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Published: August 13, 2012

The best way that I can think to describe the Nice Program is that it was an absolutely unforgettable experience.  Getting to spend 4 weeks living beside the gorgeous, turquoise Mediterranean was only an added bonus to all the experiences the trip had to offer.  Professor Tiefenbrun did an incredible job as director of the program, arranging for amazing integration opportunities.  I can now successfully say that if and when I go back to France, I have several French friends that I would love to visit.  Having the French students in the program was helpful for all of us.  They taught us as much as we taught them, and it was interesting to see how different European laws are from American laws.  In addition, we had the opportunity to go to the French court, which was quite a different experience from sitting in on an American trial.  Some of us were even lucky enough to see a French murder trial.  Having the French students in court was extremely helpful because they were able to translate a lot of what was going on. 

We had a wide range of guest speakers come to the program including: Richard Goldstone, who spoke about being the first prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, as well as Judge Margaret McKeown of the 9th Circuit United States Court of Appeals, who taught the International Human Rights course for three class sessions and gave a public lecture as well.  One of my favorite guest lecturers was Professor Anicee Van Engeland, who was born in Iran and now lives in France, who shared her views on current forced marriages in British and Muslim communities and how to prevent such human rights violations in the future.  In addition, we had the honor of hearing Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere who is an anti-terrorist expert in France and actually works closely with President Obama.

Having class from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, Monday through Thursday only, made it perfect to relax and go straight to the beach before completing the reading for the next day. After homework, there was time to go to dinner with friends or check out some of the night life in Old Nice.  Along with this, having three-day weekends gave us a flexible schedule for traveling. If you’re on a budget, Nice is in a great location for nearby day trips that are just a train ride away.  Monaco takes about 20 minutes; Italy is a 30-minute train ride away; and Marseille, France’s oldest city, is a good weekend trip and only takes about 2 and a half hours to get to from Nice.

Furthermore, there was a lot to celebrate during this year’s program, as it was the 20th anniversary. The Nice Law School kindly held a reception in honor of the program’s success, and all the students and faculty were invited.  Before the Nice Program actually began, Professor Tiefenbrun held a Reception at her apartment in Nice in order to welcome all of the students. This was a great way to get to know people from other schools and to begin getting to know the French students.  At the end of the program, the French students graciously held a goodbye party for us at the law school’s garden, and they prepared all the food. This allowed us to get to know traditional French food and food native to Nice, such as the famous Nicoise Salad.

In closing, I have two pieces of advice.  First of all, make sure you have a way back to America before you leave to Europe to prevent a great deal of stress and some not so comfortable nights sleeping in airports.  Second of all and most importantly, do the Nice program especially if you’re interested in International law.  You won’t regret it, and I honestly won’t be surprised if I do it again next year.

Jennifer Davis

Published: June 05, 2012

I am delighted to report that our China Program 2012 continues to be very exciting and filled with enthusiastic, culturally aware, and sensitive students and faculty who are thoroughly enjoying the exotic experience of China, the beauties of Hangzhou, the grandeur of Beijing, and the cosmopolitan old and new world nature of Shanghai. Judge John Walker of the United States Court of Appeals second circuit is a superb addition to our program. He is a true expert in the rule of law in China, and when he delivered his Distinguished Guest Lecture yesterday at the Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law, the audience was full of Chinese students, professors, and legal scholars anxious to hear him speak and to see him in person. His insights into the development of Chinese legal reform are invaluable. He and I both attend the course in Chinese Legal System and Its Reforms, and as a result there is an extraordinary and I believe useful dialogue between scholars and students of East and West that may have an impact someday. Judge Walker is teaching in the course on International Business Transactions, and he has had opportunities to interract at dinners and at school and in the hotel with all the student and faculty here. He is wonderful, and I hope he will come back again to our program.

Our four-day trip to Beijing was better than ever. We visited the Beijing Supreme Court by special invitation, and Justice Jiang Huiling and two other judges and law clerk gave presentations about Chinese legal reform. The building is absolutely breathtaking...all in marble from floor to ceiling. Lots of formality and security. The full morning there was memorable!

We then visited Tian An Men Square on the eve of the anniversary of the big event in l989. Not a word was spoken about that historic event. We visited the inimitable Forbidden City, the great palaces and courtyards of the Emperor, and the next day we walked up the Great Wall! We visited the Ming Tombs, had lunch with a local Chinese family, ate Peking roast duck dinner, went to the Beijing Opera (and saw sumptuous costumes and dancing that were unforgettable), went to another Acrobat show, saw a Kung Fu show, and rode in a rickshaw in the Beijing Hou Hai area (like a suburb not far from the splendid Forbidden City that was in the past occupied by rich and important people who did not live in the Forbidden City). The Ming Dynasty style of these very old houses is carefully preserved. Quite a leap into the past!

All in all the trip has been full of adventure, learning, and intellectual excitement. I sense that the students have learned a great deal about international and comparative law, life in China, and life in the United States. Travel and study abroad are  a necessity! Now we all  know what was meant by  "the grand tour" and its educational values.

I applaud all the students and faculty in this program for the enrichment they have gained and for the enjoyment they have provided to me personally as the director of this program, which is in its sixth year. 


Professor Susan Tiefenbrun

Published: May 28, 2012

I am delighted to report that our first week of the 3-week China International Law Study Abroad Program in Hangzhou, China has been very successful. We have 58 American students from 3 different law schools in the United States and 17 Chinese students from Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law, all studying international and comparative law subjects together with 4 American law professors and 4 Chinese law professors. Students report that all five courses are going well, and they very much appreciate the high level of class discussion and learning. Classes are held from 8:30 am to 12:20 pm, and students are free every afternoon to do good site seeing in beautiful Westlake, which is across the street from our 4-star hotel. Breakfast is sumptuous and provides us with the time and place to talk to each other over a good meal. We travel to law school together by bus, where we all chat and discuss class material and other law-related and cultural, political, or social issues involving us, China and the world, and international law.

