Comments from prior China Summer Law Study program attendees:
| China was one of the best experiences I have ever been a part of. Having studied abroad in Europe previously and been to several countries in South America, as well as the Caribbean, I can say that China was truly a unique and exciting experience. You’re able to have the opportunity to experience a completely different culture while learning from the top professors at the best university in the country (imagine Harvard, Yale, and Stanford combined into one). China was the perfect length of time too, allowing me to clerk at a law firm in Kansas City the remainder of the summer. |
Andrew Tremonti, UMKC School of Law
If you’re even considering China in the slightest – GO. You absolutely will not regret it, even if you’ve never been out of the country. This was my first time abroad and Nancy made everything from passport to visa application process as smooth as possible. I know cost is typically the first concern in regard to study abroad, but you get financial aid as long as you write a paper, and the substantial portion of your credit hours are pass/fail (4.5 hours out of 5)! (Plus anything you want in China is cheap – like really cheap. Food, clothes, travel, everything.)
Culture shock is another concern, which is understandable. But once you get there, you just seem to settle in and learn the city very quickly. I remember not believing this but I promise you it’s true! The natives welcome Americans and are as helpful as possible, especially the people who work for the Overseas Exchange Center and guide you through classes and tours. The language barrier really doesn’t pose much of an issue, especially with Nancy’s guidance through the city and different places to go. It’s also very safe there; we walked home late at night almost every night and never had any issues. The subway is also very handy, and easy to understand, when it comes to navigating the city.
Some of my fondest memories are from my time in China. From buying my first tailored suit to trying a variety of foods to traveling to Shanghai. You get a free weekend while you’re there, and I would highly suggest taking advantage of this. In Shanghai, I ate the best food of my life and also went to the world’s tallest bar. I would definitely make the flight again to experience both Beijing and Shanghai. Beijing is a hustling, bustling, smoggy, dirty city – but that’s what made me love it. I wanted to experience something vastly different from anything I had experienced before and I accepted the culture shock with open arms.
Having an open mind will help you get the best experience possible from this trip, but as I’ve mentioned before – there’s really nothing to stress about. The classes give an interesting high-level overview of multiple areas of Chinese law, which is a perk that is not highlighted enough. It’s one thing to visit a foreign country, but it’s even more important to understand how that country works – to really understand what’s going on around you. I think the most difficult part is when you get off that long flight and realize that the airport (and Beijing) are HUGE. But that’s part of the experience and I encourage you to welcome the culture shock it entails.
It’s impossible for me to condense my excitement about China and convey that to you into these few short paragraphs, but to summarize: I never thought I would study abroad, let alone in China, and now I miss it dearly. You have a lot of freedom while you’re there, you’re surrounded by amazing people, and the opportunity to study at Peking University is something that not a lot of students get. Not to mention, China is absolutely filled with rich history – thousands of years worth (that’s more than America). If you’ve even looked twice at information about this program, you’re already interested – and that’s all it takes to make the decision. Go. J
… Now I’m all nostalgic. Can I go again?
Melissa Ebling, UMKC School of Law
I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in UMKC’s China study abroad program. The faculty and staff were all very friendly and supportive; especially the Program Coordinator, Nancy Kunkel. Nancy went to great lengths to make sure the trip went smoothly and everyone was taken care of. Our liaisons at Peking University were so caring and genuine, not to mention extremely helpful with suggestions for navigating Beijing. I was able to see so many famous cultural landmarks while in China, including the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and Tiananmen Square to name a few. It’s actually really hard to put into words how meaningful this trip was to me. I never thought I would be fortunate enough to visit a country like China, yet that is exactly where I ended up thanks to UMKC’s program.
Rachel Butts, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
The China study abroad program has been a highlight of my law school career. The opportunity to learn about our largest single-country economic partner from some of the top legal minds in the country of China is invaluable. Their insight into the relationship between China and the US is enlightening and informative, and the overview of China’s legal system has opened my eyes to the context behind some of the stories we hear in the news. Outside of the classroom, the country is full of new experiences, beautiful sites, and welcoming people. This trip is a blast, and it is jam-packed with things to do — you won’t be able to say that you missed out on what life is like in the city of Beijing. I highly recommend taking this opportunity to travel, learn, and expand your horizons while you are still completing your education.
(And honestly, the Great Wall alone is worth the trip!)
Jennifer Cacchio, UMKC School of Law
China was a fantastic experience. Not only do you get to marvel at one of the seven wonders of the world, but you gain access to some of the best professors at the most esteemed university in all of China. Learning extends outside of the classroom, too. Beijing is a massive city and there is so much to explore. Whether it’s touring the major sites or simply walking down the street, you’re bound for excitement. 10/10 would recommend.
Kyle Enloe, UMKC School of Law
The decision to participate in the UMKC China Summer Law Study program was the best decision I’ve made so far in law school. I was able to learn from law professors at a prestigious university, see and learn about interesting and beautiful historic sites, and make friends with great people I met over there and a few classmates as well. I would encourage anyone on the fence about signing up for this program in the future to take the chance and go for it; in exchange for a little bravery you will get to experience something unique and amazing.
Joshua Honn, UMKC School of Law
UMKC’s China Summer study abroad has been one of my best law school experiences yet! Whether you want to practice business law, criminal law, or even IP law, this course provides a great basis for comparative law across many areas. The caliber of professors and the complete program UMKC has put together really does provide students with a fantastic opportunity. I HIGHLY recommend this program to all students!
Erin Tannock, Lewis & Clark Law School
The UMKC Law School Study Abroad in Beijing, China was a life-changing experience for me. I went because I’m interested in International Law, and China seemed so foreign and a little scary, so I wanted to take the opportunity to go before I lost my nerve. It was nothing like I expected. The food was delicious, the classes were interesting, the field trips and excursions were incredible, and I can say that I climbed the Great Wall of China among so many other experiences! If you’re even considering going on this trip, take the plunge. It’s a highlight in my law school experience.
Christin Tolle, UMKC School of Law
The best things about the UMKC China program are (1) that you learn a ton, both about China itself and its people, but also about their constantly evolving legal system; and (2) that it’s always interesting and fun (see, e.g., our midnight bike ride to Tiananmen Square). Oh, and (3), it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you will never forget.
Maxwell Goins, Lewis & Clark Law School
The China Summer Law program is the best thing I have done in law school, thus far. It is an extremely well run program that offers students an unparalleled opportunity to study at Peking University, the most prestigious school in China. Beyond the classroom, the program is structured in a way that allows students to really explore Beijing and a wholly foreign culture. The daily “cultural trips” were structured to maximize your time and give access to people and places that otherwise would not be available.
I strongly recommend doing the externship portion of the program at a law firm. My experience this summer at Sheppard Mullin was more than I could have ever hoped for. I was fortunate to work alongside amazingly bright Chinese attorneys and Americans who are leaders in their field. Definitely do the externship and try and stay as long as you possibly can; you will not regret it.
Even if you have no current plans of practicing “international law,” you undoubtedly will confront China at some point in your career. I can’t imagine a summer program that better prepares law students to think beyond the classroom and beyond borders. Beijing is an amazing city and my time there was unforgettable. Also, the Sichuan food is worth the trip alone. Read more about that on my blog: http://info.umkc.edu/international/author/dkk3kfKeith Kelly, UMKC School of Law
China Summer Law Program Participant Summer 2016
The China program was a great opportunity. The price was reasonable. It was great to listen to Chinese professors teach the law of their own country, as well as hear a foreigner’s perspective on United States law. I also appreciated the chance to see all of the attractions. UMKC has clearly spent a great deal of time planning and perfecting their trip. There will be group outings and time to explore on your own. I highly recommend the trip.
