2017 #RoosAbroad Photo Contest Finalists

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photographs UMKC students brought back from studying abroad during the 2016-2017 academic year speaks volumes about their life-changing experiences. First and second place finalists were selected by a panel of judges in each of the four categories; Landscapes, Portraits, Cross-Cultural Moments, and Roo Pride. First place finalists won a $75 Amazon gift card and second place finalists won a $25 Amazon gift card. See the full contest guidelines for details.

Browse all photo contest submissions on the 2017 Roos Abroad Photo Contest Pinterest board. Thanks to everyone who participated!



First Place: Erica Prado

This photograph was taken at Eilean Donan Castle in the Scottish Highlands. My study abroad group and I, stopped here during our road trip throughout Scotland during our last week in the country. The medieval castle founded in the thirteenth century, is considered one of Scotland’s most cherished historical sites. Its original name Eilean Donan derives from Gaelic, and means “Island of Donnan”.


Second Place: Christopher Shinn

Taken in Germany while participating in the UMKC Kempten semester exchange program




First Place: Gabrielle Rucker

Photo taken in Shanghai, China while participating in the Alliance Shanghai semester program


Second Place: Alyssa Dinberg

This photo depicts a local resident walking his dog on a cloudy day in Lisbon. I really like the juxtaposition between the traditional cobblestone sidewalks and architecture and the modern yet relaxed vibe he gives off.


Cross-Cultural Moments


First Place: Jessica Sliger

Her First Dental Appointment taken in Falmouth, Trelawny, Jamaica


Second Place: Bayley Cawthon

Taken in Paris, France while participating in the Missouri-London semester Program at the University of Roehampton


Roo Pride


First Place: Kelista McGraw

Representing UMKC on an Elephant in Jaipur, India. Painting elephants is a tradition upheld by Indians for years. Decorating the elephants with bright colors during festival seasons is one of the ways to celebrate the Hindu deity Ganesha.


Second Place: Emily McIntyre

Enjoying the view at the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Are You Serious!

I have landed, and it is 4:39pm on my 3rd day and already so much has happened. I have moved in, been to orientation, met new people, experienced four new restaurants, and made it through my first trip to Walmart. Oh but wait I’m getting ahead of myself. Nǐhǎo, 你好, Welcome to Gabrielle’s Shanghai!!  I am studying in Shanghai, China, a place with beautiful culture, history, and great landmarks for pictures not to mention all of the new foods to try.

Students at the 1st night dinner.

One of the fun and amazing things about it is I am a 5’11 foot African American female. Isn’t that exciting because I think it is. I am here for a couple of reasons one studying abroad has always been a dream of mine, two I have always wanted to go to China, three this is one of the first major steps into reaching my goal of becoming a cultural anthropologist and archaeologist, and last but not least four I am here for self-growth. That’s a lot of reasons I know right but all of which will make this trip both enjoyable and a learning experience. Now that you know why I am here let’s get back to the story I was telling. It is only 4:39pm on my 3rd day and so much has happened. I have been busy since I landed on Wednesday the 8th. Just imagine that it left on the 7th of February and flew 17 hrs to be here on the 8th. Then once I landed, I dropped off my bags and headed right back out the door to have dinner with the group. The group being about 40+ people who also

My roommate Emma and a another student named Gabriel.

are here to participate in the program. It is a great way to meet new People but also get lost in the beauty of where you are and what you are doing.  The following morning we were given breakfast, while watching the snowfall outside. From that, point on it was a harsh cold and windy day but that did not stop us from walking to Shanghai University of Economics and Finance campus (SUFE)


SUFE gate at west entrance

where we had our first day of orientation. After orientation we paired up with our Chinese roommates (shìyǒu 室友 ), unfortunately our roommate had not arrived yet so we joined a group of people have come to know and set off to get SIM cards, dinner and go to Walmart. Such a long two days unlike today. Today was

way more of a relaxed Friday and gave me the time to sit and reflect on what has happened so far but the best part was the lovely acrobat show we saw at the Ritz-Carlton tonight. One of the coolest experiences yet. Even though it might be busy now on the first four days I must say I have accomplished so much. I never expected I would be able to go to a Chinese Walmart,

Walmart in Shanghai, Yangpu district.

shop and enjoy the company and adventures I have had already.

