Category Archives: study abroad

Australia Study Abroad Reaches New Heights and Sites

While studying in Melbourne as part of the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad program, students and faculty managed to find the time to travel outside of Melbourne to see all the wonderful sights this beautiful land had to offer. Australia is almost as large, geographically, as the United States, but has only about 6.5 percent of the number of people. Program participants were able to visit many beautiful places with vast, open, unsettled spaces of all sorts in between.

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The experience was spectacular and the Aussie destinations outside of Melbourne were amazing. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Australia, here are some places we recommend you visit:

  • The Great Ocean Road, with its cliff-top views of the Southern Ocean and the giant rock formations  known as the Twelve Apostles
  • Tasmania, full of mountains, oceans, beaches, rain forest, and history
  • Phillip Island, to see the little penguins on parade
  • The Great Barrier Reef, to dive and see the under-water wonders
  • Sydney, with its stunning sea-side sophistocated charms
  • The Grampian mountains, full of rugged bush walks, gorgeous views, Koori culture and kangaroos and wallabies in the wild
  • Adelaide, a beautiful old mining city on the ocean in the heart of the Barossa Valley wine region

You also must visit all the towns along the way, such as Mount Gambier, with its Victorian architecture, and the many vineyards you can find off the highway!

oleary_kimberlyWMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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Study abroad students find that networking is not just local anymore.

In the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad program, law students spend lots of quality time with faculty. Director of the Program and WMU-Cooley Professor Kim O’Leary has come to know and appreciate program students and enjoys working with them. The students bring with them a love of travel and an inclination toward international law.

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During social visits, legal visits, informal gatherings and just in the break room around the law school, O’Leary and international faculty from the University of Waikato and Monash University exchange ideas with the students about careers, travel and life.

University staff share what it is like to live in Hamilton or Melbourne. O’Leary and her husband and daughter have hosted the students at their apartments in New Zealand and in Melbourne, providing home-cooked meals and relaxed conversation. International faculty — some recognized in world arenas — and Kiwi & Aussie lawyers have mixed with students in backyard barbeques around the pool and outings to the mountains and the beach.

Everywhere, students ask questions about the law in other cultures — what is legal practice like in NZ or Australia? What career paths are open in the international arena? Networking is not just local anymore!

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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Tales of Wearing Wigs and Visits to Courts, Parliament, Consulate and Barrister

wigs
The students and faculty of the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad are learning large by visiting as many legal venues around Melbourne as they could. So what’s the scoop on the wigs? And why do some judges wear them in Australia? What law students found out was that Judges from the Federal Circuit Court of Australia wear a plain black gown in court (without a wig) but the Judges of the Supreme Courts of the States and Territories of Australia do wear court dress similar to that worn by judges of the High Court of England and Wales, with the formality of full gowning and wigs.
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Visiting everything the law has to offer in Australia was easy. The Law Center where students take classes sits right in the heart of the legal district of Melbourne. The Supreme Court of Victoria and the Magistrate Court are also just a five-minute walk away, and the Victoria Paliament is a 5-minute tram ride.  At the Victoria County Court, Chief Judge Peter Kidd met with students to  discuss his work and the cases and issues that arise in that court. The WMU-Cooley group got to sit in on a complex sentencing hearing.20160408_144841_Richtone(HDR)

Students then got to visit Parliament. They toured the upper and lower chambers and the most beautiful law library we have ever seen.  At the U.S. Consulate General office in Melbourne, professional foreign service staff explained their careers and how the consulate works to help U.S. citizens in Melbourne, including issuing visas to people who hope to visit the United States.

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Barrister Robert Miller met with the students in his law chambers office. He explained what a barrister does and how he is engaged by solicitors to represent clients in court.  Mr. Miller then brought out his robe, jabot, and wig, and let the students try them on! Although wigs are becoming optional, barristers in robes and wigs can be seen frequenting the streets around the courts. Not only was this a fun and fascinating way to spend a day in Australia, WMU-Cooley students and faculty now have a much greater understanding of Australian courts, legal systems, and wonderful traditions – including wigs!

 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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In Aussie – Art is Everywhere!

