Thursday, September 10, 2015

Part of our series of profiles of some of the newest law students. Read more here.

By Suzanne Bowness

Justin Khorana-Medeiros

Justin Khorana-Medeiros brings international experience and a passion for politics to his new adventure as a law student. With an undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree specializing in European politics from U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs, he’s also just completed the Ontario Legislature Internship Program.

It’s no surprise then that Khorana-Medeiros says he is most interested in constitutional law –“I'm a huge politics nerd”— and that the Faculty of Law's high profile graduates, from constitutional scholars to provincial premiers, caught his attention.

His recent internship, which sees students work for MPPs, gave him a taste of political life, and kept him busy: “Writing speeches, drafting legislation, attending meetings, doing communications work. Pretty much anything you could think a political staffer would do.”

Already 27-year-old Khorana-Medeiros had gained an international perspective during his master’s degree, when he pursued a four-month term at the Sciences Po research institute in Paris, took a course at the Central European University in Budapest, and spent a month in Grenoble improving his French language skills. Prior to his master’s, he taught English in South Korea.

These experiences gave him a sense of what it would be like to be an immigrant, which was new to him even though his parents came from India and Portugal.

“I think it gives a person empathy, which is particularly important to have in a country like Canada. There's a great line from the novelist Gregory David Roberts I always loved, something like ‘You never appreciate your own language so much as when you are forced to stumble in somebody else's’. It's a great exercise to submerge yourself in another, ideally very different, cultural context. One in which you are the one who sticks out and struggles a bit to get along.”

He hopes to pursue a career in political office, or perhaps in government or as a crown prosecutor. The options are open, the future is bright.