This has been a great start to my semester long trip and I’m glad I can share it with you. Until next time I’m Gabrielle and Welcome to my Shanghai!!



Goodbye Beijing 北京再见

Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport

My time in Beijing has come to an end.  It has been an unforgettable summer and I hope this blog has helped you experience life as a law student at Peking University and a Summer Associate.  I would like to thank Natalie Gilkison and Katherine Wozniak at UMKC’s International Academic Programs for the opportunity to write on this website.  It’s been an absolute pleasure.  For my final blog post, I thought it would be a good idea to write about a few of my favorite places and last events in Beijing.  If you have any questions about the Summer Program at the law school or Beijing, please send me an email.  Or, as you would do in China, add me on WeChat (username: thekeithkelly).

Qianmen & Forbidden City
Qianmen & Forbidden City

The photo on the left is the view from Capital M, one of my favorite places in Beijing.  The final Sunday of each month Time Out Beijing hosts free film screenings that highlight China’s best films.  I attended two screenings and watched Still Life (2007) and Suzhou River (2000).  Both were great, as was the view.  The photo to the right is the moat around The Forbidden City.  This area is connected to Tiananmen Square and very popular with tourists.  The Chinese love walls and sometimes they look nice.

Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China

My co-workers and I set out one Saturday morning towards Longqing Gorge, just north of Beijing.  Unfortunately, due to heavy rain it was closed for the weekend.  We did not become aware of this until already on a public bus headed that direction.  Fortunately, it was also in the same direction as the Badaling portion of the Great Wall.  I hadn’t been to this area, which is the most popular with tourists.  It made an excellent second choice.  We hiked so many steps and got the photo on the right.  After, a couple of us got Traditional Chinese Medicine massages and cupping treatment.  The masseur even knew I was fond of spicy food – just from examining my legs and feet!

Sampling Baijiu at Capital Spirits
Sampling Baijiu at Capital Spirits

We convinced two co-workers to come to a Baijiu bar so we could finally try it.  Baijiu is a Chinese liquor that is very strong (often 56% alcohol by volume) but is the most popular liquor in the world.  I have heard bars in New York and Los Angeles have started to sell it.  It is wildly popular with Chinese businessmen and blue collar workers alike.  Capital Spirits specializes in baijiu and we tried many kinds.  My American co-worker (Jessica) even tried snake wine.  I am terrified and did not.

Great Leap Brewing
Great Leap Brewing

Beijing has started to embrace the craft brew trend.  We tried as many as possible this summer but I think my two favorites are Great Leap Brewing (pictured here) and 京-A.  Great Leap has three locations around Beijing and is very popular with expats and a growing number of locals.  This location (near Sanlitun) serves a beer called Honey Ma Gold, which is infused with Sichuan peppercorn.  I love it!  They also have great burgers.

Broadway Cinematheque MOMA
Broadway Cinematheque MOMA

Broadway Cinematheque MOMA is an ultramodern movie theater in Beijing.  It is located inside a modern apartment complex and surrounded by water.  There is also an underground amphitheater in the complex.  The theatre primarily shows Chinese arthouse films.  I came to see a film called Kaili Blues, which was great.

CCTV Building and Sheppard Mullin
CCTV Building and Sheppard Mullin

Two of my favorite views in Beijing: the CCTV Headquarters and my desk at Sheppard Mullin.  The view on the left is from the 80th floor of China World Offices (Building 1).  The CCTV Building is one of my favorite modern designs.  The locals don’t care for it much and have given it the nickname “underpants” (it looks like two legs…).  The photo on the right is me at my desk at Sheppard Mullin.  I spent many hours there this summer and will miss it dearly.