Melbourne is a city full of art. Students and faculty who are part of the WMU-Cooley Law program down under have been treated to a profusion of the arts. Everything from a cutting-edge Ai Wei Wei/Andy Warhol exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria to street art, which is everywhere!

melburn

Walking around the lanes of Melbourne, you are surrounded by amazing street paintings! It can take hours to walk just in the center part of the city to see all of the murals, mosaics and sculptures. Aussie museums are full of Australian art – much of it painted by Koorie, or Aboriginal, peoples. The museums are full of old, traditional carvings, dot paintings, and paintings on bark; Victorian paintings that reflect the Continental styles of the day, and modern and contemporary pieces.

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The city is also full of musicians, poets, comedy and performance arts. Each of the numerous street festivals, fairs, and markets are replete with the sounds of jazz and singing. While we’ve been here, Melbourne has been host to an International Flower Show, the White Night creative arts festival, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the Moombah Festival, and the Melbourne International Comedy festival.

As some of us have traveled to other parts of Australia, we’ve seen art in Tasmania at such cutting-edge venues as MONA, a private art museum built into a cliff outside of Hobart and the Salamanca Arts district; a marvelous art museum in Adelaide, and sculptures everywhere!

The creative energy in Melbourne and elsewhere in Australia is one of the reasons Melbourne is consistently rated one of the world’s top liveable cities! WMU-Cooley students and faculty are lucky indeed to live in such a place!

 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

 

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Law students experience life in the big city of Melbourne

Law students on the WMU-Cooley Down Under study abroad program are now experiencing life in the big city of Melbourne, Australia – and loving it! Melbourne is a city of 4 million people, and you can feel the vibe on the streets, in streetcars and on trains. You can see it all around – in the markets, by the river, in the buildings, and everywhere. 

city scape

We toured the city far and wide, and up and down.

veritcal shots

The Monash law faculty building is located in the heart of the legal district of the city. The school is a block away from most of the Victoria courts.  It is common to see barristers, in black robes and white wigs, walking around.  Students visited the Victoria Parliament, seat of the state of Victoria.  Students even got to sit in the Speaker’s chair and hold the mace, where they used to open sessions of the lower house (and occasionally to remove non-conforming members).

The law students visited the upper chamber, which is decked out in red velvet and gold leaf.  They saw the most beautiful law library I have ever seen.

court images

Students also visited the Dandenong Mountains, where they hiked, fed large cockatoo parrots, and had some tea. They rode on Puffing Billy, a steam engine train, in the mountains.  They visited Healesville Sanctuary, where they saw Kookaburras, Kangaroos, and Koalas, as well as many birds and a duck-billed platypus. They visited a winery and a chocolaterie/ice creamery.

puffing billy

Students have plunged into coursework that is challenging, and are working hard. Professors John Duns, Leighton Morris, and Emmanuel Laryea are helping students understand international law related to Banking, Competition, and the Australian Legal System. Students and faculty alike are taking in their studies and all the city has to offer – from sun up to sun down. Can’t wait to see what more is in store in the big and beautiful city of Melbourne!

day and night

oleary_kimberlyWMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester. She and her Down Under study abroad students are now in Australia after spending the first part of the term taking classes in Hamilton, New Zealand.

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Joey Trowbridge: My Foreign Study Experience Blog

Joey Trowbridge

Joey Trowbridge

” Spending time in Fiji will be my first ‘real’ vacation since I started law school two years ago; shocking since I used to travel outside the U.S. twice a year before I started law school. It’s still hard for me to believe that my law school journey will be complete in December, I suppose now is an ideal time to reflect on how far I have come and prepare myself for the exciting adventures that are yet to come!” – Law school is life changing, and so is living and studying in another country. Here’s a snippet from WMU-Cooley Study Abroad student Joey Trowbridge’s Blog! Keep up with her adventures and legal studies in Australia on her Legally Abroad Blog page.

WMU-Cooley Down Under law student Joey Trowbridge

Checked into the Hilton Denarau Island Resort and was pleasantly surprised when they upgraded me to Diamond status for this stay. Oceanfront 1-bedroom condo, free breakfast and dinner, I’ll take that! Enjoyed a real Fijian breakfast; the waitstaff sang local folklore-like songs to the guests in the dining room, it was spectacular. Afterwards I relaxed by the pool, read and soaked up the sun and incredible sea breezes.

