Written by Samarth Chaddha
Two weeks ago, the LLM Class of 2017 set sail on the Spirit of New York for a formal cruise. Hundreds of students from dozens of countries boarded to dance, drink, and talk the afternoon away in one of the highlights of the LLM program so far. The Office of Graduate Affairs is to be thanked for organizing this.
The cruise left from Chelsea Piers with a spectacular view of Manhattan, and was a great opportunity for LLMs to connect with each other. Many of us spoke about our reasons for joining the program and whether we intended to take the bar exam and work in the United States after graduation. In August, we had gotten a primer on American law through Introduction to US Law lectures. The three sections of that course rarely had a chance to mingle, but we all came together here.
We went so close to the Statue of Liberty, it felt like we could shake hands with her! At first, the ship swayed noticeably along with the waves, and the passengers rocked from side to side with the music in order to keep their balance. The chicken entrees came dangerously close to sliding off the plate, and the crockery clinked together. But soon enough, everyone began to get their sea legs.
This boat was a far cry from the Staten Island ferry; it had a dance floor and two bars as well as the standard seating areas. The look and feel of the ship more than compensated the initial “bumps.” The weather generally cooperated, though it warmed throughout the day and some regretted wearing suits in the early September heat. Wearing one was optional, though many LLMs opted for a simple tee or a polo!
The LLM class came from dozens of different countries, but we quickly bonded over selfies and social media. People connected on Facebook and Instagram, forming bonds that would carry us through the hectic first few weeks of the semester. Plenty of selfies and group snapshots were taken amidst discussions of classes, professors, and future travel plans to cities within the US. Students enthusiastically recommended New York’s tourist hotspots to each other. Some people chatted at the bar, while others stood on deck admiring the Manhattan skyline. The LLMs even shot their first group boomerang, and many were seen competing to click pictures with a placard provided by the cruise company. Clearly, the LLMs are not just a photogenic bunch, but take their pictures seriously.
The afternoon ended with all of us disembarking at Chelsea Market. A brave few walked back to campus, while others took their new friends’ recommendations and explored the neighborhood shops. This was just one of many group bonding events for the LLM class; right now, we’re looking forward to the SALSA ball and continuing to explore New York.