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by Rian Chubb
The Deakin Chinese Commercial Law study tour provides an experience unparalleled in terms of immersion and access to one of the world's great and rising powers. The tour has the capacity to truly become an enriching addition to any ordinary law qualification, a talking point for interviews, an opportunity for growth and development that will leave you with memories and friends that will last a lifetime.
But amazingly the tour can be even more than that; it can be a launch pad into a whole new direction. Upon returning home, I know more than a few students who have taken up learning Mandarin and countless more who have made plans to return to China at the next available opportunity.
There is something extraordinary about Beijing! The first thing you will notice is the shift in scale. I hadn't travelled extensively prior to going to Beijing but I thought I had some sense of proportion...however Beijing helpfully instructed me otherwise. The city is massive!
There is a sense that China is paradoxically both embracing and shedding centuries of accumulated bureaucracy, while fuelling astonishing growth and that the nation's capital is at the forefront of this experiment. There is a sense that possibilities extend to the horizon, and then for several hundred kilometres after that.
Beijing buzzes with a relentless energy, there is always somewhere to go, something to do, something you're not entirely sure you should be eating but the excitement of the moment compels you to dispense with your suspicion and start chewing. Beijing is exciting!
Deakin University has developed extensive networks in China and students reap the rewards of the knowledge and experience the staff have attained over the years this tour has been offered.
There is nothing quite as satisfying as attending a Chinese law firm to learn about the practical application of intellectual property laws (clandestine raids on illegally operating factories anyone?) after having just received a lecture from an eminent IP academic about the policy behind those very laws. The experience is complete when you're sharing a post-presentation sherbet at a local nightspot with Mauritanian embassy staff.
So by now you're saying to me, "Rian, it sounds great, but I want more than an awesome elective, opportunity to network, and exhilarating environment, I want an electrifying travel experience", and I respond "Don't interrupt me, I was just getting to that".
How about zooming around the racetrack at the world famous Birds Nest stadium (yes, the one from the Olympics) on a Segway (yes, the one from Arrested Development)? This was undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating experiences on the tour!
There is plenty of free time available in which to plan your own adventures (Don't worry, even if you're short on ideas now, after a couple of weeks in Beijing you'll have plenty). There is no shortage of brilliant little outings to have either, whether it's exploring amongst hu-tongs (traditional city housing spaces), visiting 'Ocean Dragon' (the technology megastore- it's six storeys!), or scouting talent in the vibrant Beijing reggae scene (which is surprisingly spectacular).
Did you know that already you are extremely lucky? Because you have learnt about the Chinese Commercial Law study tour whilst having a spare elective, you have the audacity, initiative and intelligence to research it and you can enrol for the next study tour.
You are so lucky that the Chinese may even have a special term for you... but you will have to ask them what it is when you get there. So start practicing your chopstick technique, grab your Mandarin phrase book and sign up for the Chinese Commercial Law study tour today!