The Columbus International Program's newest International Professional in Residence (IPR), Vivi Sdrenia arrived in the United States on May 4th, to begin training at the Ohio State Bar Association. We caught up with her this week to see how her experience in Columbus has been over the past few weeks.
In regards to her training site, Vivi has been busy from the start. She has spent two full weeks with OSBA. Initially, she spent a lot of time shadowing various positions around the office, in order to meet everyone and understand the role they play in the organization. “There are so many people, they gave me a book with everyone in it to remember,” Vivi recounted, thankful for the efforts her training site has made in order to acclimate her to their staff and system.
We discussed projects she has been working on at her training sight and she explained that she has been involved in two different initiatives so far. The first has to do with experiential learning opportunities for law students at universities around Columbus. “I have been researching what these programs have to offer for students already, so that I can help the OSBA develop programs to offer more experiential learning to students in Columbus,” Vivi explained. We discussed at length the differences between the Greek and American systems and how students choose their career paths. Vivi detailed how, in her home country, students graduate high school and then immediately enter their chosen field of study. As a lawyer, Vivi graduated high school and immediately entered a law program. This is the same for every occupation in Greece, with typical school lasting four years, with six year programs for some careers, like medicine. Vivi expressed her appreciation for the American system and the extended period of time students get to make career decisions, stating that these decisions are made too early in life in Greece. She is excited about working on programs that help students make these decisions in the United States. Additionally, Vivi is working on a project involving the OSBA retirement plan and making it more clear for employees.
When asked what her professional development goals were for this program, Vivi responded, “I would like to improve on legal terminology in English. I want to improve and acquire more knowledge about the US legal system in comparison to the European systems I know already.” She is confident that she will be able to achieve these goals during her time with the OSBA through the projects she works on, as well as by participating in workshops offered to her through the OSBA itself. She is able to partake in seminars with a purpose of furthering legal education, and she has also recently joined a committee for professional women, through which she attended a lecture on branding yourself and selling your skills in the work force.
Though she has been quite busy at her training site, Vivi has also had plenty of opportunity to explore Columbus and other parts of the United States. In regards to Columbus, she stated, “It is a vibrant city. I like the way people express themselves here. They are helpful and willing to speak always, everyone says ‘Hi, how are you doing?’” Vivi says her main bucket list item while in the US is traveling as much as she can. She has already visited Chicago and recently went to Cincinnati for the Taste of Cincinnati festival. She would like to make it to New York City and Washington DC as well, and mentioned that she had the opportunity to learn a lot about American history over Memorial Day weekend, which she very much enjoyed.
In Columbus itself, Vivi enjoys the Short North and Ohio State’s campus. She commented on how each area in Columbus has its own style. She said she is amazed at how many festivals there always are, and attended the Asian Festival last weekend. Not usually a sports fan, Vivi mentioned that sports in Columbus are one of her favorite pastimes. She has loved learning about hockey, football and baseball, and chose to spend her recent birthday at a baseball game.
To close our conversation, we discussed how CIP could help make her time here as great as can be. Her response was that she would love to be informed of more events like the Asian Festival where she can meet people and learn about other cultures. “In school we learn about how through globalization cultures are mixing together, but there are still a lot of differences.” Look for opportunities to meet Vivi in the coming months!
This content is courtesy of the Columbus International Program.