Internships and exchange programs

ICAL Alumni Nadia Smahi
ICAL Alumni Nadia Smahi

Upon meeting Nadia, you quickly realize that she is someone who is very driven, yet also curious, open and eager to learn. Instead of barreling through her law studies in Geneva, Nadia jumped at opportunities when she saw them. She got several prestigious internships, including one at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris. During her studies she participated in two study abroad programs in the USA, first at Columbia University and then at Boston University. The combination of work, internship and study has also given her a good foundation for her future. “For me it was a way to get work experience during my studies.”

Strength in diversity 

In 2012 she came to Stockholm University to study in the International Commercial Arbitration Law (ICAL) LL.M. programme. “Studying (at Stockholm University) among so many international students opens up a lot of perspectives. People are from everywhere, from all ages, from all backgrounds and everyone just participates and tries to really think about arbitration and work on it. And everyone brings something from home to the program.”

The international composition of her class added to the richness of the experience during her studies. Despite students being from vastly different parts of the world and there being a great range of difference in age and experience, the class became incredibly close. Thanks to her studies she has today a large global network of friends and colleagues. “It was a pretty broad range of ages and experiences. That was really the strength of it, that it was so diverse. And then afterward, when you start working as a lawyer, you have friends everywhere that you can reach out to all over the world.”

Homeward bound after graduation

Nadia considered staying and working in Stockholm for a while, but she soon realized that this was not necessarily an option for international students. “I think most people go back to their countries or move around after the program. It is rather difficult for people to stay and find jobs here as lawyers, mostly because of the language and then because every country has a very specific legal system, so we are all qualified in our own jurisdiction, in our own country.”

Staying Involved

Nadia does come back to Stockholm quite regularly however as she is a very active alumna of the ICAL program. “I am still very involved in the alumni community and I have met students from the years before and after me, who are now great friends of mine. Year after year we still all get along and meet and it is always a pleasure to meet all of them.”

Nadia is now a Swiss qualified Attorney at Law and she currently works in Zurich as an international arbitration and intellectual property associate for one of Switzerland’s largest law firms.


Student recruitment activities in China

ICAL Alumni Yuning Chen
ICAL Alumni Yuning Chen

Yuning Chen met Professor Patricia Shaughnessy at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing in 2012 where she was promoting Stockholm University Master’s Programme International Commercial Arbitration Law (ICAL). He was in his third year of law studies and decided to come to Stockholm University to pursue the ICAL programme in 2013 instead of going straight into the working world.

Made the right choice

When Yuning tells you about his studies at the ICAL programme, it is very clear that this was an important year in his life: the warmth and positivity is palpable. “After this one year of study I think my decision to apply was extremely correct. Stockholm is a hub for arbitration and there were many intelligent practitioners invited by Patricia to come to our class to give lectures. That really strengthened my knowledge.”

The world in one classroom

Whereas he in China was only studying with other Chinese students his studies at Stockholm University brought him into contact with people from all over the world, a great many of whom have become friends for life. “The ICAL programme is like a big family. It’s really tight, especially among the students that are in the same year Patricia always organized activities and mingles for us students so we had more opportunities to interact with each other. There were students from over 20 countries in my class. I got a new view of the world because I had so many interactions from all over the world. I think it helped me improve my interpersonal skills and communication skills.”

Aside from getting a strong global network of friends, during his time in Sweden he also realized his love of nature. “I fell in love with nature. I didn’t realize that I love nature so much before I came to Sweden. The forest, the sea, the lakes. I am from Beijing. In Beijing the nature is very far away from the city.” 

Giving back

As an ICAL alumnus Yuning actively participates in student recruitment activities in China. “I like to promote this program, I like to share my experience with future students and I hope there will be many applicants to the program.” Click here to see Yuning (and many other international alumni) featured in Stockholm University’s Master's Brochure 2018-19.