I recently moved to Utrecht from Phoenix, Arizona, and have just started the International Human Rights and Criminal Justice Master’s Program. I will be sharing my experiences with you, and will begin by sharing a little about me.
So, who am I and what am I doing here? I was born in The Hague and immigrated to the USA as a child. I grew up in in Los Angeles, California, attended university in Edmond, Oklahoma, and law school in Malibu, California. I then moved to Arizona, where I lived 26 years and worked as a prosecutor, first in Flagstaff and then in Phoenix, for nearly 25 years. I recently retired and have now returned full circle to where I began – in more ways than one! You see, I went to law school in the first place with the vague notion that I might one day practice international law. However, I began what turned into a very fulfilling career as a prosecutor and never looked back. Then one day I read an article about the prosecution of war crimes in The Hague, and learned that the international criminal tribunals employ attorneys from all over the world. Shortly thereafter I attended a local seminar that happened to include a guest speaker from one of the tribunals, who later gave me a tour when I next visited my family in the Netherlands. I began to muse that my life’s work might just bring me right back to my original goal after all!
Why Utrecht University? First, I love Utrecht; it is my favorite city in the Netherlands. Second, I have a Dutch cousin who attended law school at UU and he never fails to remind me of what a fine school it is! Third, I visited UU last fall to enquire about the LLM program and was graciously invited to participate in a writing practicum. Being a guest student in that class was the highlight of my trip! I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of the teachers and the students, as well as the hands-on practical approach to the program, and was delighted to be asked to participate in the evening’s exercises and discussions. I felt that this was where I belonged.
Why Utrecht? Every city has a countenance that one responds to at a visceral level. Utrecht is cheerful and charming, wizened by a rich and storied past yet vibrant with a young and quirky heart. She smiles, and one cannot see the Dom Tower, hear the carillon bells, or walk down the Oudegracht with all its cafes, pubs and shops, without smiling back. Utrecht is confident of her place in the world; she knows who she is, where she came from and where she wants to go next. She winks at those with similar dispositions, and cozily welcomes students of all ages and dispositions!
Stay tuned for the adventures of a student returning both to school and the Netherlands after a very lengthy hiatus!