A Summer Well Spent: PMHers Take on Lyon, France, and Beyond

By: Stacy Liere

Most 1Ls spend their summers working long hours, either cranking out memos or performing legal research at a clerkship or externship. However, one group of LSU Law students seized the opportunity to travel the world while expanding their legal education.

Each summer, LSU Law offers a study abroad program based in the vibrant city of Lyon, France. Students are afforded the opportunity to take unique legal courses taught by visiting judges and Paul M. Hebert’s own professors while also exploring the country and the surrounding areas. Many describe the experience as the opportunity of a lifetime, and for good reason. Lyon is known for its rich cultural and culinary history. The city boasts the title of “gastronomic capital of the world,” featuring renowned Lyonnaise cuisine served up by 3-star Michelin chefs. Outside of Lyon, students often indulge in new adventures, traveling to many different cities and countries.

Among the students who jumped at the chance to study abroad were Sara Grace Sirera and Joe Cooper. Sara Grace’s journey took her to nine different countries and countless cities, with some of her favorite destinations being Paris, Dublin, and Berlin. She was even able to spend time with her sister in Paris, who also happened to be studying abroad. “Of course, touring the other countries was amazing, but sharing the experience of Paris with my sister was incredible,” she remarked.

In Berlin, she was able to tour the Holocaust Memorial, which was particularly emotional for Sara Grace. “It was so moving because, in all actuality, we’re not that far removed from the events of the Holocaust.”

While Dublin offered the chance to partake in Ireland’s infamous libations, Sara Grace was also treated to a taste of home– BBQ, calling it “one of her favorite meals from the entire trip.”

Joe’s experience abroad was all about taking chances. When asked about his trip, he explained his goal was to take advantage of as many opportunities as he could, even if they were dangerous. He achieved that goal in grand fashion. Joe journeyed to Pamplona for the traditional Running of the Bulls, describing an incident where he found himself “eight feet away from one of the bulls.” One of Joe’s compatriots, a fellow PMH’er, was physically stomped on by one of the stampeding bulls but managed to escape without major injury.

While in Ireland, he visited the Cliffs of Moher, a beautiful but deadly attraction visited by thousands each year. Due to the soft soil atop the cliffs, a person’s next step could easily be their last. Fortunately, Joe escaped Europe unscathed and with plenty of stories to tell.

In between their exciting weekend trips, Sara Grace and Joe were able to squeeze in some schoolwork as well. When asked about their favorite class, both listed Professor Goring’s course, Migration and Refugee Law and Policy. “The class was interesting because it hit so close to what’s going on in the world right now with refugees and the policies Europe has in place to deal with the crisis,” they explained.

Sara Grace and Joe also took Cultural Aspects of Alternative Dispute Resolution, which illustrates helpful ways to avoid the time and expense of going to trial.

The Lyon program provided the Class of 2018 with an array of breathtaking experiences and solidified friendships to last a lifetime. Sara Grace and Joe expressed a longing to embark on new adventures in the future after reaping the benefits of complete immersion in a foreign culture. While European escapades have now been replaced with reading assignments and cold calls, these students will always remember a summer well spent.