Beijing Travelers Come Home
After more than a month in China, Law School students and faculty are returning to Minnesota with lifelong memories and incomparable experiences.
The 34 University of Minnesota (UMN) and other law school students who attended the Law School's Summer Study Abroad Program had a unique opportunity to study in Beijing in conjunction with the prestigious China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL).
The five-week program, May 26 to June 29, focused on comparative law and provided insights into Chinese economic, political, and legal systems. The classroom portions of the program were led by nationally known Law School, UMN, and CUPL faculty.
Law School Professor Stephen F. Befort taught Comparative Labor and Employment Law, and Professor Brett McDonnell taught Comparative Business Entities. Professor Stephen Hsu from CUPL taught Introduction to Chinese Economic Law.
Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief of Staff to the Provost Sharon Reich Paulsen taught Discovery Techniques. UMN Department of Asian Languages and Literature Lecturer Ling Wang taught beginning Chinese, and Teaching Specialist Liu Zhigang taught intermediate Chinese.
UMN Interim Associate Vice President and Dean of International Programs Meredith M. McQuaid supervises the Law School's International Programs office and partnerships with CUPL. The program is also administered by Muria J. Kruger, the Director of International and Graduate Programs for the Law School.
In addition, three "China Gophers" accompanied students to ensure that all aspects of the program went smoothly: Program Manager Walter Hutchens, International Program Coordinator and Visiting Assistant Professor Stacey Mitchell, and China Program Coordinator Yanqing (Vivian) Friedman.
Besides their world-class scholarly education, students had abundant learning experiences outside the classroom. They had the opportunity to visit the new Supreme People's Court building, learn the basic structure of the courts, and ask questions. They also visited the Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning and Design as well as the offices of the Geneva-based legal reform organization, International Bridges to Justice.
Students had front-row seats at CUPL's School of American and Comparative Law for a talk on women in law and her own experiences by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
They visited Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, where Law School LL.M. graduate Fu Wenjie (class of 2001), a senior staff member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, led them through the enormous building, including parts not normally accessible to visitors.
They hiked a section of the Great Wall that is more removed and less restored than the sections normally visited and took a bus ride to a major commercial area of Beijing, where an adventurous few tried a serving of scorpions and grasshoppers.
Students who participated in the optional weekend trip to Shanghai viewed everything from ultra-contemporary skyscrapers to such historic sites as Old Chinese City and the Jade Buddha Temple.
CUPL assists with instruction and planning of educational and cultural trips, but the summer study program, its academic content, and credit determinations are administered by the Law School. The University of Minnesota Law School is pleased to be affiliated with CUPL, which has remained at the forefront of legal education in China since its founding in 1952.