Farewell dinner
Farewell dinner

A few of my co-workers and I walked to this very old restaurant in the Guomao area of Beijing for dinner.  The food is very traditional Beijing style and was fantastic.  The restaurant had live birds inside (in cages) and they were not shy.  A standout was a cabbage dish that tasted like it was cooked on an open flame with wood.  Also, Mapo Tofu — always a favorite of mine!

Beijing Subway
Beijing Subway

This photo hopefully gives you an idea of how packed the subway can get.  This is a pretty normal struggle during peak travel times.  Above ground, Beijing was very hot this summer.  Below ground, even hotter.  The subway system is extremely clean, cheap, and efficient.  It can also feel like an amusement park ride with this number of passengers.

10 Differences Between China and America

China vs America
East v. West

Here are 10 major differences between China and the United States based on my experience in Beijing this summer. Though I highlight differences, there are far more similarities between the countries. People generally want the same things in life and there are many ways to achieve those results. That being said, visitors to China should be aware of these key distinctions.

  1. Population

It is difficult to fully grasp just how many people are in China. Nothing can really prepare you. China has over 160 cities with a population of over 1 million. The Unites States has 10. Beijing is a huge city, both in density and landmass. People are everywhere. All the time. This leads to insane traffic, packed sidewalks, and significant pollution. However, it also creates a palpable urban buzz similar to my experience in New York. It is exciting; never boring. People come to Beijing from all over China, bringing with them unique cultures that creates a truly world class city for the arts, food, and politics.

  1. Subway

Speaking of the population, the subway is profoundly impacted. Beijing’s subway system is very modern, highly efficient, and inexpensive. However, riding the subway anytime near rush hour is both thrilling and absurd. Throw in Beijing’s extreme summer heat and it is far from fun. Cultural differences start with the queuing up process. Each subway station requires passengers to enter through security and have bags screened in an x-ray machine. This process is unavoidable often takes a very long time. Next, riders line up jockey for position to get on the train. As the train doors open, absolute chaos ensues. People push in attempt to get off the train as others push to board the train. It’s like two rivers flowing in opposite directions, crashing into one another at the train’s doorway. Once aboard, don’t even think of lifting your arms, moving your legs, turning your head, etc. Absolutely packed. Always!

  1. Internet

Internet is widely accessible throughout Beijing. However, major differences are connection speed, reliability, and censorship. Hearkening back to the population, bandwidth issues are understandable given the number of people online. It is extremely frustrating trying to check email, let alone download a podcast or watch a video. Connection is also fairly unreliable. Some days it’s just slow or disconnects frequently. You will get used to it. On the other hand, it takes quite a long time to adjust to China’s internet censorship. Accessing social media like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram all require a good VPN. As do reputable Western news outlets like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Though certain websites are blocked in China, a VPN makes it appear as if you are in an unrestricted location (Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.). While this usually works, it makes the speed even slower. Access to information is vital for any nation. Censorship hinders productivity, business, innovation, and politics. Not being able to post a selfie on Instagram is the least of China’s concerns.

  1. Bathrooms

There are essentially two styles of toilets in China: “squat toilet” and Western style. As the name suggests, the squat toilets are basically holes in the ground and are found even in luxurious places. Hand soap and tissue paper is also somewhat uncommon. It’s a good idea to keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you.

  1. Pale Skin

Chinese people adore pale white skin. It is a sign of higher social position. There are many skin creams marketed to help people make their skin whiter. Majority of Chinese women use umbrellas and/or avoid the outdoors during the daytime. It is not uncommon to see women wearing jackets to cover skin in the summer. Beijing gets very hot. The Western idea of sun tanning is truly a foreign concept in China.

  1. Dining

It should go without saying that the food is much different in China. I happen to love it (check out my favorite restaurants). However, dining in China can be much different than other parts of the world (beyond chopsticks). First, the location of your seat matters a lot. The most important person in your group will always sit with their back facing away from the entrance. The next most important people will sit on either side of that person and so on. The person with their back to the door is often the one who will pay. When dining in larger groups, the table is almost always round and features a “Lazy Susan” that moves the dishes around the table.

