Sawadee ka! My name is Anna, and I am originally from Nashville, TN. I graduated from Belmont University in August 2021 with a major in Sociology and minor in Asian Studies. Following my graduation, I began working as a Legal Assistant at the Volunteer Lawyers Program at Legal Aid Society of Middle Aid and the Cumberlands. Then, I decided to make the move to the Big Apple to gain additional experience at another law firm. I was originally set to depart for my travels early 2022, however it got pushed back due to COVID-19. I am so excited that the time has come to begin my journey serving as a Volunteer Legal Advocate with Asylum Access Thailand (AAT)!
While in Bangkok, I will be working with the legal team at AAT to help provide legal services to refugees, ensuring that they have the necessary support during the refugee status determination process and information on long-term solutions. In my role specifically, I will be largely responsible for my own casework and will gain experience in legal representation, client interaction, legal research, and legal drafting. I will also represent AAT clients at UNHCR Thailand, through the mentorship of AAT staff. I am so grateful to the AAT staff and Lumos committee for giving me the incredible opportunity to pursue this work abroad.
I have always felt a strong pull toward social justice, particularly immigration and refugee issues. This was further reinforced through my Sociology studies and independent research at Belmont. Following my Lumos experience in Thailand, I will join the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law, where I have deferred enrollment to fall 2024. Here, I plan on studying immigration and refugee law, which I hope to practice at an NGO or non-profit.
I am currently taking Thai lessons in preparation for my move to Thailand and can’t wait to put them to use. If you are interested in watching my project unfold, please follow along with my blog posts here. Thank you again to the many people who inspired me and encouraged me to do this project. I am eager to share my stories and experiences with you from my time in Bangkok. Talk to you soon!