Thomas Hedden, Lewis & Clark Law School
While I was very excited about studying Chinese law I really went for the PANDA BEARS! I have always loved to travel and experience new cultures. Additionally, I take the opportunity to network very seriously. I was fortunate enough to meet many people within and outside of the program. For example, I met an amazing IP attorney from Budapest on the Great Wall of China, in town for a conference on IP law, and rising 2Ls from Ohio State Law School while traveling in Chengdu at the Pandu Reserve during the free weekend. These connections are worth bragging about. This trip opens a lot of doors to Law Students and Attorney’s alike, doors that without the trip would be unknown.
Christine Herron, Esq.
I would highly recommend all of you for this UMKC China Study Abroad Program. I was enrolled in this program in the summer of 2016, and I spent about two months in Beijing, China. In the first month, I studied at Peking University, which is one of the most prestigious universities in China. The professors of Peking University gave lectures on various topics about Chinese law, which provided me with not only knowledge of the Chinese legal system but also the deep insight of Chinese cultures. After the first month, I got a chance to do an externship at an international law firm and was involved with two projects, which gave me a great opportunity to put my knowledge into practice. Thus, joining this program was a really valuable experience for me.
Queena Zhang, University of Kansas School of Law
If you have any aspiration to practice law internationally, or just want exposure to life outside of the US, this is, without a doubt the program for you. Not only will you be studying at the premier school in the People’s Republic of China, but you also have the opportunity to network with highly influential professionals. At the very least, studying China’s legal system will sharpen your understanding of U.S. law. Do you like a little dirt on your sleeve? Worry not; your adventuring spirit will be quenched. Did I mention it is cheap? I highly recommend this program!
Cody Ford, UMKC School of Law
This program was incredible. We had a perfect balance of classroom learning coupled with real life experiences. The first half of the day, we attended one of the most prestigious law schools in China while we learned from some of their top law school professors. We learned so many interesting things about how Chinese law works with a communist government. We visited China’s Supreme People’s Court where we were able to interact with one of their Justices. We attended a criminal case at a local district court. We also visited two large law firms in Beijing – a Chinese firm and an American firm. The second half of the day we spent exploring Beijing or the Great Wall of China. We had a lot of free time to go to operas, shop at markets, visit hip art districts or anything else we were interested in order to make our experience unique.
I recommend this summer program to anyone, regardless of whether you are interested in International law or not. It was a once in a lifetime experience!
Sophia Stockton, University of Kansas School of Law
China was awesome. I signed up early on in the year, and spent the rest of the year wondering what I was getting myself into. I elected to stay on for the extra three weeks to do an externship (highly recommended), and upon returning, I spent the remainder of my summer wondering if I’d ever be lucky enough to return to China.
Trying to describe the trip is a bit like describing a flavor or a color. It just is what it is. And I loved it all. Sights, sounds, food, awesome classes, and most interestingly to me: people with amazing stories to tell. Do yourself a favor and don’t be afraid to venture out into the city. Learn the subway system, and let the locals tell you their favorite places to eat, and favorite things to do. Just wander. Contrary to my other experiences abroad, the Beijinger’s are extremely cordial, and all-too-ready to hop into a photo with you, so don’t be afraid to go out and see the sites.
The professor’s at PKU are amazing too. Make sure to be involved and ask questions. The professors love student interaction, and in my experience, they’re pretty much the smartest human beings on the planet. So ask away. Oh, and the Great Wall! I loved it. Do yourself another favor and don’t take the bus down from the wall. Walk through the village. Travel off the path on the trip when you can, and have your camera ready. So Go!
Tristan Medlin, UMKC School of Law
Where and how to start this testimonial is still a question that I cannot answer, but I think it is best if I split it up into three categories: overall organization and preparation of the program, the three weeks of lectures at Peking University, and three weeks participating in the externship.
PROGRAM ORGANIZATION- I was blown away with the organization of this program. I had studied abroad in the past during undergrad and that program’s organization did not even compare to UMKC’s. This program has been over fifteen years in the making, so by this time, the administrators have worked out all the kinks so that everything can flow as smoothly as possible in a country that is over 7,000 miles away from America. After each lecture, there is a different organized tour. These tours encompass every monument and historical place you would want to visit while in Beijing – the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and many more. Even better, all the costs of these tours are included in the program cost so there is no reason not to attend all of them.
Before even leaving Kansas City, each student will receive a packet that has all the pertinent information relaying what each student needs to do once they arrive in Beijing. This packet is essential, because the program administrators take the time to spell out all the directions that you may need in Mandarin in case you were to get lost or separated from the group. These small preparations will make a big difference in helping each student feel comfortable while still adjusting to the new culture.
LECTURES – When it comes to the lectures at Peking University, it is important to recognize that PKU is a world-renowned institution – it is known as the Harvard of China. PKU has regularly been ranked as the top university in China. The lecturers are top legal professionals in China and many of them are known worldwide for being an expert in a specific field. Learning from such prestigious faculty while also attending a top institution is an experience that cannot be found in other study abroad programs – I would challenge anyone to try to find a comparable opportunity. The lectures are all extremely interesting and informative, but the best part of lectures is at the end when the professors open the floor to a question and answer session. It is unbelievable as Americans to comprehend the struggles these scholars have gone through, but none of them regret what they have had to do in order to make their ideas known – their perseverance is staggering.
EXTERNSHIP – I can honestly say that my externship changed my life and perspective on the legal field. I went into these three weeks knowing that I was interested in practicing internationally, but I was unsure about what field within the international realm. I was extremely lucky with the firm I got placed with, but after spending three weeks at the firm, I had discovered my passion that I will now pursue for the rest of my legal career. The opportunity to work in a foreign firm that operates in China should be enough to sell anyone thinking about practicing internationally, but there is also the further benefit of getting class credit.
To this day, I still speak regularly with my colleagues at the firm I worked with. I feel like I have made lifelong friends from the other side of the world. The work was obviously fantastic, but the relationships I was lucky enough to build with my co-workers is special. I completely owe all of this to the UMKC program. The experience of getting to work every day on the rail and working with people whose second language is English tests your ability to communicate and deal with problems that are not common in America. These instances will not only assist you in growing as a lawyer, but also as a person. More importantly, these are experiences you can pull from when you are in difficult interviews or when encountering difficult problems while practicing. The adversity that you may experience in China will make you more adaptable to issues that arise in America.
To conclude, I still think about my experiences in Beijing every day. I maintain that the six weeks I spent in Beijing changed my perspectives about the world. Growing up in America, we hear a lot of things about the Chinese government in the news, but very little about the people of China. The major lesson I took away from my time in Beijing was this: we must learn to separate a country’s government from its people. Every single Chinese person that I encountered was nothing but welcoming and extremely patient with my inability to speak Mandarin. But this trip also taught me how to rely on myself. After the conclusion of the first three weeks, most of the students leave. This may seem worrisome at first, but the three weeks during the externship makes one discover the most efficient ways to get around the city. I was lucky enough to spend most nights out with my co-workers. My one piece of advice is this: if your co-workers ask you to go out after work for dinner or a drink – NEVER turn it down. Your best experiences will come from them showing you the city from a local’s perspective, which will make you feel as if you are completely immersed in Chinese culture – this is something that you may not ever have the chance to experience again.
