Friendships in The Hague (Guest Bloggers Series)

Audrey Feldman is an intern at the Hague Conference on Private International Law. She is a rising 2L at NYU, where she is President of the International Arbitration Association and a Staff Editor of the Law Review. A native Californian, Audrey moved to New York for college and never looked back—though she has spent stints in Nicaragua, Buenos Aires, and, currently, The Hague. She likes reading, running, ice hockey, and pestering Kristina Duffy about Roberto Bolaño, among other things.

| Audrey Feldman | 13 July 2012 | The Hague, Netherlands |

When I was making arrangements to live in The Hague this Summer, I imagined myself living a sort of hermetic lifestyle. After living in New York for five years, it seemed somehow improbable to me that I would be able to forge meaningful friendships over the course of ten weeks.

I was wrong. Because The Hague is one of the global capitals of international law, there is no shortage of young law students looking to socialize. And we come from all over. When I moved in to my boarding house, I was excited to learn that my roommates all came from different countries: Vietnam, Canada, Ireland, and Nigeria. I became close with them very quickly, and even the most casual conversations in the kitchen can morph into relatively hardcore discussions about international and comparative legal cultures (Fact: they still make Nigerian barristers wear powdered wigs. I’ve seen pictures and everything.)

There’s a certain type of person that’s drawn to international law, I think, and that person likes thinking about big issues. For example, I’ve been participating in a weekly discussion-group-cum-literary-salon (otherwise known as “Culture, Bath & Beyond”), in which we read a few articles and then attempt to tackle such lighthearted issues as free will, identity, and the nature of success and failure. David Foster Wallace tends to come up on an hourly basis, maybe more. Pretentious? Entirely. But I’ve begun to think about these things in a more introspective, less cynical way. Also, we drink a lot of wine.

And of course, I have worked with an incredible team of international lawyers at the Hague Conference, who come from Spain, Canada, France, and Australia, among other places. It’s been a good place for me to practice my foreign language skills: my Spanish boss e-mails me in her native language, and a Mexican coworker lent me a copy of Vargas Llosa’s La ciduad y los perros, which I am [slowly] making my way through.

I could not be more grateful to have met the people I have here. In addition to all of my foreign colleagues and friends, I will treasure the friendships I’ve built with the other New Yorkers I’ve met here, including Kristina and Josh. I’ll end with a piece of advice: if you’re worried about being lonely abroad, don’t be. Seize the opportunity—I guarantee that you will meet some truly friendly, ambitious, and generally awesome people.

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2 responses to “Friendships in The Hague (Guest Bloggers Series)

  1. I’m actually reading Broom of the System right now, and DFW’s Infinite Jest is my favorite novel. I want in on these book and wine sessions. Andrew should come too.

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