Evelin Torres interned at the Department of Justice of Catalonia on exchange. The internship cemented her interests and gave her valuable work experience. Read about it in her own words below.
My Incredible journey at the Department of Justice of the Government of Catalonia
by Evelin Avila Torres
When my younger brother was thirteen years old he was imprisoned and was facing a possible conviction for attempted murder. After years of talking to attorneys, waiting for the weekly call from him, long letters and sleepless nights, I was left with a mark that I will forever carry. I decided that my heart was with working with troubled youth who are at risk of committing crimes that could cost them their liberty. However, I was aware that in order to be an agent of change and be to able to help those troubled minors, I had a lot to learn and experience to acquire. I decided to become a Legal studies major as well as volunteer and obtain internships that involved working with troubled youth. Before arriving to Barcelona I envisioned an internship in the legal field in order to get a better understanding of the types of criminal systems that exist outside the United States.
At my arrival in Barcelona I began talking to my counselors here about the possible opportunities of obtaining a law related internship. Before I knew it I was interning at the Department of Justice of the government of Catalonia. I observed and worked with certain area of the department of justice that is known as the service of mediation and technical support. The people that I worked with are either psychologists or social workers who all have some type of work in relation to accused minors who are either facing trial or have been accused of committing a crime. Their duties include investigating and trying to figure out the social, psychological, and educational circumstances that the minor is currently living in.
I was present in interviews with minors as well as at their courts. It was alongside with many of these minors in some of the hardest moments in their life. Experiencing many hard situations with the minors has given me a better understanding of the criminal justice system outside of the United States. These experiences were hard but they were necessary for me to truly understand the way that these systems work. Another challenge I faced as an intern in a new country was adapting to a new language.
Not only was Spanish the official language but the terminology that is utilized in the city of justice is a terminology that I had never been exposed to at the level that I was here. Although as a legal studies major I am exposed to the complicated language and terminology utilized in the legal field, never before had I been forced to utilize this terminology like I was here. At the beginning it was complicated remembering certain terms and laws but with time I was able to start picking up the terminology in Spanish a lot faster. My usage of academic terms has improved significantly.
Not only has my Spanish improved significantly but with the experience that I acquired as an intern I now have a better understanding about the way the criminal justice system in other countries work. My ultimate goal at this internship was to gain more knowledge that could help me understand the way that criminal justice systems around the world either help or harm people. Now I know that I can apply this knowledge in my future investigations in my area of interest, criminal justice systems. After this experience I am now even more motivated and interested on working in my city and myself in order to be the best mentor and future lawyer that I want to be.