ONE MORE THING: thank you so much to Tim and Nancy. All participants in the China program are extremely lucky to have these two on the trip. Not only have they been to China multiple times so their advice is great, but they are just extremely fun people to be around. Over the course of the three weeks, I became very close with both Nancy and Tim. I am now lucky enough to not only see them as UMKC faculty, but as close friends. Both of them will always have a smile on their face (unless you show up late to class) and will always encourage you to get out on the town to get as many lessons and perspectives from the time spent in Beijing as possible. I am forever grateful that these two great people guided my first time in Asia and I will continually thank them for everything they both have done for me. China is an amazing country and I strongly encourage every student to consider making the trip.
Brian Thompson, University of Missouri School of Law
I would highly recommend the UMKC Summer Law Program to any law student with an interest in Chinese law. The members of the law faculty at Peking University are truly first-rate, and the classes provide a comprehensive introduction to the Chinese legal system. In addition, the sightseeing excursions, which are included in the cost of the program, allow program participants to visit the most famous sites in Beijing, while gaining a firsthand look at life in one of the world’s greatest and most historic cities. In light of the number of transferable credit hours a student can earn, the quality of the curriculum, and the large number of sightseeing activities, a law student simply cannot find a better study abroad program, especially at such a reasonable price.
Thomas R, Laehn, University of Iowa College of Law
|Studying abroad in Beijing, China was the most enriching and amazing experience of my life. Three weeks of studies at Peking University helped me to acquire knowledge about Chinese law, including topics such as intellectual property, real estate, labor, securities, taxation, criminal, etc. Having general information about Chinese law is important in today’s growing global legal profession and additionally, China is the second largest economy in the world that affects the world. |
One of the unforgettable memories is a visit to the Supreme People’s Court (China’s Supreme Court), through which I gained an understanding of the Chinese judicial system by interacting with a Supreme Court Judge.
Two months of internship with an American law firm allowed me to learn about Chinese legal practice and work one-on-one with the Chinese lawyers on all kind of issues that the foreign companies face while doing and expanding their businesses in China. It also provided an excellent opportunity to network aboard. I understood the international legal practice that is different from the domestic legal practice and how in-house counsels of foreign companies work with the foreign and Chinese lawyers in order to comply with the Chinese laws and regulations.
Studying abroad gave me a new and different perception of Chinese culture. I would recommend study aboard to any law student who is interested in international law and up for an incredible adventure.
Do it because it is worth it!!!
Joli Patel, UMKC School of Law
The UMKC China Summer Law program gave me access to China’s top legal minds and improved my understanding of China’s prominent place in global affairs. I learned about the law, experienced the culture, tasted the food, and made lasting friendships thanks to this excellent program.
Caitlin Schultz, Capital University Law School
The UMKC China program provided me with perhaps one of the most unique experiences of my life. From playing ping pong with an elderly Chinese woman (she won), to seeing the unbelievable Summer Palace to adventurously traversing the Great Wall, to having a beer on a Chinese beach, and to taking classes with some of the most prestigious law professors in China, it’s an experience I could never forget. It was one of the greatest adventures of my life, and I learned quite a lot. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to the way civil law works as opposed to the common law system.
The program is incredibly well-coordinated. You’ll have the opportunity to see some of the most interesting and famous sights in China. You also have the opportunity to explore Asia, something that normally doesn’t really happen during the fall or spring semester when you’re a law student.
Peking University is a very prestigious institution. The professors are all exceptional. The classes are very entertaining. All of the lectures included PowerPoints, which they provided for us in every class, which made learning the material very easy.
The program is both informative and exciting and I would recommend it to anyone who asked. You won’t regret it.
David Haddock, UMKC School of Law
I was a visiting student for the UMKC China Summer program. The program is a unique experience for law students who would love to enrich their legal knowledge to the international level. The opportunity to study in the most prestige university in China definitely broadened my future career. The program not only taught me the basics of Chinese laws, but also gave me a chance to see the reality of the legal environment in China.
In class, we were taught by professors from Peking University who specialized in different legal spectrums. It was wonderful to learn from professors who are knowledgeable in both U.S. laws and Chinese laws. I found the courses on China’s Securities Regulations and China’s Real Estate Laws most helpful to prepare my future career.
Outside the classroom, I experienced the diverse cultural, historic, and social life in Beijing because the program offered field trips and cultural tours to visit great tourist attractions in Beijing. The trip to the Supreme People’s Court was the most unforgettable, which allowed us to discuss legal issues with one of the Justices.
I also did an externship through the program with one of the best law firms in China. The arrangement for the externship was the best fit for my skills and interests in international transactions and real estate laws. Believing that the future legal market between China and the U.S. is unlimited, I built a network with many local attorneys and U.S. attorneys in China.
As a visiting student, the professors from UMKC were extremely helpful in assisting me throughout the program, as well as the post-program process. I strongly recommend students from different law schools participate in the UMKC China Summer Program!
Alex Wong Lau, Michigan State University College of Law
China, for me, was an unforgettable experience. I’ll start with the academic side of the trip, which is not quite as grueling as a prospective participant may fear. However, don’t assume it’s just a “walk in the park,” because, well, law school. We had a wide variety of distinguished professors, some of whom had first-hand knowledge of important Chinese political events and famous individuals. I won’t spoil it, but, you may hear a story about a cat which will leave you impressed and enlightened. The cultural trips are impressive and give you a good “China in a nutshell” feeling; because time is limited and it definitely goes quick. The Summer Palace is amazing. The atmosphere is so serene, that it’s almost shocking to realize it is engulfed by the city of Beijing. The Great Wall is an adventure (more-so when you miss the bus), the subway system is one too. Always go with Nancy to figure out where the best places to shop are located and definitely pay Lisa a visit for a tailor-made suit/shirt/tux. You absolutely have to explore the city as much as you can, which you’re allotted ample time to do so. In terms of “the nightlife,” if you’re into that sort of thing, Sanlitun was the district to see. Having a mojito on the roof of Migas and chatting-up people from all over the globe? Yes, please. All-in-all, I enjoyed my time there, and would love to go back. At first glance, it came off like an entirely different world, but in reality; there are a lot of similarities. The visit to the People’s Supreme Court, however, may have been more intimidating from the gallery than any of my actual appearances in court. That being said, if you don’t go, you’re essentially missing an opportunity to get credits while broadening your horizons and at an economical rate (buy your tickets at a good time and save big time).
Do’s: Figure out some form of communication prior to leaving the US. Get your VPN set up, some form of cell-phone (disposable with an international plan, or your own carrier for something similar), and I’ve even entertained the thought of walkie talkies for the group (as it would save a ton of frustration for group outings). Also, download Plecco or some form of Chinese dictionary that speaks if you’re too lazy to learn how to properly speak their language in an efficient manner (guilty). You also have to take the bike ride to Tiananmen Square for the flag raising ceremony at sunrise, as it is something that must be seen.
Don’ts: Expect China to be all scary and Communist. They are a bit more restrictive, but, it’s not the Cold War. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from any of the Chinese students who are helping. They are all extremely nice and enjoy engaging with American students. Also, even if you are a picky eater, try the food. The eggplant is glorious and I’m still shocked when I say that. Finally, don’t wait to plan your free weekend trip. I went to Bangkok, but your options are limitless, and included places like Korea, Japan, etc.
Dave Amirault, UMKC School of Law
The China Summer Program is the most memorable study abroad program you can experience at UMKC Law. The Chinese professors are the most elite in their specific fields and the cultural tours captured the essence of China. Professor Lynch and Nancy are friendly and supportive mentors that are most knowledgeable about Chinese culture and the complexities of being abroad.
