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International, U.S. Students Interact Infrequently in Law School, Study Says

Students coming to the U.S. to study law may have to make more of an effort to forge relationships.

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"I think it all depends on how an international student approaches the law school, and how much of an effort he or she makes to integrate," he says.  

Initiating conversation helped Njeri Thuku, a magistrate from Kenya who's pursuing an LL.M. at the Golden Gate University School of Law. "I've found once I get through the barrier of, 'I'm a stranger in your land,' most students are willing to talk and ask questions," she says. 

It's also important not to judge American students, she notes, who may be shy themselves. 

"There's a lot of preconceived notions that we come to the U.S. with: that [Americans] are unfriendly, or that they don't have time," she says. "If you just say, 'Hi, can we have coffee?' most people will say, 'Sure!'"

Oregon’s Kakuru acknowledges that she could have pushed herself to further assimilate into the law school community, but largely gave up after disappointing tries in the beginning of the semester. Still, coming to the United States for a graduate law degree is something she would advise to other international lawyers.

"Really, what kept me going is knowing why I came—I came to get my degree and get out," Kakuru says. "At the end of the day, the education is very good—way better than Uganda's standards—and you get exposed to so much." 

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