Drinks (other than the occasional beer) are served warm or hot. Chinese people do not drink cold beverages; it hurts their stomach. Room temperature or hot is always preferred. Rice is also served at the very end of a meal, if at all. Rice is thought of as filler food and rarely ordered when dining at a restaurant. It is only ordered if you are still hungry after eating the main dishes.

  1. Clean Water

China does not have clean drinking water, even in “first tier” cities. As such, it requires drinking bottled or boiled water. In a country with over 1.3 billion people, this is a massive problem. Plastic bottles are horrible for the environment and the difficulty of getting clean water to those in poor, rural areas is significant.  1 Liter bottles of water can be purchased for 4 RMB or less.  Plan accordingly.

  1. Saving Face

Chinese culture values the concept of ‘saving face.’ Confrontation in public is highly discouraged. People are rarely seen arguing, yelling, and certainly not fighting. People never air out their differences in public. I once saw two scooters crash on the street. Both parties got up off the ground, looked at each other, picked up their scooter and road away. Not a single word was spoken. This would never happen in the US. As someone studying law, this is a unique challenge. People seldom sue one another or go to court. The idea of tort law is still very new and not widely used. This stands in stark contrast to America.

  1. Right of Way

In most countries, pedestrians have the right of way. Drivers wait for walkers to cross before passing through an intersection or street. Not in China. Cars are king here. When at an intersection and the light turns green, you must always check to see if cars are coming (even if their lane has a red light). Cars always have the right of way and people walking or on bikes must pay careful attention. Many of my American friends initially found it rude when cars nearly hit them while crossing a street only to later discover that they were in fact in the wrong. Pay careful attention to this difference!

  1. Dryers

Many homes will have a washing machine but none will have a dryer. In China, people hang clothes up to dry in the sunlight. Someone told me that they believe the sun helps clean the clothes. My hutong is lined with clothes hanging in the windows of apartments and our apartment has a sunroom dedicated to drying laundry on hangers. Though it takes longer and makes my clothes crunchy, I applaud the environmentally friendly method.

Beijing’s Best Restaurants

Beijing Squid
Fried Squid on Nanluoguxiang

I want to take a break from the normal law school/law firm day-to-day activities here in Beijing, China to provide you with some very valuable information.  The food!  It’s amazing and a major reason I was so excited to come to China.  I truly believe the best way to get to know a new place is to seek out the best food in that area.  In my experience, many agreements or disagreements can be settled over good food.  I have been fortunate to spend over two months in Beijing, a weekend in Shanghai, and four days in Tokyo and have found many great restaurants.  I have even contemplated writing a laowai’s guide to Beijing.  Stay tuned on that.  So, after many hours of exploration, here are some of my top places to get food in Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

Beijing Jianbing

Beijing is an excellent city for street food.  You can get nearly anything on a sidewalk or street corner.  The photo on the left is called “Ghost Street” and is about three city blocks long with restaurants open very late.  The popular item here is Sichuan crayfish from Huda Restaurant (there are many locations on this street).  People queue up for lengthy waits.  Restaurants provide those waiting outside on the sidewalk with seeds (similar to sunflower seeds) and many have televisions where everyone happily watches singing shows (like The Voice).  The photo on the right is jianbing.  This is a wildly popular breakfast item in Beijing and one of my personal favorites.  It’s like a crepe with spices and an egg (other things optional) inside.  It is amazing and I am shocked it hasn’t become more popular in America, yet.  Business opportunity, anyone?
Best Beijing RestaurantsThe Noodle Bar (far left): on the 5th floor inside the 3.3 Mall in the Sanlitun neighborhood.  This area is popular with Americans and other Western expats.  There are many luxury stores, restaurants, and bars.  Anyone visiting Beijing will end up in Sanlitun at least once.  The specialty at The Noodle Bar are hand-pulled noodles with eggplant, pictured here with an added egg.  Also included is a tofu dish with black eggs, a Sichuan beef dish (awesome), and to drink is plum juice (also awesome).  It’s an inexpensive, hidden gem in the heart of an otherwise luxurious area of Beijing.