Benjamin Campbell, UMKC School of Law
I cannot recommend the China Study Abroad Program enough. Memories and friends are made every day in this respected program at Beijing University. The professors there are intelligent, kind, humorous, and candid in their explanation of a legal and cultural system that is totally unlike our own. If you’re able to take the externship, I wholly recommend it. The externship program is a generous opportunity to explore China on your own to create friendships and gain valuable experience in a foreign environment.
Do not overlook the China Program. This is a life-changing personal and professional opportunity at one of the most renowned schools in the world with the friendliest and most dedicated faculty at UMKC.
Matthew Welshon, UMKC School of Law
The China Summer Program is an amazing experience. I would recommend it to anyone, even if you have never been out of the country. The three weeks we spent in China were my first weeks ever leaving the county but were probably some of the best weeks of my life.
UMKC also offers scholarships for the program; I received two, totaling $1,500. They were easy to apply for and I strongly encourage anyone interested in the trip to apply for them both as well! Receiving these scholarships allowed me to make the most out of my time in Beijing, so you should do the same!
The trip allows you to have a cultural experience that you will remember for the rest of your life and it gives you an opportunity to see part of the world you may never experience otherwise!
Ashley Broderick, UMKC School of Law
If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering whether or not you should participate in the UMKC Law China Program. Put this down and go get your visa!! It really is a unique opportunity and one of the best decisions I have made in law school. The professors at Peking University will introduce you to Chinese law, history, and culture, while the field trips and cultural tours will illustrate your classroom learning. One of my favorite trips was the visit to the Supreme People’s Court, where we had a Q&A session with several judges that sit on China’s highest court. And I could have spent days in the National Museum.
The UMKC Program is great because it has enough structure so you will be sure to use your time wisely, but it isn’t so structured that you don’t have time to plan your own excursions. By the end of your first week, you will be navigating the subway system like a pro and it only costs about 30 cents to get anywhere the subway can take you (almost everywhere in Beijing!). And if you are a foodie, even better – we went to multiple restaurants where the menu was illustrated and over 30 pages thick!
You will make friends quickly, both with the other law students and with the student tour guides from Peking University. You will consider deep concepts, such as the meaning of “the rule of law” and the role of a constitution. But you will also laugh a lot as you watch each other learn how to eat with chopsticks, shop at the market, and find the best poutine in Beijing (better ask Nancy about that one).
All in all, the UMKC China Program is a great use of your tuition dollars. Partly because of these credits, I am on track to graduate early. My brother (an undergrad) came to Beijing with me and attended the classes and events. He was so impressed with this program that he is taking the LSAT next month and is planning to attend law school. SO DO IT! You will be glad you did.
Abigail Clark, UMKC School of Law
The UMKC Law Summer China program is a great program. I neglected my chances to study abroad in undergrad, so once I found out this China program existed, I made sure not to miss this opportunity. I enjoyed the program so thoroughly for several reasons. First the credit for school is nice, but learning about a different country’s legal system was a nice change of pace. Secondly the cultural tours and trips were a great experience. Visiting the Great Wall of China is no small deal. Thirdly the program offers the opportunity for an externship which gives additional credit, and the unique experience of working in a Chinese law firm. This is something unique you can put on your résumé that will set you apart. You can be sure recruiters will ask about this at interviews. Lastly the people are pleasant and the drinking scene is enjoyable making for a good nightlife. Being a foreigner in China you have an ace up your sleeve by default. There are a lot of women in China. They’ll be just as interested in you as you are in them.
Kurt Pucci, UMKC School of Law
I was not initially planning on studying abroad in China but the reputation of the UMKC program in Beijing ultimately persuaded me to go. The experience helped me grow both professionally and personally in ways I didn’t know were possible. I had no background in Asian studies and knew zero Mandarin but at the end of the summer I knew a smattering of conversational phrases and learned about the culture in ways only possible by living them. As one American lawyer in Beijing told me, “participating in this program is the best thing you can do for your career this summer because in some shape or form, China will come across your desk whether you are working in a transactional firm or on a criminal case.” Learning about Chinese culture is a large undertaking, but by making the first step to visit China and learn its history and laws, it will open new doors to you that you may have never considered.
Andrew Edwards, UMKC School of Law
I’m not sure if it was when I was scaling up the Great Wall, or sitting in silence by the giant Buddha statue in the Summer Palace, but at some point I fell in love with China. I decided to go abroad because I wanted to experience something new, but I wasn’t expecting to have the trip be such a life-changing experience. I discovered a lot about Chinese and international law, but what’s almost more important is that I discovered more about myself. It was truly the most memorable six weeks I’ve experienced, and I plan to return to China in the near future to continue my exploration and learning.
Amanda Hildebrand, UMKC School of Law
What is more interesting than going to the other side of the world to study their legal system at the best school in all of Asia? The education we received at Peking University goes unmatched. Our professors were top Chinese officials and some had even survived the Red (Cultural) Revolution and the knowledge they passed down to us was phenomenal.
I can understand why some people would want to go to Ireland to get the experience, but there truly is no other experience quite as exotic, educational, internationally relevant, and packed with as many exciting events as UMKC’s China Study Abroad program.
We went to class every day, went to excursions every afternoon, and hit the night life every chance we had. We even had time to visit the Great Wall of China twice! The second time we took the opportunity to watch a techno concert on the Great Wall! I believe it was only two days after our concert we went to the Chinese Supreme Court and met the Justices. This trip was literally packed, back-to-back with memorable experiences. The people I met over there, and the memories I made, stick with me even to this day. I wouldn’t dare leave this trip off of my résumé, and even more I won’t forget it.
Knial Piper, UMKC School of Law
Traversing the Great Wall. Biking to Tiananmen Square in the serene pre-dawn hours for the raising of the national flag. Leisurely strolling the wide boulevards of the Summer Palace. Devouring authentic Peking Duck. These are just a few of the amazing experiences that await you in Beijing. Attending the UMKC China Summer Law Study program was one of the best decisions I’ve made in law school.
The program provides an opportunity to see China in a way few people can. By exploring the complex and evolving legal system of a rapidly developing country, the professors provoked spirited discussion on the meaning and purposes of the rule of law. Being exposed to a system of law so divergent from our own has urged me to think more critically about the way the law functions in our own society.
Unlike many study abroad trips, the UMKC China Program provides numerous opportunities to observe the practical applications of Chinese law. A visit to the Supreme People’s Court offered a rare chance to question judges and clerks, while a trip to the Haidian District Court provided a disconcerting glimpse of criminal sanctions and trial procedure in China. Conversations with practicing lawyers—both local and foreign—hinted at some of the unsettled issues that strain the fledgling legal system.
This transformative academic experience is only one facet of the program. Over the course of three weeks, I was able to intimately explore and experience the culture of China. It is a complex country—poised on the edge of modernity, but in some respects still fiercely devoted to tradition. The incongruity of Communist Party policies and Western free market principles evident in the affluent shopping districts reflects a country still in the throes of metamorphosis.
With China’s ever increasing dominance on the global stage, any law student—no matter what area of practice he or she is interested in—can benefit from this informative and challenging program. This is truly an opportunity not to be missed!
Carla Edmondson, Lewis & Clark Law School
The UMKC China Study abroad trip has been (and probably will continue to be) one of the best decisions I have made in law school.
I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to study abroad not only in China, but also in Ireland in the past. While I cannot discredit my experience in Ireland, it pales in comparison to my experience in China. It is rare to have the opportunity to travel to a place like China and have such a great support network that has been set up by UMKC and Peking University. The classes, accommodations, and program are already set up for you. Furthermore, UMKC is fortunate to have a connection with Peking University (“The Harvard of China”). I feel privileged to have learned the Chinese legal material through some of the brightest professors in China. To top everything off, the cost of living in China was lower than Ireland so my dollar went a much longer way ($0.33 to go anywhere in Beijing on the subway—you can’t beat that!).
