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2012 Blog from Nice

August 13, 2012

Nice, France

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