Pang Mei Mian Zhaung (middle): located on Xiang’er Hutong (narrow alley), this Chongqing style noodle restaurant is the go-to spot for locals in the area.  The noodles are handmade and come with minced pork, Chinese greens and a starchy dry pea.  The chili oil is underneath and provides a numbing heat.  It’s very reasonably priced and a frequent stop on my way home after work.

Spice Spirit (far right): there are several branches of this Sichuan crayfish restaurant.  While studying at Peking University, some classmates and I went to the location in Haidian.  I thought I had a pretty good understanding of Chinese food prior to coming to Beijing, but had no idea how popular crayfish are.  I see them everywhere.  You wear gloves and will sweat a lot (its loaded with chili oil and Sichuan peppercorns).  We had a great meal and whether you find them at Spice Spirit or elsewhere, I highly recommend seeking out the spicy crayfish.
Zhang Mama

Featured here is my favorite restaurant in Beijing.  It’s called Zhang Mama and is located at 76 Jiaodaokou Nan Dajie.  Words are not going to do it justice.  This is truly one of the best Sichuan restaurants I’ve ever been to.  It’s always packed and buzzing with firey chilis and workers.  The best dishes are boboji (featured on the left).  It’s a cauldron of chili oil that you soak vegetables in.  It’s an appetizer that everyone must try.  However, my (hands down) favorite dish in Beijing is their huiguorou (double cooked pork).  Coincidentally, this was Chairman Mao’s favorite dish, too.  It has crispy bread underneath (similar to the crust on an American crab rangoon) and lots of chili oil.  It’s a work of art and only costs 28RMB (about $4.50).
Haidilao Hot Pot

Haidilao Hot Pot:  a very popular Sichuan hot pot option with many locations in Beijing.  I love hot pot.  This place does it very well.  Two broths (spicy and not spicy).  You can order an endless amount of things to cook in the hot pot.  The restaurant is known for outstanding hospitality, hip hop dancers who also make noodles, being open very late.  A trip to China without trying hot pot would be a major mistake.  There are many options, but Haidilao is a standout.

Shanghai xiaolongbao
Shanghai xiaolongbao at De Xin Guan

Several weeks ago I had a weekend off from class and decided to head down to Shanghai.  It’s known to be more Western-friendly than Beijing (both in terms of business and large expat community).  Unfortunately, I started a lengthy battle with food poisoning just before departing for this trip.  I didn’t get out in the city too much but I had to try xiaolongbao (soup dumplings).  This style of dumpling has a very thin exterior with soup and meat inside.  I used to get them at M Shanghai in Brooklyn often and needed to see how they compared.  In Shanghai, the most popular variety is crab.  I got to De Xin Guan too late in the afternoon and they were sold out.  I got pork and some soup (seaweed and egg).  It was about all my body could handle but well worth the trip.

Best Ramen in Tokyo
Best Ramen in Tokyo

Tokyo is a city I have wanted to visit for many years.  I got the chance a few weeks ago and took full advantage of its countless dining options.  Featured here are three different styles of ramen.

Ichiran (far left): this is a very popular ramen restaurant in the Shibuya neighborhood.  It’s a little touristy (long lines, many foreigners, etc.) but it was really good!  After waiting for nearly 45 minutes, I finally made it downstairs and ordered my ramen via the vending machine.  All ramen places I visited had this ordering method.  You put your money in, select what type of broth, noodles, toppings, etc. and it prints out a ticket.  You give the ticket to the ramen artist and they create your masterpiece.  At this restaurant, diners are seated in tiny booths with a window that opens to the kitchen.  It only opens when the workers bring you the food or if you push a silent bell.  The broth is king and this ramen was well worth the wait.

Unknown Name (center): I don’t have the name of this restaurant (it was only in Japanese).  This style is much different from the others in that it is loaded up with bean sprouts and garlic.  It features large cuts of pork (very tender).  The garlic was very strong but somehow worked out nicely with the broth.  A unique style that seemed popular with the blue collar crowd.