Absolutely no prior knowledge relating to China is required to go on the trip. I went over to China with zero ability to speak the language and very little knowledge regarding China’s history. This trip was a learning experience not only from the classroom subject matter, but more importantly a learning experience from the people and culture of China! Other students speaking both English and Chinese will help you during the entire trip, and despite the language barrier, the Chinese citizens were very polite and helpful.
I was very happy with the city of Beijing as well. Beijing is unique in the sense that it is a hybrid of having both great historical significance/sites as well as being a very modern city. The nightlife was great, and I found that Chinese bar and club owners loved having us in their establishment (it’s great PR to have an American in their club). One big concern I had going over there was the food—as soon as I got into Beijing, I realized there was nothing to worry about. You can be as wild or conservative as you want. While it was a lot of fun to try new foods (and there were many), there were other days that I indulged in Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Starbucks, etc.
The great thing about the length of the trip is that since it is only 3 weeks, a lot of people go over to China, get their credits, and still have the rest of the summer to do an internship back in the states. I decided to stay an additional 3 weeks to do an externship in Beijing (another opportunity that I definitely do not regret) at one of the biggest law firms in Asia (Yingke). Once again, no experience was required and it was a great way to stay in Beijing and continue traveling around. In my opinion, it was the easiest and most enjoyable 6 credits I will get while I am at UMKC. Also I was back in the United States by July 1, so I still had half of my summer left!
I cannot stress enough how appreciative I am for the opportunity and the experience I had on this China Study Abroad trip. The coordinators for the trip including Nancy Kunkel and Professor Lynch have been in charge for years and do an excellent job putting everything together. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I urge everyone to make the leap and just do it. You will not regret it.
Mark Lacey, UMKC School of Law
Where to begin? The UMKC China Summer Program is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Plus, you aren’t going to find a better deal—school credit, touring China, and having the time of your life, all for less than I would have paid for summer school in the States. Whether you have an interest in working abroad or just want to have an experience you will always remember, this is definitely something to fit into your law school plans.
The classroom portion of the program is interesting and challenging. The Peking University campus (Beida) is huge and provides some sightseeing itself, and the on-campus facilities used for the international students are top-notch (and the refreshments during the break each day are excellent).
The “cultural tours,” as they have been dubbed, are definitely a highlight of the program. It was amazing to visit places you normally only see in picture and film. Nancy, Prof. Lynch, and the rest of their crew put together a great schedule that ensures you see the top sights and also experience the fun of China that others don’t know about. For example, the National Center for the Performing Arts (the “Egg”) in Beijing hosted the Vienna Philharmonic this past summer, and a group of us were able to procure tickets for the show—not something you would expect but so awesome!
Another great thing about the program is the free time. We had so much time to plan things to do on the side. Some went to Shanghai, others to Hong Kong; and like the Philharmonic concert, there are an endless amount of “extras” to do in Beijing (Peking duck!). Or, if you feel like sitting around in a café chatting online or getting lost in Beijing, you can do that, too. Just be sure to come back so Nancy doesn’t worry.
Finally, the staff for this program is great. Prof. Lynch and Nancy take very good care of the students as far as health, safety, and fun times go. They want everyone who goes out to China with them to come back wanting to do it again. Also, they make sure you learn something, both in the classroom and on the street.
Take advantage of this great opportunity to explore the world a bit and learn things that can have a great impact on you. Or, just go to have a blast and take lots of pictures. Either way, you won’t regret having chosen the UMKC China Summer Program. Thanks Nancy and Lynch!
If you’re still reading this, here is a sample of the top things I did in China (** = not included):
R. Blake Echols, Lewis & Clark Law School
Having been on both the UMKC Ireland and China study abroad trips I can say with 100% certainty that the trip to China is worth it. Numerous times throughout the trip I found myself saying “I’ve never seen anything quite like this.” China’s influence and role on the world stage will only continue to grow and getting to see the real thing really helps to gain an understanding of everything. The sights were amazing, the culture interesting, and the experience unforgettable.
Ferdinand “Ferd” E. Niemann IV, UMKC School of Law
UMKC’s China summer program afforded me the chance to come to China and experience culture in more ways than I can count. My experience still continues as I write this, as I am just finishing up an internship through my law school, Lewis & Clark, at a law firm in Beijing. My short trip here began with three weeks of UMKC’s summer program, which was more than useful in providing me with a breadth of opportunities to delve into Chinese culture. As a group of law students from all around the globe, we visited the most fascinating parts of Beijing including palaces, temples, law firms, schools, halls, and of course delicious restaurants. Among the tour leaders were Peking University students and faculty from UMKC who provided exceptional attention and zeal to make our travels much more awesome. We also got the opportunity to visit one of the most beloved and ancient cities in China, Xi’an, to get a true flavor of history during our trip. The education in Chinese law that I received was invaluable and has allowed me to continue working in Beijing at a Chinese law firm. My favorite part about UMKC’s summer program is the end result — a chance to tell people that I studied law at Peking University with some of the most prestigious law professors in the world, and the most intelligent and renowned professors in China by far. An experience like UMKC’s summer program should not be missed.
Andrea R. Herman, Lewis & Clark Law School
The UMKC study abroad program which takes place at Peking University (PKU) is an awe-inspiring experience to say the least. Despite notions concerning the lack of academic rigor associated with most study abroad programs, this is where the UMKC program shines. The professors are hand selected from the PKU staff, and they are masterful in regard to their areas of expertise; they are not transplanted American professors. The academic portion of the experience was highly rewarding and expanded my legal understanding both globally and locally.
Outside of the academic portion of the experience is physically being in China. Nothing can describe this. The sights, sounds, tastes, and wonders are omnipresent. Never was there a boring day, each tour and meal was a wonderful adventure. Nancy Kunkel, the program coordinator, is a well-seasoned veteran when it comes to travel in China, and she is a sensational person with a vast amount of practical and substantive knowledge.
If you have any doubts, I would recommend casting them away. I look back on my experience in China with great fondness, and every employer who reviews my resume is always interested in my studies at PKU.
Jagjit Nagra, Lewis & Clark Law School
I highly recommend the UMKC China Summer Law Study program. The trip was the highlight of law school. Distinguished Peking University faculty teach the law courses and the program directors do an incredible job planning cultural and historical trips. I also had the pleasure of making many new friends! It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and something that I will remember always.
Katherine Linsey, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
I would highly recommend UMKC’s China Summer Program. The program was very rewarding, both intellectually and culturally. The best aspect of this program is the ties that it has with various people/groups in China that allows you to experience things that you never would be able to experience if you visited China on your own. For example, we met with attorneys from Western firms and also Chinese firms and were able to get a better understanding of practicing law in China. Another example is sitting in a Chinese criminal trial, which is closed to the public, but with the programs ties, we were able to experience the trial.
I decided to stay for an additional three weeks and do an externship at a Chinese law firm. I would encourage prospective students to do the externship because it allows you to better appreciate the culture. One of my favorite parts of the externship was conversing with many Chinese attorneys and hearing stories about their experience with Chinese law.
Andrew Huber, UMKC School of Law
What can I say about China… Probably one of the most interesting places you could ever go. Not only because of the amazing things to see like the Great Wall and one of my personal favorites, the Chinese Acrobats, but because it is completely different than any other place. The people and the culture make China so unique and worth visiting.
