In His Own Words: Ahren Kerwood's Japanese Internship

April 13, 2015 | By Ahrens Kerwood, 2L

As a second year law student, I have been given the opportunity to work in Sapporo, Japan this summer.

I will be interning at the Hokkaido University Center for Ainu and Indigenous working with Dr. Teruki Tsunemoto and his colleague, Prof. Ken-ichi Ochiai.  As part of the internship, I will be doing translation, basic research and promotion of Ainu heritage and culture.  I also am currently writing an article on progressing Ainu rights within international human rights law, and I hope to have that piece published in a law review at a later date.  

 I look forward to seeing what I have read in books and journals with my own eyes.  I want to experience the Ainu culture and learn firsthand about it.  Being a member of the Chickasaw Nation, I understand the importance of one’s own culture.  Therefore, I wish to help Americans understand the Ainu’s history and culture as well. 

 Dr. Lindsay Robertson was instrumental in securing this opportunity for me.  I cannot thank him enough for the guidance and help he has given me to embark on this journey.  After asking him my 1L year about international law opportunities OU Law has to offer, he personally contacted his friend, Dr. Tsunemoto, and asked if he was looking for an intern.  It can be hard to find opportunities to apply Japanese language skills if you are not on the west coast or abroad, so being able to return to Japan only three years after my undergraduate year-long study abroad is a dream come true.

 The amazing thing about traveling abroad is not only do you learn so much about other cultures and people, but you learn maybe more about yourself.  It makes you question how and why you do certain things, think certain ways, and how you respond to difficult or unknown situations.  You gain a valuable perspective that can be used towards any career.  If I can come back to the U.S. a better person through these experiences and appreciate the blessings I have been given as a sooner, an American, and a human, I would be satisfied.

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