Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Summer Study Abroad Program in Hangzhou, China is now in its eighth year and is as rewarding as ever for the students who attend and the professors who participate.
The program is held at the Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law, in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
The program’s founder and director, Professor Susan Tiefenbrun sent us the following letter about the third and final week of the program:
Dear Students, Colleagues, and Staff:
The China Study Abroad Program 2013 has now come to an end. We are all experiencing the joys of exoticism, the challenges of living in a foreign land, and the sense of accomplishment having completed this program of international law study. We studied with Chinese professors and Chinese students who will probably remain our friends for life. After we returned to Hangzhou from the invigorating trip to Beijing and the Beijing Supreme Court, we spent our last week studying hard for final exams, eating up our last bites of terrific Chinese food, or buying our last Chinese silk scarves and purses. We attended our last brown-bag lecture by a corporate Chinese woman from Hangzhou and who has lived and worked in San Diego for the past 40 years. Lulu Hsu's talk was all about women in business in China and in the U.S. She was very informative. She was especially helpful to students of international business transactions because of her first hand experience working with foreign parties.
Students in the program absolutely raved about their unique experience studying international business law in China, and many have told me they want to do the program again. This year was probably the best year in all the seven years we have been running this program. This was due, no doubt, to many factors: (1) the awe-inspiring presence of Judge Pierre Leval, (2) the active participation of Dean Rudy Hasl who actually taught a great course in Comparative Trial Advocacy, (3) the participation of Professor Aaron Schwabach who loves China, speaks Chinese, and is a superb teacher, (4) the participation of Professor Claire Wright who has been living and doing research here in China for the past three months and could share her deep knowledge not only of WTO but of China as well and (5) Lisa Ferreira whose positive attitude, open mind and helpful advice are always indispensable to all of us.
The students this year were very respectful, open to learning new types of international legal issues, excited about the adventure of living and studying in China, and very appreciative of everything they were being given in this action-packed program of international law study in Hangzhou, China. Thanks to all of you, especially the 4 Chinese professors and the 21 Chinese students who participated actively in the program and seemed to enjoy it immensely Until next year!
TJSL Study Abroad Student Lance Henry's Video of China
Dear Students, Colleagues, Staff, Friends, and Family:
The second week of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Program in Hangzhou, China has been a great success. This is a superb group of very special students who appear to be intellectually curious about all international law matters, very excited to learn more and more about the history and culture of China and Asia in general, and just an amazingly cooperative and flexible group. It has been a pleasure and an honor to direct this group of TJSL students and professors. The participation of Judge Pierre Leval not only in the classroom but on all levals of our program has been particularly rewarding to our students who have come to know and admire him all the more. Judge Leval taught three classes in the International Business Transactions class and gave a very important public lecture to our entire group of 55 American students, 21 Chinese students 4 American professors and 4 Chinese professors. We have all enjoyed the very special participation and support for our program shown by Judge Pierre Leval of the Federal Court of the 2nd Circuit and his exceptional wife, Susanna. We will never forget them, and we hope they will come back with us to China and maybe even to our Nice Study Abroad Program in France (in which Judge Pierre Leval has participated in the past). The Nice Program begins in about 3 weeks.