I would recommend the China trip to anyone who wants something to do outside of normal class credit. China gives you the opportunity to get quite a few law school credits in a short amount of time. Because the trip is so early in the summer and only 3 weeks it gives you plenty of time to still work. One of the other main reasons I recommend the China trip is the cost. The cost to live in China is extremely cheap and the accommodations provided through the program were beyond expectations.
Nicholas Bates, UMKC School of Law
The UMKC China program was fantastic. In addition to learning about China, an unexpected benefit was to better understand my own country’s legal system. Because of this program I am more prepared to handle domestic and international legal problems.
Michael Neal, Lewis & Clark Law School
The University of Missouri Kansas City summer abroad program at Peking University in Beijing is by far one of the best programs a law student can do. The value of the program, the organization of activities, and the depth of Chinese law learned is unmeasurable. Not only did I learn an abundance about the law in China, I also made lifelong friends and had unimaginable experiences.
Through the program you are granted access to some of the most treasured cultural heritage sites in China, from the Great Wall to the Forbidden City to the Summer Palace. This program offered it all. One of the best things about the program that surprised me was how little I actually had to prepare for it. I didn’t know a single word in Chinese and was petrified that I would be completely lost. Yet, the program carefully constructed a majority of our activities, had students from Peking University travel with us, and helped us through the whole experience.
If you’re a law student and are trying to figure out what to do over the summer, this is it. The program is short enough that you can come back and work for the rest of the summer if you want to but long enough that you get the experience of a lifetime.
To pass up this opportunity should be a crime. There is nothing to think about, they have everything planned, just start packing your bags, or start figuring out how you will explain to yourself why you were so stupid.
Timothy Reeve, Lewis & Clark Law School
I am an attorney in Brazil and currently finishing my Juris Doctor at Saint Thomas University School of Law. A journey to China has always been part of my dreams but it seemed too distant and inaccessible. A month before summer school of 2012 I decided to do an internship and a class in China. I searched through the ABA list of accredited law schools with summer abroad programs in China and UMKC was on the list. I called and emailed several other schools but UMKC Summer Abroad in China was the school that sounded the most interesting due to cost-benefit purposes. Initially, several factors led me to decide to go to China through UMKC: (1) Ms. Nancy Kunkel was so receptive and friendly that it made me want to be part of the program; (2) the program offers classes on several Chinese topics; (3) the program was just the right amount of time, not too long, not too short; (4) the price of the tuition was reasonable; (5) the program included tours every day during three weeks; and (5) the program gave me the option of doing an externship at a Chinese law firm.
My experience in Beijing, China was amazing. We had classes every morning and tours every afternoon. The class contained students from several other countries and law schools which made the learning experience even richer. During class, we discussed the main differences between American law and Chinese law. The professors were very qualified and open to questions, making it a healthy learning environment. Professor Lynch and Professor Randolph were always present during classes and tours. In addition, Nancy supported us, instructed us, and assisted us with any problem we had. China is a country like no other that I have visited. The Chinese culture is very different and it was a life learning experience to be part of the UMKC Summer Abroad program. I recommend it to everyone I know. I did not find any other school which takes students to so many tours and at the same time educates them on several areas of law: Property Law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, among others. Furthermore, this program impacted my academic and personal life and will continue to influence my future career since China has a love / hate relationship with the United States and is part of major international negotiations. Having this experience will definitely elevate my position in the job market.
Acacia Barros, St. Thomas University School of Law
The program is intensive and comprehensive, the course work is extremely interesting and relevant in the wake of China’s emerging world dominance. The instructors and the university are great. The Organization is phenomenal as there is some sort of cultural activity that is planned every day of the trip where major historic sights are all scheduled to be visited by the students. I felt that what I saw and did in 3 weeks was a great accomplishment that would have taken me much longer to do had I gone on my own, the compact nature of the course is a great way to explore and learn many things in a relatively short period, I highly recommend this summer course.
Aziz Al-Alami, University of Louisville – Brandies School of Law
When I first started law school, I figured I would attend the Ireland program because I really wasn’t interested in China, and I figured all the cool kids go to Ireland. Then I realized that the China program would provide the credits I needed, is a fraction of the cost, and would be an adventure unlike the familiar type of escapades I would encounter in Ireland. What was really most important to me, however, was an opportunity to familiarize myself with the legal and political system of a country that makes up 1/5 of the world’s population. By going to school at China’s highest rated university and attending nearly all of UMKC’s sightseeing tours, China is no longer a strange land in a galaxy far, far away. Rather, it has become a much more familiar culture with a people for whom I’ve acquired an appreciation and a fondness. Lastly, I should mention that it’s an opportunity to meet law students from all over the US (and the world) who are in the same boat, are just as confused by the street signs, and want to meet other law students. What I mean is, the program is a lot of fun – it’s A LOT of fun.
Alec Locascio, UMKC School of Law
It is impossible to distill the China summer semester program into distinct parts. You’re learning the culture, the law and building the skillset necessary to live on your own in China simultaneously. The semester was a transformative experience. I highly recommend it to anyone with an international law focus or anyone who feels the urge to see the world outside of the United States.
The Takeaways: Most importantly it was an education in the true extent of globalization and how essential acclimation to globalization really is for new lawyers. My semester in China taught me that to really heft my share of our generation’s burden I must do more than learn another Romance language and familiarize myself with European practices. Immersing yourself in China changes your worldview dramatically. This is the most valuable part of my China semester.
Oh, and I left with an entire suitcase full of neat Chinese swag. Really, some of the niftiest things you’ve ever seen. Good stuff.
The Experience: As for a description, words can only do so much. Living in a city with 22 million other humans can’t be easily put on paper. Imagine never being lonely and being able to find food/drink/shopping at 3 in the morning. Some days the smog is so thick you can’t see the next block, other days you can see the mountains that form the rim of the basin Beijing sits in. The supervisors tell you to not eat street food, but they’re lying. It’s delicious. There is some sort of black magic involved in making it so delicious, I believe.
Taxi drivers are horrible to everyone equally; don’t take offense if they don’t pick you up.
Bob Reynolds, UMKC School of Law
I really enjoyed the Beida program and I feel very privileged to have met Professor Randolph. I learned so much, and as I expand my business interests in China I have found it very helpful.
James Wu, St. John’s University School of Law
The greatest socio-cultural / academic and shopping exchange I have ever been to.
Amadu Wiltshire, Charlotte School of Law
I would have to recommend UMKC’s China Summer abroad program. After deciding to go to China, I literally researched every China study abroad program offered by American universities. The main reason I chose the UMKC program was the opportunity for work experience that UMKC’s program offered. As a student in today’s economy, simply taking classes during the summer was not enough for me to feel as though I was remaining competitive with my peers. What’s more, when the UMKC staff found out about my career interests, they used their unique connections to place me in a firm tailored to my areas of professional interest. I am truly grateful for that, as work experience in China truly helps a résumé stand out in today’s job market.
Another great aspect of the UMKC program is the thorough cultural immersion. It is difficult to define how enriching living and studying in a country as different as China can be. Almost every day there were structured cultural activities, which was great as you did not have to worry about transportation or seeing all the major sights. At the same time, these were flexible in allowing you and some friends to go off and grab a Tsing Tao before heading back to campus.
Last but not least, the education was top notch. UMKC brings in speakers on different subjects who are experts in their field. Learning about different areas of the law helped give me interesting insights into Chinese culture that I would not otherwise have gleaned. Additionally, the speakers are open to speaking frankly about the areas of tension in U.S.- Sino relations. I don’t think I will ever forget the lectures given by the Communist Party members or the comments made by the Supreme Court of China judges. As I am sure you can see, I would recommend UMKC’s summer abroad in China program to anyone with an interest in living, working, and studying in China.
