The opportunity to do a placement in Malaysia was one of the reasons I chose to do my human rights law degree in York. Nowadays concrete work experience is essential, but gaining experience in the field of human rights is not always be easy; the field is competitive and often quite specialist.
The placement options the university offers cater to different specialisms and general interests within human rights which I found absolutely fantastic. There is a good chance that you will get to work on a topic that is close to your heart and matches your career aspirations. Kuala Lumpur is a brilliant destination for a human rights placement as the human rights scene is vibrant and active with high levels of professionalism and passion. It gives you a chance to explore Malaysia not just as a tourist but as someone concretely involved in the society.
Making a difference
I chose the Women’s Aid Organisation as my project partner and, together with my team, have been working on creating a policy document on how to improve women’s shelters in Malaysia. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in domestic violence, a field which tends to require existing work experience. My placement has been very rewarding; I have the intellectual satisfaction of planning a well-researched policy document on a topic I am passionate about with the added satisfaction of knowing that the policy brief could potentially help Malaysian women. Interviewing and meeting shelter workers and a member of the government was perhaps my favourite part of the project. It was a great chance to interact with individuals that speak from experience and know the struggles, difficulties and needs of the women on a very intimate level.
I would strongly recommend this programme to anyone with a passion for both understanding human rights from an academic point of view and working in the field. Before the field trip there are lectures and seminars dealing with topics such as ethics, research and team work. These are topics that are crucial to master in the human rights field but may in many cases not be taught outside of the classroom. On this course you can concretely apply all these topics in practice which is not only unique but extremely useful and rewarding. This is a perfect opportunity for LLM students not pursuing a legal career to see how their knowledge of international human rights law could be used in a number of settings, work environments and projects.