Andrea Herman, 2013 China Extern
November 06, 2013
“My experience in China was extraordinary. The first three weeks at Peking University were extremely worthwhile and greatly expanded my knowledge of the law. I was not only taught Chinese law, but was also able to learn about policies, practices, ethical considerations, and other cultural perspectives. The Peking University professors are brilliant, educated in China, Europe, Great Britain, and the United States in law and other topics. Their insight provided great perspective on how the law in China works on its own and as compared to that of the United States. The first three weeks also included tours around Beijing’s greatest attractions – the Great Wall, the Great Hall of the People, the Silk and Pearl Markets, among others. The other law students from the U.S. and China made my experience all the more exciting and worthwhile.
After studying at Peking University, I spent eight weeks working for an intellectual property law firm. This experience was particularly enlightening to my personal legal goals because it allowed me the opportunity to analyze Chinese law with U.S. law in mind. I learned U.S. intellectual property law through my research for the firm. I was also able to shine by editing documents for the firm, both legal and otherwise. I wanted to use my experience in China to expand my knowledge of international law with an eye toward environmental issues and sustainability. Working in China, learning about general legal issues along with environmental issues, and living in Beijing – seeing the product of environmental degradation along with the millions of people – gave me such a great perspective on the challenges that we must face in working with China. Aside from my legal assignments, I was also given the opportunity to present a topic of my choice to the firm. I chose to discuss the Defense of Marriage Act, which was overturned while I was abroad. Presenting DOMA to Chinese lawyers allowed me to share American culture and gain insight into the Chinese notion of gay marriage, or lack thereof. In just eight weeks, I connected closely with the firm’s partners and associates. I left with a knowledge of Chinese culture and law, and deep personal relationships that will last for years to come. I strongly suggest an externship and legal study in China to anyone who wants to learn about international law while experiencing such a fascinating and deep culture.”