Christopher Grobbel, University of Florida Levin College of Law
Spending my summer in China as part of the UMKC study abroad program was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. Not only was I given an amazing chance to experience a fascinating culture, I was also given a chance to further my law career and enhance my resume. During the program I was able to learn from some of the most renowned professors in all of China and put what I learned to practical use during my externship at a prestigious international law firm.
Putting aside all of the great benefits the program has to offer in regard to educational purposes, the program also offered a lot to do outside of the classroom. Every day the program offered a different outing, such as going to the Great Wall and visiting the Forbidden City. These outings gave me a chance to see and experience things that I never thought I would get a chance to do in my lifetime. And if you are more interested in the nightlife aspects of the various summer programs that are being offered, I guarantee that China’s night life will top them all while also being very kind on your wallet.
Christopher Kline, UMKC School of Law
If I could pick one experience to be a part of again during law school it would be to go on the China trip. I can say in all honesty and sincerity that UMKC’s China Study Abroad is the single most enriching academic experience I’ve had the privilege of attending.
If you miss this trip, you’ll never have the opportunity to attend Peking University, which is not quite the equivalent of going to Harvard in the U.S. — it’s more akin to being an astronaut to the citizens in China. You’ll never have access to spar with senior Communist Party members who will be willing (for the most part) to be candid with westerners, nor will you ever have the opportunity to speak with justices from China’s Supreme Court — think about this, when was the last time you were inside the U.S. Supreme Court, let alone had the opportunity to meet/question its judges?
If you fail to take advantage of this opportunity, while you may still go to China at some point in your life — probably to see the Great Wall– you’ll have missed out on the experience of a lifetime to participate in the premier Law School study abroad program to China, UMKC’s very own, which will not only show you the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, etc., but this program will provide the background and offer you the tools to understand one of the hottest topics in international politics and law — the rise of China.
Matt Gass, UMKC School of Law
Still looking for something to do this summer? Go to China! Seriously! I went to China [in 2011], and had an amazing experience. I enjoyed learning about the civil law system, and getting cheap summer credits. The program does a great job of exposing you to the culture and day to day life of Chinese people. I enjoyed exploring Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an on my own and with my classmates. I also participated in the internship program. I worked with a women’s rights group and law firm in Beijing. I know that some rumors have been circulating that you have to have summer work experience, and that the China program doesn’t cut it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. My China trip stands out on my résumé and sets me apart from other candidates. When interviewers ask me about it, I am able to tell them about all of the positive and unique skills that learning and working in China taught me – skills such as communication, flexibility, and patience. If you have any questions about the program please contact me!
Michelle Cocayne, UMKC School of Law
Going on the study abroad trip to China was an amazing experience. First off, I received 5 hours of credit; I would have paid the same amount to take 5 credit hours at UMKC and I got to go to Beijing. We were able to study at one of the most preeminent schools in the world with highly esteemed faculty.
Beijing is an incredible city. It is the cultural center of China and it is very rich in history. There is so much to do, it’s impossible to be bored. The cultural and historical trips are great, and the bars/clubs are awesome. All the tours are organized for you and you always have plenty of support from the student assistants with things like translation, directions, or advice on what to do. You have plenty of free time to do things on your own. And it’s easy to get around by subway or taxi.
It really is a great program and a great experience. I would recommend it. It was an amazing trip!
Jason Kumar, UMKC School of Law
My experience with the China study aboard program was very rewarding and one of the best decisions I have made in my law school career. The ability to be immersed in a culture completely different than our own is a priceless experience in itself. The opportunity to learn about the law of that culture and see the differences and similarities to our own legal system is not only informative but can change the way you view the world.
The cultural activities outside of the classroom are by far the best part of the program. Seeing some of the most famous historical sites in the world is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I walked up and down the Great Wall of China and even took a toboggan down to the bottom! We also visited the Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, and the Summer Palace; these are beautiful and rich cultural sites with an amazing history. There are open weekends that allow you to travel outside of the Beijing area and see even more of China. I took one free weekend to go to Xi’an and see the Terra Cotta Warriors, which are to be considered one of the marvels of the world.
Going on an exchange program that has students from other law schools beside just UMKC allows you to make connections and friends from all over the U.S. and Canada. I keep in regular touch with many of the friends I made over the summer in China. This program is a great networking opportunity as well and fantastic experience. It will be beneficial in getting jobs the following summer and after law school. In an increasing global workplace employers look for employees who are willing to travel and are knowledgeable about other cultures. Plus, it an easy way to open up an interview; I have been asked about my experience in China at all of my interviews.
The externship is also a very beneficial part of the program allowing you to gain some real world experience working in an international law setting. I would strongly encourage anyone to go on the China study aboard program and take advantage of the great cultural opportunities as well as the educational and practical benefits of the program.
Oakley Coleman, UMKC School of Law
I would highly recommend participating in the UMKC-Peking University study abroad program. I enrolled in the course in the Summer of 2011 and the experience was valuable both as an introduction to Chinese legal systems and as an opportunity to experience a different culture. The course was great in that it touched on all aspects of the law – from Chinese Criminal Procedure to Intellectual Property Rights. And while I enjoyed my studies, I enjoyed touring the exciting city of Beijing even more! I had the opportunity to visit the city of Xi’an one weekend with a Chinese student I met. She was kind enough to act as a translator for me and a few other students as we visited the Terra Cotta Warriors and rode bikes on top of the Xi’an City Walls. I still exchange emails with her regularly as well as with most of the other students who were enrolled in the course. Some of my best law school memories occurred on my Beijing trip, including visiting the Great Wall of China, trying some delicious Peking Duck and even learning a little Mandarin to impress my friends and family with.
Jenna Bever, University of Alberta Faculty of Law
The UMKC China Study program was one of the most-influential of all my law school experiences. The program is well-organized and steeped in the modern history of China. I stayed on for an internship in Shanghai for the remainder of the summer and it was challenging and eye-opening to experience the practice of law in an entirely different culture. Years later, I have stayed in touch with several other expats I met in China.
Nicholas Lebo, Lewis & Clark Law School China Summer Law Program Participant Summer 2011
We stayed at a hotel in the “Global Village” of Peking University. The village is “westernized” for the University’s international visitors. It’s a westernized hotel and pleasant. I shared the room with one roommate and the toilets were western which is key. We had our own bathroom and internet access. No complaints really. Tea soaked hard-boiled eggs with pickled stuff and a cup of coffee was my standard breakfast for the 3 weeks.
The program has a bunch of trips incorporated into it that hits a lot of the major points. The allocated times given can be awful short though so we’d stay at the place and let the bus go without us to fully explore. My favorite visit was to Beihai Park for sure and the trip to Xi’an was an experience.
Being introduced to Chinese culture and its history was my favorite aspect of the trip. I really didn’t know much before I went on the trip. I am glad my first time to Asia was in a classroom experience where I learned about some of the history involved. It made the experience for me even if some of the material was dry.
Advice for future students: Don’t pack jeans – it’s too hot. Pack fabrics that flow. Again, it’s hot so pack lots of shorts, skirts, and sandals, but the classroom is insanely COLD. Get a suit made – I didn’t but wish I had now. It seemed like too much of a time commitment then. Get your gifts as you see them, getting back to a particular place is time consuming and can cut into other excursions. Buy pearls with Nancy. J Go to the Symphony or Opera. Plan your free weekend ASAP and bring a Chinese law student along! Make some time to study for the exam; it’s harder than everyone says it is. Be ready for some HUGE jetlag on the return. It was painful. I started my summer internship two days after returning home; I don’t recommend doing that.
