elys (an Advanced Standing JD candidate) has been attending his courses in-person at the Boyd Law Building. The blended approach to instruction this Fall has also included virtual classes and office hours. According to Elys, "You need to be creative in figuring out new ways to learn, interact, and embrace how technology allows you to be there while not actually being there".
For several of the study abroad students, they have been attending their courses entirely online.
Jing Pang (an Advanced Standing JD candidate), is attending courses from her home country and must stay up late into the evening to account for the difference in times zones. "I am in China now and it is 13 hours ahead of America. For the purpose of attending classes, I have no choice but to stay up late" Pang says. Though she has had a non-traditional start to her study abroad experience, Pang is hopefully to see Boyd Law Building in the Spring. "I have learned a lot from the professors and classmates. Hopefully, I can go to our campus next semester!" she says.
Nayon Oh (a JD candidate) chose to adjust her schedule by waking up late in the morning in South Korea and starting her day closer to Iowa's timezone. "I guess the most challenging part was preparing myself to get adjusted to the law school life in general," Oh says. "Since there is a considerable time difference... getting adjusted to the new schedule while getting adjusted to the law school curriculum was a bit of a challenge." Oh is pursuing a traditional JD that will take three years to complete. She is looking forward to when she can meet her fellow classmates in person and attend her courses on campus.
As for Sulafah Bamuhayr (a SJD candidate), it was not the time zone but the nature of online coursework that has been most challenging. "Sitting in-front of a screen is the hardest thing because all the work that has to be done is in front that screen," Bamuhayr says. She spends several hours a day attending classes and completing assignments, however, Bamuhayr does see the benefit of the virtual classroom. She says that "the fun part is when I see my classmates and share our experience so you don’t feel alone." Like Pang, she hopes to attend in person for the second half of his program in the Spring.
We are grateful for the dedication of our in-person and online students to be active members of our community. They offer vital, worldly perspective and we are hopeful to welcome them all in-person soon.
Molly Hill is a Student Employee for the College of Law in External Relations. She majors in English Literature and writes and edits alumni news content. Molly spent a year abroad studying British Literature at Oxford University and will graduate from the University of Iowa with Honors in December 2020.