Afuri Ramen (far right): probably the best ramen I had during this week.  I arrived shortly after it opened and there was already several diners inside.  They were playing Action Bronson (loudly) as I walked in; I knew this place was special.  The broth here is more citrusy than other ramen restaurants.  I got spicy pork chop and soft boiled egg.  It was both spicy and citrusy!  I highly recommend checking out this area (Ebisu) and restaurant!

Lunch Meetings in Beijing

Summer Associates Happy Hour
Summer Associates Happy Hour

Checking in again from Beijing, China. To read previous posts, please click here. The past couple weeks have been pretty busy here as a Summer Associate at Sheppard Mullin. We have a lot of interesting clients and legal matters both in China and America. I have been researching quite a lot on entertainment matters (particularly China’s rapidly growing film industry) and have been lucky to meet executives in the film industry here. I will have a blog post to share on that shortly.

I had the chance to meet up with some of the students from the Peking University summer program and tour the United States Embassy here in Beijing. It is the second largest US Embassy in the world and has an amazing art collection (even a Jeff Koons). We were able to speak with a Foreign Service Officer and get information on public sector work. Thanks to Professor Lehr-Lehnardt for arranging the visit.

Another exciting event was a speech by David Shambaugh on the future of China. He has a new book out and the discussion was both timely and engaging. I also got the opportunity to attend a lunch networking event at the American Chamber of Commerce China’s office with my fellow Summer Associates. The guest speaker was Randal Phillips, former Chief CIA and director of National Intelligence. His insight on Chinese politics and the corporate environment here was exceptional. Lastly, I had the privilege of attending another AmCham lunch event with White House IP Enforcement Coordinator, Danny Marti. Intellectual Property is a pressing issue everywhere, particularly in China. Business executives from American companies were in attendance and the discussion was largely a briefing of what’s to come and addressing the challenges of enforcing IP in China.

Practical Skills Training School for Rural Women
Practical Skills Training School for Rural Women

In other news, our office had the great privilege of visiting the Changping Practical Skills Training Center for Rural Women outside of Beijing to donate a ping pong table. It was an absolute pleasure touring the school and learning about its history. The school provides female students from poor, rural areas an opportunity to learn a vocational skill, giving them a life changing shot at meaningful employment. We had a chance to meet with some students and take a few photos. It is an outstanding program that is wholly funded by donations from around the world (even Mike Tyson recently contributed). It is a program that I plan to stay involved with in some capacity and must thank Jiamu Sun in our office for putting the event together.

Touring the school
Touring the school

That’s about all for now. I have a few weeks left in Beijing and hope to make the most of each day. Please check back for more.

Summer Legal Associate in Beijing

Sheppard MullinWith former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Now that the program at Peking University has concluded, I have started working as a Summer Associates at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton’s office in Beijing. Sheppard Mullin is an American law firm with headquarters in California and offices around the globe. The Beijing office does work in a wide variety of practice areas including Corporate, Intellectual Property, Antitrust, and Entertainment.

I feel very lucky to be working alongside a team of very bright Chinese attorneys. Partners James Zimmerman and Scott Palmer are leaders in their fields and Special Counsel Becky Koblitz is an expert in Antitrust law. Needless to say, it has been a great experience, thus far. Mr. Zimmerman is also the current Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce China, which has provided additional opportunities to learn from and network with business executives navigating the complexities of doing business in China.

My second week at the firm featured events with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (pictured above) and a reception for the Shanghai International Film Festival with Robb Klein who heads up the firm’s entertainment practice. Both were insightful discussions touching on legal issues that I care deeply about.

I am also fortunate to work alongside other talented Summer Associates from the United States. I wanted to give you a chance to learn a little about each of us.

Beijing, ChinaCelebrating the 4th of July with AmCham China in Beijing

Betsy Tao
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Rising 3L JD/MBA
Legal Interest Area: Intellectual Property and Technology

Why did you come to China: My law school sponsors a global summer internship program to send IU students into summer positions around the world. I applied to the China placement because I was interested in working for a US-based firm on international intellectual property issues.

