Nina Lewis works with an elementary school student at Lesotho State Library
After graduating from the Florida International University College of Law in 2006, Nina Lewis began a journey which would lead her to join the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.
We recently caught up with Lewis to discuss her career path and what led her on this journey.
Can you trace your career path after law school? What led you to join the U.S. Diplomatic Corps?
I graduated from FIU Law in May 2006. I spent the summer studying for the bar, took the July exam and sent out applications to masters degree programs. During law school, I was in the part-time program and was teaching full-time at a local high school. After four years of sheer exhaustion, I wanted to enjoy some time off while waiting to see if I passed the bar, so I left the U.S. to backpack for a few months. During my time as a teacher, I had summers off and did study abroad programs in The Netherlands and Australia. FIU Law’s focus on international law and the study abroad experiences sparked my interest in foreign affairs. I decided that after law school I would do a one-year Master of Arts in International Relations overseas, and learn a foreign language. I was interested in working for the United Nations. While backpacking in New Zealand, after a hike on a glacier, I bought a calling card, found a pay phone and called to find out my bar score: I passed! The same week, I was accepted into a masters program in Brussels and one in Geneva, both starting in September. I ended up in Thailand and found out that the program in Geneva, was also offered in Bangkok and was able to enroll in the course starting in February. I loved it, so I ended up learning Thai instead of French! My faculty advisor was a retired U.S. Ambassador. She was the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda at the beginning of the genocide. She encouraged me to join the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer.