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Murray Edwards College
University of Cambridge

Mansi Gupta: Independent travel to the Netherlands

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    01 Oct

    One of the most awaited moments of my life finally came to fruition when I visited the Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands, this summer. As a law student, I always had an aspiration to visit the Peace Palace housing three of the International Courts of the world. And for this, I would sincerely thank the Gateway Challenges Funding to help me realise this long-cherished dream!

    Belonging to a non-European country, getting the Schengen area visa to travel was my first step. After a long delay, the visa finally came in and I was able to make all the bookings thereafter. What was exciting about this trip was to visit the highest courts and to make a wish on the wish tree sown right at the entrance of the Palace, imminently before I commence my professional career and legal practice.

    I went on a guided tour inside the Palace. It is a grandeur and splendid building, the architecture of which is in itself a marvel. I was told the history of the Palace as to how it came to be established and also, the contribution of countries in the form of various artefacts placed inside the premises. The great Palace, which symbolises world peace and harmony could be very much felt while moving through the corridors of the Palace. I sat in the Permanent Court of Arbitration for a while and the guide told me about its significance in the world history and related it to the present times. I was also apprised of the recent arbitration cases which took place and how the jurisdiction of the court is dealt with. I was then taken to the International Court of Justice. Witnessing it by myself was a heart-warming experience when earlier I had seen its beauty only through the lens of a camera. I sat there and was made to understand the relevance of the various paintings embedded in the walls of the court-room which were designed after a lot of deliberation. I made my way back to the main hallway before going outside to see the beautiful gardens of the Palace. Overall, the experience was enriching and satisfying. This visit was one of the most invaluable experiences, thereby filling in me a new enthusiasm to pursue my career with utmost sincerity and perseverance. I, then, strolled around the city, including Binnenhof, the Dutch Parliament and various other buildings alongside the water body. Hague was mesmerizing, and its aesthetic pleasure left an indelible imprint on my mind, only to strengthen my perspective on cross-cultural notions of justice and its dispensation.

    Finally, organising and planning this tour was a challenge which I successfully overcame. It marks the first independent tour I have done so far and the one which I would cherish forever. It helped me to build organisational and management skills and doing all of it in a time bound fashion. My doubts relating to what was once unknown were clearly proved as unfounded.

    Mansi Gupta