What has surprised you most about China: Beijing is a just a very large Chinese city. As one of the largest cities in the world, I expected to find a more global atmosphere, specifically in terms of food, language, and daily interactions. There are Western influences like American fashion brands and modern office buildings, but Beijing remains deeply true to its own culture, history, and traditions, even as it grows as a global center of commerce.

Would you recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student? YES! Any chance you have to live and work outside your home base will broaden your experiences and perspective. China is an interesting legal market, and many firms here work for international and/or global clients. Intellectual property is an especially interesting practice area in China because of the cultural and political differences from the United States on the concept and enforcement of intellectual property. Having the ability to research global issues, communicate with colleagues and clients from other cultures, and navigate a foreign legal market and foreign city are all skills that will make you a better lawyer. And—it’s an adventure!

Advice on working in China: Practice Mandarin! Your office may or may not use English, and you will not be able to speak English in most restaurants, stores, or taxis. Try to learn at least a few basic phrases. Do your research about the practice area in which you will be working before you leave; know what resources you will and will not be able to access on the Chinese internet. Be open-minded – try new experiences and new foods; travel around the city and the country, if possible; embrace the difference in the local culture; and look at your experience as a grand adventure (it is!).

Xiao Ma (肖)
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
Rising 3L
Legal Interest Area: Dispute Resolution

Why did you come to China?
To get an experience of working in an Am100 law firm.

What has surprised you most about China?
The fast-growing Chinese legal market.

Would you recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student?
For those who may have an interest in practicing International law, the knowledge of China, especially Beijing, would be a great fortunate for your career.  There are some things you just cannot learn from a book or others, you need to see and feel by yourself.  For those who just want to practice domestic transactional work, a summer in Beijing would also be very helpful.  Sino-American business will take a big portion of the American legal market in future, some basic understanding of Chinese business and Chinese law can be help you stand out during the recruiting season.

Ryan Chan
University of San Francisco School of Law
Rising 2L

I came to China because in college I’ve always wanted to study abroad either in Beijing, China, or Hong Kong. Moreover, since I am Chinese, I have always wanted to learn more about my own culture/history. I also feel most comfortable here.

What surprised me most about China would be the pollution and language barrier. As I have heard before arriving, China’s pollution is terrible but it is another thing to see it in person. The pollution looks worse than the fog in Daly City, CA. Coming to China, I thought I could easily communicate with other Chinese people. However, Cantonese is very different from Beijing’s Mandarin.

I would recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student only if the firm is an American law firm. I can’t imagine working in a Chinese law firm if everyone there speaks Mandarin.

Maria Crespo
University of San Francisco School of Law
LLM IP, Mexico
Legal Interest Area: International Transactions, International Intellectual Property

Why did you come to China: Sheppard and Mullin offered a unique opportunity to expand my international transactions background and knowledge in Intellectual Property (Trademark) law with Chinese legal exposure.

What has surprised you most about China: The culture is amazing, cuisine, music, architecture, to mention some.

Would you recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student?  I strongly recommend a summer associate experience in China, and strongly recommend Sheppard and Mullin as a supportive and educational experience. My experience at Sheppard and Mullin is had been great, it is a pleasure to have such a smart team. I learned the Chinese legal process in trademarks, and how to understand the Chinese cases. Sheppard and Mullin’s employees were very helpful for me to accomplish this goal.

Olivia Sullivan
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Rising 2L
Legal Interest Area:  International law- commercial litigation

Why did you come to China: I came to China because I took an introduction to Chinese law course at Loyola and was intrigued by both their legal system and culture. I’ve always been interested in international law and China is the place where many companies are taking their business so it seemed like the best place to get experience. China is also a great place to experience new culture and really good food.

What has surprised you most about China: We were told over and over again in our Chinese law course that the laws in China were vague and overbroad, it isn’t until you start reading and interpreting the Chinese laws for clients that you really realize how vague they really are. It makes practicing law here a lot more complex. I’m also surprised how many weird bathrooms there are and how delicious lizard wine is.