Here in China, during the week students and faculty continue to study and learn together at the Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law. After class we all listen to great lectures by distinguished scholars and legal practitioners such as David Buxbaum, Esq. from Anderson and Anderson in Guangzhou (fluent in Chinese and working in China for more tha 20 years) and his associate Khristopher Ward (a recent alumnus of TJSL now working in Guangzhou) and Philip Rohlik, Esq., a partner at Debevoise and Plimpton in Hong Kong. All the students here seem interested in deepening their understanding of China, its people, its laws, its culture, its cuisine, the art and natural beauties of the city of Hangzhou and the reknown West Lake, described by Marco Polo as one of the most beautiful places in the world.. While most of the students and professors in our group have toured together on weekends visiting Hangzhou and Xian (the place of the famous buried terra cotta warriors) and Beijing, others have traveled by themselves on weekends to Thailand, South and even North Korea as well as Hong Kong. This past weekend we all visited Beijing, where we were invited to the Beijing People's Supreme Court, heard lectures by three judges of the Judicial Reform Division of this important court, and viewed the beautiful marble building and its elegant courtroom. This was a great honor for us. We all saw Tian An Men Square, the unforgettable Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs. Some of us saw the death-defying Acrobat Show and others saw the Beijing Opera. Yesterday we had a Peking Roast Duck dinner and saw a fabulous Kung Fu show. We all ate a hearty breakfast every morning at a beautiful hotel and enjoyed good local cuisine for lunch and dinner. We are all using chop sticks at this point, and some are even speaking Chinese. I continue to work hard to improve my Chinese, and I am making progress. We are all fatigued and happy after climbing the challenging Great Wall, and I am proud and amazed to report that Dean Rudy Hasl made it to the top top top. We all walked down holding our thighs and shins, breathing hard and heavily, but loving every minute of the adventure. Today we go together to the Temple of Heaven and have a tour of a local region of Beijing. We fly back to Hagzhou tonight after a fantastic exploration of the vast and ancient capital of China: Beijing! More to come next week.
Dear Students, Colleagues, and Staff of TJSL:
It is hard to believe that this is the end of the first exciting week of our China Study Abroad Program in Hangzhou, China. We are 56 American students and 21 Chinese students all attending the 5 superb courses we offer, and all enjoying each other's company after classes. The 9 professors (Dean Rudy Hasl, Judge Pierre Leval, Professors Susan Tiefenbrun, Aaron Schwabach and Claire Wright, Professors Qian Hongdao, Yongxin Song, Leslie Wang and Zhao Jun) all participate actively and enthusiastically in the program.
We are all having a great time, getting to know each other well, traveling to Xian to see the 2000 year old Terra Cotta Warriors together, eating meals together, biking and hiking together, eating dinner together and discovering the beautiful sights and hidden secrets of West Lake just across the street from the four-star hotel, Ramada Plaza Haihua Hotel, where we all stay and gather for chats, plan making, and excursions before and after classes every day.We all take the shuttle bus together to and from Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law Monday through Friday, after eating a delicious and hearty breakfast that we all love!
This week has been very successful. On the first day we went on a half-day tour of Hangzhou, took a cruise on West Lake, visited the world wonder Linyin Temple, and saw a tea ceremony at Dragon Well Tea plantation. Monday we had a fact-filled Orientation. Every day we are getting to know the Chinese students better, and they invite us to dinner and to walk in the park with them and their friends. We are experiencing Chinese school cafeteria food and trying Chinese food in restaurants.
We are learning international law together with Chinese students and Chinese professors who live with the Chinese legal system and obey the Chinese laws. 22 of us including Dean Hasl and Judge Pierre Leval are traveling together to Xian this weekend, and it is an amazing trip. We are at a 5-star hotel. Yesterday we saw the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses that were buried in 247 BC more than 2000 years ago, and this site is overwhelming for all of us. Last night we saw a beautiful Tang dynasty (600-900 AD) show in a supper club. The show was absolutely magnificent: exquisite costumes, authentic and ancient Chinese instruments, gorgeous and colorful costumes, exotic dancing from that period, orchestral music, good singing, copious food and drink for a supper-club dinner.
We are all immersing together in this rich and complex culture with great joy and lingering appreciation. Aaron Schwabach (whose Chinese is already proficient) and I are taking Chinese lessons. What could be better? Students are getting to know Judge Pierre Leval and his fantastic wife, Susanna, and we are all developing a great affection and admiration for each other. I am particularly impressed with these students who clearly are interested in Chinese history, art, culture, food, and the law. Some students went to Hong Kong, and during the week others went to Shanghai. Next week we have three guest speakers and on Thursday all of us are going to Beijing to visit, by invitation only, the Chinese Beijing Supreme Court! We are having a wonderful time, and the intimacy and really deep learning created by this program cannot be matched.
More to come next week when Judge Pierre Leval delivers his public lecture and teaches three classes in the International Business Transactions course (covering the Kiobel and Morrison Supreme Court cases). We will keep you all posted. My thanks to this amazing group of students and professors here in China. You and you alone are making this great stuff happen!
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