Melissa Thaisz, Lewis & Clark Law School
I was a participant in the China Summer Law Program the summer after my first year of law school. I love to travel and going to Asia was definitely on my bucket list so I was very excited that my law school had this program. The unique aspect of this program is that not only is the “studying” aspect emphasized by the introduction of Chinese Law courses, but also the “social” aspect of studying abroad. I was able to see things that many only see on television. Including excursions like climbing the Great Wall, walking around Tiananmen Square, visiting the site of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the Mao Zedong mausoleum. If I had to sum up my experience in the program in one word it would be—AMAZING! I would highly recommend it to any student wanting to expand their worldview by studying abroad.
Akayla J. Jones, UMKC School of Law
I wanted to write a quick plug to all those interested in the China Summer Study Program at Peking University. This program is honestly one of the most fun, action-packed, educational opportunities I have ever taken part in. If you have never traveled in Asia now is the time to do it! The economy is dynamic, the law is developing, and the beer is cheaper than the water (also possibly cleaner). Here are a few of my own reasons for participating:
(1) Peking University is the Harvard of China; upon successful completion you receive certification in Chinese Law;
(2) International Law Experience at Top Tier Firms (we offer it) piques the interest of recruiters almost without fail;
(3) Missouri = Center of US-China Trade in future (see website below)
(4) US/MO firms are rushing into China. Anyone heard of these guys? (see website below)
(5) [Missouri] Governor Jay Nixon inked a deal in Shanghai last year for over $4 billion in direct trade, lawyers in tow;
(6) Oh yeah, China is awesome – Great Wall, Terracotta Soldiers, Pandas, Fortune Cookies, etc.
Bobby Afshar, UMKC School of Law
I would encourage all law students to study abroad during their time at UMKC. My experience in China was hands-down, my favorite memory of the past 3 years. The program allowed me to travel to a country filled with culture and truly experience the beauty and power of China. Even more, we were afforded the opportunity to surround ourselves with some of the greatest legal minds in China and were thoroughly taught the basics of Chinese law. The law firm visits gave me a valuable understanding of what it means to practice international law and re-ignited an already burning flame of working in the international realm. Going to China with UMKC was an amazing experience that I hope many other law students will have the pleasure of experiencing.
Brittany Coleman, UMKC School of Law
The China Study Abroad program was one of the best law school experiences in my three years at UMKC! I not only had a blast enjoying the daily cultural field trips, I more thoroughly understood the American common law legal system by learning about a civil law system. It also is a great addition to my résumé and conversation topic in interviews. The best aspect of it, however, was the cost: it was affordable and I got 5 credit hours in three weeks!
Sadia Aslam, UMKC School of Law
The China Summer Law Program proved to be one of the highlights of my time in law school. It is right up there in the top 5 experiences of my life. The experience exceeded my expectations and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the program.
The first half of my trip at Peking University consisted of lectures by a variety of Chinese professors and visiting the enormous amount of historic sites located in and around the city. Many of us also explored the lively nightlife close to the university. I have some great stories; I better keep them to myself though.
After the Peking University classes ended, I started my externship. It was wonderful to get some practical experience. The timing of the externship coincides with the Dragon Boat Festival. Several of us took a trip to Inner Mongolia to spend the weekend in a village shooting off fireworks and riding around on ATVs. Good times.
My job search has even benefited by the trip to China. On every interview, once the interviewer sees the externship, I always end up in a long discussion about the trip. It breaks the ice and allows for a little looser atmosphere.
Everything isn’t perfect. There is pollution and some of the food requires an adventuresome spirit but I found the trip to China an overwhelmingly positive experience. With China becoming a powerful influence on the United States, most law students could benefit from understanding a bit about their culture and laws.
Mark Forshee, UMKC School of Law
My UMKC China Summer Law Study trip was one of the highlights of my time in law school. The academic portion of the trip was a horizon broadening experience interacting with the Chinese legal system. Even though I do not advise clients on any aspect of Chinese law as part of my practice, the experience taught me a different perspective from which to view the social and civil function of US law. The trip ultimately improved my understanding of the law that I practice every day by teaching me the basis of an entirely different legal system.
The opportunity for cultural excursions were significant, well thought out and enhanced the overall experience. They were worth taking advantage of. Additionally, the total cost for me, including all trip related expenses, was the same as taking the equivalent number of credits from Lewis and Clark. For the same price, I got a great experience in addition to the academic credit.
Troy Sexton, Lewis & Clark Law School
I attended the China Summer program the summer after my first year of law school in 2009. I was very pleased with how organized and well planned the trip was and how accommodating they were with me bringing my (non-law student) partner. For the price, it’s definitely worth the investment, and the timing was perfect as I was still able to make it back for a summer internship in DC. I would highly recommend this program for anyone interested in studying abroad in law school.
Evan Mascagni, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
The UMKC China Summer Program is going to be the same as you would expect: ADVENTUROUS, MIND-BLOWING, AND EDUCATIONAL.
I participated in this program at the end of my first year in law school, in 2009. Just as I had anticipated, the program turned out to be extremely fun, educational, and I got to earn credits towards my J.D. degree.
In addition to the fulfillment of my fascination of the long Chinese history and culture, I was provided an amazing opportunity interning in a prestige IP law firm. It was a truly EYE-OPENING and REWARDING experience. I earned a great recommendation and went back for another internship the following summer with the same boutique firm. If not for the UMKC China Summer Program, my law school experience would not be as memorable.
Jeff Chang, Wayne State University Law School
The China Study abroad program was an incredibly useful and fun experience. At a fraction of the cost of other study abroad programs, the cultural and educational value is rivaled by none. Whether it was lectures by professors high in government, museums and sightseeing, or interactions with business leaders, every day offered something new.
Jonathan Lowrey, UMKC School of Law
The UMKC China program was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I made lifelong friends during the program’s three weeks. The program itself gives you unprecedented access to the Chinese court system – a system normally closed off to foreigners. Your studies take place at the most prestigious Chinese University, Peking University. Interestingly, Chairman Mao was a librarian at that institution. Even in Chinese legal circles this program is viewed as the most prestigious. Most importantly this experience gave me a different perspective on life and the law.
Tyler A. Knott, UMKC School of Law
Attending the UMKC Beijing Summer Program was one of the most exciting and life changing experiences. Not only was I able to explore and observe the Chinese culture, but I was also able to learn Chinese Law. Peking University and its students were extremely inviting and friendly. They really helped make the experience memorable. The best part was getting the opportunity to climb the Great Wall and having McDonalds delivered to our hotel! Going to Beijing will be an experience that you will not want to miss.
Sophia Washington, UMKC School of Law
I attended the China Law Summer program through UMKC in 2007 and stayed through the summer to work as an extern in Shanghai. I made the most of the entire experience by aggressively exploring the culture on both a business and personal level during the program and externship, and by connecting with dozens of global professional along the way. We traveled extensively, learned as much as we could, partied hard, and created memories that will for certain last the duration of our lifetimes. The program is designed to have a balance that allows for extensive travel and plenty of free time, and is an excellent opportunity to learn about a very old culture that is rapidly changing. If you want to do things you would never do, say things you would never say, eat things you would never eat and learn things you never thought you would, then this program will suit you aptly. Seldom are we presented with what I refer to as “lifetime opportunities”; this is one of them.
Adam C. Maxwell, UMKC School of Law