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J. Matthew Szymanski Rule of Law Program for US Students

Each summer since 2016, the US-Asia Institute’s J. Matthew Szymanski Rule of Law Program has sent U.S. law students to China for a two-week program designed to expose them to the institutions and officials of the Chinese government and legal system. Our third annual “China Program” ran May 20–June 2, 2018. To see galleries from the 2018, 2017 snd 2016 programs, visit here.

Chinese Hosts

For our China Program, three top universities generally serve as hosts: Peking University School of Transnational Law (in tropical Shenzhen), Tsinghua University (in Beijing), and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (in Shanghai). Program participants stay on/near campus as a base for that region and to get an inside view of legal education in China.

2019 Program

From May 19–June 1, 2019, up to four US law students will be selected for our 4th annual China Program. For two weeks, participants will have a chance to travel to Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Beijing and/or Shanghai where they will meet with law students, law professors, lawyers, and government officials. The US Asia Institute will arrange and cover lodging, domestic travel, and some meals in China. We will also provide each participant a $1,500 stipend to help them pay for their US-China airfare and their personal expenses. Applicants must be US passport holders attending law school in the US. To apply, please send your resume (in English) and statement of interest (in Chinese) to Matthew Szymanski at by December 16th. Finalists will have a Skype interview to evaluate their Mandarin skills. See the 2019 flyer for more details about the program.

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 and photos here.

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 and photos here.

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

For all other inquiries, please contact :

Mary Sue Bissell

USAI President
E-mail : Phone: 202-544-3181