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J. Matthew Szymanski Rule of Law Program for US Students

Tim and Annie meet with ROL Alumnus David Zhou

Chinese Host

For our China Program, our US law students are hosted mainly by Peking University’s School of Transnational Law (STL) in tropical Shenzhen, adjacent to Hong Kong. See STL’s website here. STL’s four-year graduate school combines a US-style Juris Doctor degree with a Chinese Juris Master degree. Its JD courses are taught in English by mostly American and other Western professors. Its faculty also includes visiting US professors and judges, most recently US Justice Samuel Alito. See here. Our two-week program occurs in late May, while STL remains in full academic session but before many US summer legal jobs begin. Our participating US law schools include those of Yale, University of Virginia (UVA), Cornell, and George Washington (GWU). More US law schools are welcome to join.

2018 Program

From May 20–June 2, 2018, four US law students from Yale, UVA, Cornell, and GWU participated in our 3rd annual China Program. For two weeks, they observed government, legal, and classroom proceedings and met with Chinese lawyers, law professors, law students, and government officials in southern China, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. We and our partners covered program costs (including in-China travel) and provided a $2,000 stipend per student to help with their US-China airfare and/or spending money. See flyer for the 2018 program.

2017 Program

From May 21–June 3, 2017, four law students from Yale, UVA, and GWU participated in our 2nd annual China Program. The two-week program included meetings with Chinese lawyers, law professors, law students, and government officials; observation of government and legal proceedings; and travel around southern China and Hong Kong, with a side trip to Shanghai. We and our partners provided a $1,000 stipend to each student and covered all program costs (including in-China travel), but students remained responsible for their own US-China airfare. See flyer for the 2017 program.

2016 Program

In early 2016, as a complement to our longstanding DC Program for Chinese law students, we launched this China Program for US law students. From May 22–June 4, 2016, at the beginning of their summer break, two law students from UVA met with Chinese lawyers, law professors, law students, and government officials, observed government and legal proceedings, and traveled around southern China. See photos here. We and our partners covered most/all of their costs except for their US-China airfare.

US Participants

Any US law school may participate. To be eligible, students need only be US passport holders and have Mandarin fluency. Although English is the primary language of instruction at STL and is spoken fairly widely in Shenzhen, Mandarin fluency is essential for meaningful participation in this program. USAI will select students in cooperation with STL and participating US law schools.


This program is sponsored by China-United States Exchange Foundation, USAI, and USAI Senior Advisor J. Matthew Szymanski, who worked for Congress from 2001-2007, and lived and taught in China from 2007-2014. See the Founder’s Letter. Donations to USAI for this program are most welcome.

Eligibility Requirements

• Currently pursuing an American law degree

• Interest in Chinese law or US-China relations

• Strong verbal and written communication skills

• Demonstrated fluency in Mandarin

• US citizenship

Application Requirements

• Current résumé (in English)

• Cover letter (in Mandarin)

• Two references

Application materials and inquiries should be directed to Mr. Szymanski at jmszymanski@gmail.com.

For all other inquiries, please contact :

Mary Sue Bissell

USAI Vice President and Executive Director
E-mail : mary.sue.bissell@usasiainstitute.org Phone: 202-544-3181