This afternoon I took a boat over to Mana Island for snorkeling, shelling and a bit more relaxation. I snorkeled around a coral reef, spent some time in the salt water pool and just relaxed. The Mana Resort was amazing as well.

The tour guide mentioned that they will be filming a movie on the island very soon. They have carpenters onsite building the sets already – the entire island will be closed to the public for six months. They were interviewing the crew for the film while I was there; I probably should have applied – I could get used to living here!

Anyway, while having lunch, a guide asked if he could join me. We chatted about how he had lived in the U.S. for a few years when he played rugby on a sports and entertainment visa. Since I am seriously considering immigration, this was all very interesting to me. I spoke about my desire to get out of the U.S. and he spoke of his desire to go back to the U.S. While I don’t have a plan right now to make my dream happen, he has a well thought out plan to make his happen. I will be praying for him as he has an appointment with the U.S. Embassy next week in order to get a visa. He has inspired me to work on my plan.

What struck me about these islands is how friendly all of the people are and they seem genuine; there are a lot of smiles and laughing; you cannot walk by another without being greeted with “Bula,” Fijian hello. I suppose waking up everyday feeling the sun on your skin and taking in this spectacular beauty would put a smile on my face too; this is a place I can see myself living long term – time to start working on my plan!

Having traveled throughout the Caribbean extensively, Fiji really is superior in every way.

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Saying Good-bye to the Land of the Long White Cloud

“We are half-way through our law school DownUnder program, and preparing to leave Aotearoa, New Zealand (Land of the Long White Cloud). We have experienced a special place in this beautiful country. This is a land filled with mountains, beaches, fern trees and birds. It is filled with friendly people who won’t hesitate to offer a helping hand or go the extra mile.” – WMU-Cooley Professor Kimberly O’Leary

Coromandel Peninsula and Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Coromandel Peninsula and Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

It is a language rich with Maori names (Kirrikirriroa, also known as Hamilton), Maori greetings (Kia ora, or hello), Maori words for plants (kauri, giant, tall trees that grow for hundreds of years) and animals (tuatara, a native NZ reptile which co-existed with dinosaurs and is still here in NZ.)

It is a land of cultural engagement, seen in the Powhiri, a traditional custom that defines important meetings by explaining a group’s ancestry and why they wish to meet, and in the Hongi, where foreheads and noses press to share the breath of life. Kiwi English offers its own delights. You can be keen to have a yarn with your mates about how bad the mozzies are while sharing some lovely lollies, biscuits, and confectionary.

You can have a glass of bubbles and a handful of nibbles before having a proper tea in the evening. You can choose whether to wear togs and jandles, track pants and trainers, or look brilliant in smart casual attire. If you get yourself sorted, you might head to the grocery and load up the trundler, making sure to buy some hokey-pokey, then take the lift to your flat.

If you’ve had a tough day, you might have a grizzle with a mate, but then realize everything is spot on, and end the day with “No worries!” Most of us are looking forward to Melbourne, but a piece of our hearts will remain in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

 

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Thunder from Down Under – Law student from Texas takes in Sydney’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks and more

“This is the stuff of bucket lists, mine anyway. Being a weekend-only student and commuting from Texas to Michigan each week following a 40+ hour a week full-time job for the last four years, I jumped at the opportunity to fulfill a life dream of traveling to Australia. New Zealand was an added bonus” – WMU-Cooley Study Abroad Program student Stephanie Samuels

Stephanie Samuels and her mom living the dream Down Under!

Stephanie Samuels and her mom living the dream Down Under!

And talk about a bonus trifecta – this trip just happened to coincide with the world famous,  much watched, New Year’s Eve fireworks of the planet’s first celebration each year in Sydney, Australia! Since the New Zealand classes started on January 4, with my mother in tow, we decided to leave the United States a few days early to arrive in Sydney just in time for New Year’s Eve. Sydney had two firework displays.

