The Himalayan Field School

23 April 2012

Professor Ben Saul discusses Sydney Law School's unique offshore program in Nepal, ideal for law students wanting careers in human rights and development.

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, says the Himalayan Field School allows students to observe challenges of development and human rights firsthand.

"Development is an increasing area of practice for lawyers, with NGOs [nongovernmental organisations] ,the UN, or bodies like the World Bank," Professor

"But when it's taught in Australia, it's usually done in an abstract and theoretical way."

The Himalayan Field School consists of two-and-half weeks of study in Nepal, and Professor Saul says the initiative involves Australian and Nepalese law students working together, and the hope is that this will have a long-term benefit of strengthening legal education at the Kathmandu School of Law.

"It's a new model, where we combine traditional learning, through reading and lectures, with exposure to how the law actually plays out," he says.

The scheme is open to law students studying at any Australian University and the article also interviewed Alison Ewart a master's degree in international law at the University of NSW, who completed the course last year.

"One of the highlights was a visit to Melamchi, a rural village three hours outside of Katmandu," she says.
"With the help of our counterpart Nepalese students, we were able to engage with the locals in candid discussions about the challenges of making a living in the
context of a developing country."

According to the article, course evaluation responses reveal almost all students who attended in its first two years are interested in pursuing a career in development or human rights.
"It can be a fairly confronting experience [for the students]," Professor Saul says.
"But it opens up whole new horizons for them, both professional and personally.
"It's unique and worldwide, as far as we can tell. We've taken the 'foreign immersion' experience a step further."

For further information on the Himalayan Field School, visit theSydney Centre for International Law (SCIL).

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 01260b2a4a0b5d1f210f2c1007213d755c3817573235015d2019620320