“The vibe at Murdoch is so nice, friendly and open. It was such a different experience going to the orientation at Murdoch than at my previous university. They were worlds apart.”
My name: Alice Barber
My age: 24
My course: Bachelor of Law/Arts (International Relations)
A little bit about me
I’m a final year law and arts student with a keen passion for human rights law, particularly concerning refugees. In my studies, I have undertaken an international human rights program in Geneva, and a year of study and internship in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as part of the New Colombo Plan scholarship.
In my spare time, I’m admittedly a bit of a nerd. I love playing PS4, playing board games like Risk and Settlers of Catan and watching Game of Thrones.
How I would describe my way of thinking
Analytical and a little obsessive. I read things several times over to ensure I fully comprehend what is before me. I often deliberate over how I answer assessment questions, and read over my work many times looking for mistakes. I guess you could say I’m a little bit of a perfectionist!
I think I have a really open world view, and I like connecting with people. I’m hoping that will be an asset when it comes to connecting with my future clients.
Curious about Alice’s way of thinking? Check out her Spotify playlist below:
How I knew I wanted to study law and international relations
Growing up, my mum was an English teacher at TAFE and my dad was a lawyer. I was always in awe of my dad’s hard work ethic, however, it was my mum who inspired me to choose law.
My mum teaches English to migrants and refugees, and through her I had a lot of opportunities to volunteer in her classroom and help out one-on-one with the students. Having had such a positive experience with refugees, at a time where refugee rights were being increasingly weakened across the globe, made me want to study law and international relations. I thought it would give me an avenue to change some of these laws, which I don’t think benefit society.
Why I chose Murdoch
I initially started studying at another university in Perth, but I felt like wasn’t achieving my purpose there.
I chose to transfer to Murdoch because I knew there were many practical opportunities to study law including the International Human Rights Program, internship placements and study abroad opportunities.
I had also been to the campus and found the vibe at Murdoch was so nice, friendly and open. It was such a different experience going to the orientation at Murdoch than at my previous university. They were worlds apart.
In fact, I met some of my best friends on O-Day and these friendships have continued to this day!
Why I love Murdoch
I’ve had fantastic teachers for both law and international relations, which has been a highlight of my studies. I also still really like the vibe at Murdoch. The students are very friendly and there’s a lot of comradery. Even strangers will offer to share their notes with you!
I love the Murdoch campus, how it’s surrounded by nature. You’ll often find me lounging on a beanbag on Bush Court during lunch on the days I’m at uni.
My most memorable experience
My most memorable experience was living in Korea for a year of my studies. It was a phenomenal experience to be able to stay in a country for an extended period of time, and I had the experience to make some really lovely local friends which I treasured.
I chose Korea because I hadn’t really heard much about what Korea was like from other uni students. I was interested in Korean culture and Korean food is amazing, so I was curious to know more. I thought it would be even better if I could bring a bit of attention to Korea to other students through my own experience.
My proudest achievement
Being awarded a New Colombo Plan scholarship was the experience of a lifetime and by far my proudest achievement in my studies at Murdoch. It’s considered quite a prestigious scholarship, and the application process was quite intense. It started with applying through the website, then I had an in-person interview in Canberra, so they flew me out to interview with five people there.
Every person who is awarded the scholarship has to undertake study in their chosen country, and I also chose to undertake a language component and an internship component. The internship I did was with an environmental sustainable development organisation, which was really fascinating.
My plans for after graduation
I am interested in pursuing a career in human rights but understand there are some limitations in this for a graduate (not a lot of paid work for graduate humanitarian lawyers!). Working with the government, through DFAT or other departments (e.g. Department of Finance), is interesting to me, as well as pursuing work in corporate law.
I’m also open to potentially working in politics, as it seems like a good way to influence change in human rights.
I’ve got my sights set on human rights, but I’m open to how I get there. I don’t think there’s any clear-cut path for becoming a human rights lawyer, but I’m prepared to forge my own.