Virtual Internships Abroad Final Connections

September 20, 2021
By Vanessa Dib, CAS '22

Libryo - UK

A few weeks ago, during a meeting with my manager, she gave me some insight into how the company was preparing to pitch to some investors to expand its network and services to more clients. Specifically, she talked about how they will be pitching to investors on the importance of businesses and corporations complying with international laws in the realm of the environment, labour, human rights, and occupational health, in addition to legal compliance with domestic or jurisdiction related laws. Hearing this component of their pitch, I shared my perspective on compliance with international treaties, drawing upon my coursework, my own research project, and the work that I was conducting during the internship. I elaborated on how, particularly in the United States, corporations will introduce their own environmental and social-related regulations in correspondence to international treaties or laws, even when the U.S. government has not signed and/or ratified such legal documents. Furthermore, I talked about how lobby groups in the U.S. drive a lot of changes to social and environmental policies and behaviours, and how this has caused certain companies to actually incorporate certain standards into their corporate policies.

After hearing my perspective, my manager set up a meeting with the executives so that I can share my insights on the issue of market-driven reasons which drive companies to adopt environmental and social policies and practices. In preparation for the meeting, I went through my notes on private authority, examples of corporations introducing their own regulations that exceed domestic environmental and social policies, and examples of lobby groups driving changes to corporate policies. At the meeting, I was given the ability to spearhead it, and it was an extremely interesting experience to apply my knowledge from my coursework and research into my internship. The meeting was also an opportunity to practice and utilize my presentation skills, and even though it was intimidating to be presenting my perspectives to the executives, it was extremely rewarding to see the fruits of my hard work and knowledge learnt from my courses and research.

Overall, as my internship is coming to an end, my experience has further solidified my academic and career-related goals of pursuing work in the field of international law. The work that I conducted and performed during my internship has shown me how complicated and complex the field of international law is. As well, it has shown me how there is so much more work that exists to be done in the field of international law and in its streamline into domestic law, especially in the environmental, social, and human rights areas.

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The Virtual Internships Abroad (VIA) program provides self-directed and motivated Penn undergraduate students the opportunity to gain a fully funded professional work experience over the summer with a global employer, with the added convenience of working remotely.