Would you recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student? I would recommend a summer associate position in China 10 times out of 10. The work is engaging and very different from anything you will get to do in the US. Very few other summer associate positions will offer you challenging legal work while also immersing you in a whole new culture. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have something really interesting to talk about during an interview!

Jessica Peterson
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Rising 2L
Legal Interest Area: antitrust, corporate, international

Why did you come to China: I studied Chinese language at Michigan, and since studying abroad in China in college, I’ve wanted to work for a global law firm in a different country. When I got the opportunity to work at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, LLP in Beijing, China, I immediately took it, as it allowed me to do exactly what I’ve wanted to do. This job has not let me down! Working and living in Beijing, meeting expats, attending AmCham China events and hanging out with my co-workers has been so fun and such a great experience!

What has surprised you most about China: How crunchy the scorpions at Wangfujing Snack Street were. But on a more serious note, I was surprised by how accepting the Chinese people are of foreigners. Any time I’ve talked with a Chinese person, in English or in broken Chinese, they’ve always been very kind, willing to help. Another thing I was surprised about was how I’ve never felt unsafe in Beijing, even walking around at night. My apartment is pretty far outside of the city center (between the 5th and 6th rings), and no one speaks any English where I live, but I’ve never felt as though I were in any danger, and most people want me to help them learn English and they’ll help me with a few words in Chinese.

Would you recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student? YES! Absolutely! We not only do very interesting work, but we are treated like attorneys rather than associates. I have been given work that is given to the client. It is satisfying knowing that I’m doing something that could have an impact. Additionally, working in an American firm in China is such a unique experience, as we are both using what we’ve learned about US law, and learning different areas of Chinese law. It is very interesting to compare and contrast the two legal systems and analyze them side by side.

Keith Kelly
University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law
Rising 2L
Legal Interest Area: Intellectual Property, Entertainment

Why did you come to China: I am intrigued by China and its evolving legal system. I took the opportunity to study comparative law at Peking University this summer and was fortunate to secure a position as a Summer Associate at Sheppard Mullin. There may not be a more exciting place in the world for entertainment law than China right now. Their film industry is set to surpass Hollywood by 2017 while facing unprecedented levels of IP issues. Also, the food.

What has surprised you most about China: The amount of people in Beijing. They are everywhere. I have lived in New York City for most of my adult life and am generally accustomed to big cities. Beijing is on a completely different level. Subway rides during my morning commute are both exciting and absurd. Also, the people here are extremely nice. All 1.3 billion of them!

Would you recommend a summer associate position in China to an American law student? Yes, without a doubt. Regardless of what kind of law you plan to practice, you will deal with China at some point. It is an extremely fast growing economy that is vastly different from the United States politically and legally. I can’t imagine a better place to learn from some of the best attorneys in the world while also being immersed in a wholly foreign culture. If you want to be challenged and truly learn, China is the place you need to be.

Chinese Law Clerks

Jianzhong Huang
Hometown: Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
Law School of Tsinghua
Recently graduated with Master’s Degree.

Why did you decide to become an attorney: When I was considering what major to choose after I graduated from high school, someone (I can’t remember who he is) told me that being a lawyer will bring me endless money.

What do you like most about law in China: we don’t need to follow precedent cases.

What do you like most about US law: It is practical.

What is it like working at an American law firm in Beijing: Respected

Zhihua Zhou
Hometown: Henan Province
China University of Political Science and Law
Year In School: From 2014 to 2017

Why did you decide to become an attorney: I think it’s exciting to see different cases everyday, and you can give a resolution from the legal perspective.

What do you like most about law in China: It’s changing fast, and heading to the right direction.

What do you like most (and least) about US law: It’s precise. I think, it’s like the judge will create a formula to decide a case.

What is it like working at an American law firm in Beijing: I don’t have to worry about trying to impress my boss or colleagues all the time. I only need to do my job well.