Friday, June 15, 2012

IPMax Law Firm

One week into my new life here, I am settled in and already falling madly in love with this crazy city. I know the maze of alleyways leading to my house like the back of my hand, I've made friends with the young boy at the cafĂ© on my way to work (who loves to laugh at my horrible Vietnamese skills), and I'm slowly tasting every steaming bowl of Pho in my neighbourhood!

I started work on Monday at my internship placement: IPMax, a small boutique law firm specializing in intellectual property law. My coworkers - Son, Thanh, Ninh and Thao - are all so happy to have me here and really make me feel like my work here is deeply appreciated, even though I sometimes feel useless. My job pretty much consists of reviewing English emails and documents that the lawyers prepare for their clients, researching the vietnamese IP laws, and preparing a presentation comparing and contrasting the canadian and vietnamese legal systems, with a special focus on the national IP laws of both countries (which will be presented to Vietnamese lawyers and law students at the end of my one month internship!)

The highlights of my job though are the daily english "classes" that I lead. Not so much classes as conversations. Every day, I go for coffee with one of my coworkers and just talk to them to help them improve their conversational English skills. They talk to me about everything and anything - their family, their lives here in Vietnam, and they teach me about their religion (Buddhism). I have already learnt so much from them in such a short amount of time. If I could, I would talk to them all day, learning about a way of life and a culture so drastically different than my own - unfortunately, we can only take an hour off from work! 

In front of IPMax Law Firm, Hanoi
My IPMax family - Ninh, Thanh, Thao and Son (left to right) at Highway4
Cha Ca La Vong is one of Hanoi's most iconic dishes and one that every foodie must try when in the capital city
Ninh, Thanh and Thao teaching me how to prepare the dish which comes to the table on a stove for you to cook yourself
The family

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