Once I heard about the opportunity to come to China to study for a month, I thought it sounded like a cool idea. You go to a foreign country, take a few classes, see a few sights, and meet some new people from your school. After the first week of being in Beijing, the trip has already blown away my expectations! In just a week, we have been able to see numerous historical attractions in Beijing, test our negotiation skills in the markets, and even make new friends while playing pick-up games of basketball on campus.
During the first two weeks, we are taking one course, Introduction to Chinese Law. This class is co-taught by an American lawyer, who grew up in China, and an American lawyer who has practiced in Beijing for the past 15 years. It is incredible how much real world knowledge and application we have received in a week of classes. Having the opportunity to learn from two lawyers who have experienced different sides of China is an invaluable opportunity and one that I would certainly recommend to anyone.
Moving on to more important things. China is an amazing cultural experience. I have had the opportunity to explore Europe on a couple of occasions; however, most of the time you are able to get by with speaking English. In China, you are not quite as lucky! It has been an interesting experience trying to do even the simple things, such as ordering food, and downright comical for the more complex things, like asking for directions to a market. One thing that you quickly learn is that you are an ambassador not only for Loyola, but also for the United States. There are people that like to stare at you, or even want to run up and take a picture with you (all while not speaking your language!).
In a way, you feel like a celebrity. For the Chinese who are not from Beijing, you may be their first interaction with an American and that is always an awesome encounter.
Thus far, the trip has been great. We have one week in and have three weeks to go. In the coming weeks, we will be visiting a local law firm, visiting the Supreme People’s Court (China’s Supreme Court), heading to Xi’an to tour the area, and of course taking a journey to the Great Wall. If the upcoming weeks are anything like the first, it should be a blast!
To learn more about the study abroad programs at Loyola Chicago, click here.