One was at 9:00 p.m. and the other was at midnight, which was the BIG one that everyone can catch on television. We were lucky enough to book a last minute harbor cruise, and from a boat in the middle of the harbor, in the shadow of Darling Harbour Bridge, live and in-person, we experienced the ushering in of 2016 amid the thunder and glare of fireworks bursting all around us. It was all that, and more.

Our visit to Sydney, Australia was amazing. The weather was perfect. The water and sky could not have been more blue and the landscapes more brilliant green.

 

Our travels to see Bridal Veil Falls in Raglan, New Zealand was equally magnificent. Viewing the Falls was an easy walk up to two viewing platforms, both with spectacular views of the plunging white falls. I owe ‘livin’ the dream’ to the WMU-Cooley Down Under Study Abroad Program.

BLOG AUTHOR
Stephanie Samuels

JD Candidate, Jan. 2017

WMU-Cooley Study Abroad Program student Stephanie Samuels

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Students Dig into Courses and Get to Know Kiwi Lawyers

In the course of several weeks, WMU-Cooley Down Under law students already completed one law course and started a new one. In their UN Rights of Indigenous People course, students completed their studies by presenting positions on the 2015 COP21 UN agreement on climate change through the lens of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Student presentation in Professor Toki's Indigenous Rights UN course

Student presentation in Professor Toki’s Indigenous Rights UN course

The students demonstrated how, after an intensive introduction to the subject by the talented Valmaine Toki, they were able to frame legally appropriate arguments regarding two important United Nations protocols. Students were introduced to new concepts in a course on International Trade Issues by Professor Alberto Alvarez-Jimenez. Students were treated to two guest speakers in their Introduction to New Zealand Law course. Terry Singh spoke about the criminal defense system and R. Bennett-King, a District Manager for Police Prosecution Services, discussed the role of prosecutors (who are by and large NOT attorneys in New Zealand). Finally, this week brought a whirlwind tour of Contract, Tort and Property law in China and New Zealand in Professor Liao’s course.

Students further explored the natural beauty of Aotearoa, New Zealand by traveling to the Pacific coast, seeing waterfalls and rain forest along the way. The white sand beaches of Tauranga and the extinct volcano of Mount Maunganui provided a day of respite and repose. Students also got to spend a beautiful day poolside with professors and classmates.

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 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is directing the law school’s foreign study program in New Zealand and Australia. She and her students will be sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

 

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Law students settle into New Zealand life, land and law classes

“It is the beginning of a new year and an academic adventure for WMU-Cooley students in our Down Under Program!” – Down Under Director Kimberly O’Leary

new_zealand

It’s been a great 2016 so far! Law students arrived at the beginning of the year, and they have settled nicely into their rooms on the campus of University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. Our first class was held on January 4, but unlike Michigan, the New Zealand landscape is full of fragrant flowers, green ferns and flourishing trees. It is in the prime of summer Down Under!

Students happily launched into their courses, such as Introduction to New Zealand Legal System with local co-director Cheryl Green, Comparative Chinese & Common Law Systems, with Professor Zhixiong “Leo” Liao, Indigenous Rights in Action with Valmaine Toki, while I teach Equity & Remedies to the law students. After just one week, our understanding of parliamentary, Chinese civil code/Communist party and indigenous systems has blossomed, just like the beautiful local flora!

We have also learned about a democracy where the Constitution isn’t written down and the importance of conventions and customs. In addition to studying and participating in classes, students have had time to explore Hamilton, including the outstanding Hamilton Gardens, the Riverwalk and the Hamilton Zoo. The students especially enjoyed feeding lemurs and a white rhinocerous at the zoo!

Over a weekend, students, faculty and family members fit in an excursion to Raglan, one of the best surfing beaches in the world and home of the famous black sand. After traveling through mountains to arrive, we viewed Bridal Veil Falls, which put on quite a show after holiday rains, and then we took a harbor cruise into the Raglan Bay, where we were served fish and chips. ­­The local co-director, Cheryl Green, has taken on a special role shepherding this American flock as we navigate through Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand – which means, “land of the long white cloud.”

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 Kimberly E. O'Leary

Kimberly E. O’Leary

WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary directs the law school’s Study Abroad program in New Zealand and Australia. She, along with her law students are sharing their experiences throughout the Hilary 2016 semester.

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