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Penn State Law LL.M. student launches podcast to showcase class diversity

Penn State Law in University Park LL.M. student Lina Albahouth has launched a podcast that highlights the experiences of her fellow international students.
Lina Albahouth & Kristin Hrehor record the latest episode of the LL.M. podcast

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – When Lina Albahouth began her first semester as a Penn State Law in University Park LL.M. student, she quickly recognized the many diverse backgrounds and perspectives that her fellow students brought to the classroom and beyond. As she settled into classes, and life, in a foreign country, she could not help but think that there must be a way to capture this global community and share it outside of the Lewis Katz Building. Finally, she realized the answer – a podcast.

“I wanted to be able to say, when my educational experience is over, everything that I learned, and part of that is not from a classroom, but from my fellow students,” explained Albahouth. “So, a podcast that would share the information, as well as offer a permanent record of it, seemed the perfect solution.”

In her second semester at Penn State Law, Albahouth started The LL.M. Podcast. The show’s description lists its purpose as “to utilize the added value of studying with these different legal backgrounds,” and to share “practical knowledge between LL.M. students about their legal experiences in many different fields.” She designed the podcast structure as a way for the current Penn State Law LL.M. class, made up of 150 students representing 34 countries, to get to know each other better, and continue to learn outside of the classroom, while also offering a look into different legal systems for any listener.

Each episode is a friendly conversation between Albahouth and her guest, with the first part being a discussion of things like their personality, meaning of their name, their hobbies, home country, and families, and the second part focusing on their practical background, legal and other professional experience. Topics have included how hard it is to be a prosecuting attorney or mediator internationally, the different types of legal systems each guest comes from, diverse undergraduate and graduate study paths, and so much more.

“The podcast is a tool to get to know each other, because it can be hard with all the class work and studying to do that,” said Albahouth. “Ideas like this podcast come so easily when you’re in a place like Penn State Law.”

Albahouth herself is from Saudi Arabia, where she graduated with her law degree in 2018, and then worked in the Ministry of Tourism as a regulator before coming to Penn State Law to further her education. Coming into the program, she had no set expectations, but an open mind, and admitted that it was not easy, even with her practical background. Producing the podcast has offered her a creative outlet that still taps into the reason she is here: to study law.

While she was worried about the expense and logistics of creating a podcast, expecting monthly expenses at least, Albahouth was pleased to discover the Media Commons, part of Penn State’s Pattee and Paterno Libraries Knowledge Commons. This interactive media space has the necessary technology, as well as helpful staff that don’t just mediate the use of the space but also want to see the endeavor succeed, which has made the entire process so much easier for Albahouth.

The LL.M. Podcast has so far recorded five episodes, with plans to record three more episodes this season. One of those episodes will include an interview with Kristin Hrehor, Graduate and International Programs academic adviser at Penn State Law, that will provide valuable insights for prospective LL.M. students on majors, concentrations, and course selection.

Albahouth hopes that the podcast will continue after she graduates this year, with the next cohort of international students taking over the reins and continuing to grow the show’s audience. As she looks at life after Penn State, she hopes to secure an internship in Washington, D.C., or to work on an exciting new project called NEOM in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in an area that is being touted as a second version of Silicon Valley, with startups in technology and beyond, that would have different laws and regulations than the Kingdom.

“I have learned so much and can’t wait to see where it will take me,” said Albahouth.

The LL.M. Podcast is available to stream on Spotify.

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