The day after we all arrived in Hangzhou, we went on a fun trip around Hangzhou and visited the oldest Buddhist temple in China, the Linyin Temple, whose monumental interior statues take your breath away. We were all in awe! The visit to a real tea plantation and view of the Chinese tea ceremony was a great introduction to a new and different culture. We then visited the Six Harmonies Pagoda for a real escape into the past and into the world of ancient China and its traditions. This weekend almost all of us went to Shanghai together and had a really good, event-packed time, led by an expert guide,  whom I have known for 6 years. 

We took the "fast train" to Shanghai, visited the biggest Chinese law firm in Shanghai, and heard an inspiring presentation by James Lin, one of the founding partners of that firm. The managing partner, Dr. Chen Ke, will visit our program on Monday June 3, after we all return from Beijing. In Shanghai we had a delicious dinner at a local restaurant and saw an unbelievable Acrobat Show that everyone said was better than Cirque du Soleil! The next day we visited the magnificent combination of green and stone and water in the famous Yuyuan Garden and residential mansion. Chinese gardens are absolutely beautiful and places of artistic harmony and peacefulness. Then we went to the amazing Shanghai museum where we luxuriated in ancient and modern Chinese paintings, bronze sculptures, porcelain through the ages, and Chinese furniture. For me, this was the highlight of the Shanghai trip, and I have visited this museum 8 times in my life. From there we went shopping in Taobao City (i.e. the "Fake Market") where we learned and honed our skills at negotiating the deal! At night we all took a romantic cruise on the Huangpu River seeing all of Shanghai, the new and the old, lit up like a giant Christmas tree all around us. Overwhelming! We visited the French Concession and other examples of the international and cosmopolitan nature of extraordinary Shanghai! The next day we went up to the highest building in Shanghai (the Shanghai World Financial Center) for a superb panorama of the city. We went to a local food market and had lunch at the modest home of a Shanghai resident. She prepared more than 20 delicious dishes for us to eat. What a day it was!

Now we are back in Hangzhou ready to begin the second week of our China Program. This is a truly wonderful group of students who seem eager to learn all about the Chinese language, history, art, culture, legal system,  and politics. They are intellectually curious and immersed in international law in a foreign world. This is good, really good.   
More to come next week.
Professor Susan Tiefenbrun
Director, China Study Abroad Program

Published: May 28, 2012

TJSL's Student Services Director Lisa Ferreira also is in Hangzhou, China with the Study Abroad Program and sent this note on her experiences after arriving.

May 28

Things here in China are getting off to a great start.  I arrived yesterday.  Last night believe it or not a student and I decided to eat at an Italian restaurant and who should we run into, but Professor Templin.  More and more students arrived and the restaurant ended up looking like the TJSL student lounge. 

Today I went off to class and sat in on Professor Tiefenbrun's class and the Chinese Legal Systems course where students discussed the US System and the China System, co taught by U.S. Appeals Court Judge John Walker, a Distinguished Guest Lecturer.  It led to some very interesting discussion that included ethics and transparency.  We came back to the hotel and students went different ways.  For me, I decided to talk a long, long walk around West Lake.  It is so beautiful.  There were a lot of people playing music, ballroom dancing, and even some folks singing.  What really struck me as interesting is that the people performing are often my age or older.  West Lake is also like a fashion show.  I have never seen so many women dress so colorfully and walk in high, high heels.  There were young couples with children, teenagers, and young adults alike.  I really appreciate that about the culture that they actually get out and enjoy the weather.  I found myself power walking my way through the area and realized how everyone slowed down, walked, stopped and sat, and just enjoyed the beautiful weather and the scenery.

Published: June 02, 2011

We have just ended the first week of our 3-week China Program in Hangzhou, China. We have a very big group: 89 American law students from TJSL and 32 Chinese students from Guanghua School of Law. The first day we all had a fantastic tour of the beautiful city of Hangzhou and a trip to the ancient Linyin Temple with the laughing Budda, the giant warrior statues, and the breathtaking Temple cradled in the midst of weeping willows, bamboo trees, lotus leaves on ponds, and caves and stones that all transported us  back thousands of years! We had a lovely Welcome Reception at the law school where all the Chinese students and professors introduced themselves to the American students and professors. The first week of classes went very well, and all of us adapted quickly to the "special characteristics" of China. Javade Chaudhri, the Keynote Speaker of our international conference held on Friday May 27, arrived on late Thursday night. All  22 speakers arrived from the US, China, Canada and Macau on Thursday night, and we had a nice dinner for our out  of town speakers. Dean Rudy Hasl gave welcoming remarks at the Conference on Friday. The Conference was a smashing success and very Chinese in style: ceremony, celebration, gifts, Certificates for  this and that, and high level scholarly presentations. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Professor Qian Hongdao to make this Conference on the Rule of Law in China a success. Saturday morning a large group of 52 students out of 89 went on a wonderful weekend trip to Suzhou where we ate special dishes of the region, took a fantastic boat ride on the famous "Grand Canal" and then went to a silk factory to see how  silk is made and to do some good shopping. We are all working and playing very hard, having an exceptionally good time and making many new Chinese friends. My Chinese is improving daily, and the students are learning all about China, its rich history and culture by listening to Chinese music, going to the most beautiful Chinese gardens of Suzhou, and by opening their mind  to a new and different way of life. Doesn't get much better than this! We have a wonderful group of students and professors, and we are all becoming good friends.


Professor Tiefenbrun