27 September 2010

Summer Study of Law in Beijing, China: A Student's Perspective

By Brandon Keller, Staff Writer

Hey law students, are you sick of hearing what an amazing time your fellow classmates had on their study abroad programs this past summer? It probably doesn’t help that you were stuck here digging ditches, making coffee, or sprinting to the Clerk of Courts office in the sweltering heat to file your boss’s documents on time.
Fear not, fellow classmates, your chance to join in on the action next summer is coming soon!

Offering programs in China, Ireland, Vatican City, Germany, and now a mini-tour of Europe, Duquesne Law’s summer study programs provide students with an opportunity to experience international law in and outside of the classroom.

Over the past summer, Tiffany Germann, 2L, attended the Beijing, China program where she studied at the Beijing University of Political Science and Law and learned about various areas of Chinese substantive law.

Criminal Law was Tiffany’s favorite class, due mostly to culture shock. “It is amazing that a country can enforce such unjust laws,” Tiffany said. “I was shocked to learn that there are 67 death penalty offenses – including cutting branches off of a protected tree.”

Beijing’s locale not only allows students to discover modern China within the city, but also provides the opportunity to travel to nearby locations which exemplify China’s rich heritage. Specifically, the program offered exciting side trips to The Great Wall and the historic city of Xi’an, providing the allure of travel in a region of the world that many never get the opportunity to see. Due to Beijing’s relative accessibility to other areas of interest, some students take the time to do their own traveling after the program is over. Tiffany and fellow classmates took a 7-day cruise, visiting cities in Japan and South Korea. “China is so inexpensive that traveling is very easy,” Tiffany said.
Sometimes the most beneficial aspect of visiting another country is meeting new people and learning about their culture. On Tiffany’s first night in China, her group decided to have dinner at their hotel restaurant. “We assumed they would be used to foreigners and maybe speak some English. Well we were wrong.” Reduced to pointing at what looked like chicken on the menu, the group stumbled through their meal order. “We got our food, and it was so bad… only one dinner was edible.” Meanwhile, about five staff members stood behind them while they ate, and laughed at their poor use of chopsticks. “This became one of our favorite experiences,” Tiffany said, “we learned fast, and came to accept that the wait staff was just so concerned about making us happy, and wanted to make sure that they were there if we needed help.”

Jealous yet? If you’re a Duquesne Law student, your chance at joining a program next summer is fast–approaching. The first open meeting for the Beijing, China program is on Wednesday, October 27 from 4-6 pm in the 4th Floor Faculty Lounge of the Murray Pavilion. In addition, Tiffany has extended an invitation to anyone who has questions about the Beijing program to send her an email at germannt@duq.edu.