Course Course level Exam ECTS Comments Criminal Justice in China. Master Paper 4 Paper 4000 words Chinese Culture Master Presentation 4

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1 Experience Report Study Program: Law Exchange semester: Spring 2016 Academic year: Host University: China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) Country: China General information about the school CUPL is located in Beijing, the capital of China. Counting more than 21 million inhabitants it is a very big and lively city. The campus of CUPL is located in Haidian, this is a district in Beijing where a lot of universities are located. The campus is quite small and consists out of a few dorm buildings, the teaching building, library and two canteens. In the dorm buildings are some grocery shops and a gym located. CUPL counts students divided over two campuses. I stayed on the smaller campus, the graduate campus with around 150 other exchange students. Close to the campus are some typical Chinese restaurants but also a MacDonald s, KFC and Pizza hut. There is a subway station tenminute walking distance from the university. Two stops away is Wuadakou. This is a student area with bars and restaurants. A bit further from the university is Sanlitun. This is a district with lots of shopping malls and big clubs. Practical Information I received the pre-arrival information from the host university 4 months before departure. I was the first Exchange student from Tilburg University going to study at CUPL. Visa procedure and arrival Getting a visa for China can be difficult because the Chinese government is very strict. For the application of a Student visa, a Student visa application form and an Admission notice from the host university are required. After sending the Admission application form to CUPL it took about four months before I received them. Within 2 weeks I got my Student visa. The costs were 130 euros in total. In China I have applied for a new visa to be able to enter China again after travelling. Before I left to China I arranged a taxi from Beijing airport to the host university. When I arrived at the airport a taxi-driver was waiting for me with a sign with my name on it. It took around 40 minutes to get from the airport to the campus. When I arrived at the campus I went to the International Student Office for registration. They gave me my room key and explained me what was going to

2 happen that week. One of the Chinese students at CUPL became my language partner. She helped me getting important stuff like a SIM-card. Sometimes the communication was a bit hard because her English was not that good. Orientation/introduction activities I arrived on Monday, that week I was free until Friday. I had already met some other exchange students in the International student office so I spent some time with them that week. On Friday the university organised an orientation day. The dean told us about the university and what we could expect in the coming semester. After that all Exchange students had to introduce themselves. Housing The university offered us housing in the dorms on the campus. Me and almost all other exchange students chose to live here. We lived on a floor with all women exchange students. I had to share my room with another girl and the bathroom with half of the floor. The bathroom was not very clean and sometimes you had to wait for a long time to get in the shower. The housing was really cheap, around 450 RMB, which is around 70(!) euros for the whole semester. For most rooms in Beijing you pay at least 500 euros a month. So because of this and because it was fun to live with other exchange students I decided to stay in the dorm. Living costs Overall living in Beijing is cheaper than living in Tilburg. Food and drinks are pretty cheap. Especially when you go to local places. We didn t have a kitchen in the dorm but going out for food is actually cheaper than preparing food yourself. You can have a proper meal at a local place for less than two euros. In the canteen on the campus it is even cheaper. If you go to Wuadakou it will be a bit more expensive. I guess I spent around 300 euros on food every month. Going out is also very cheap because in most big clubs as a Westerner you can get on the guest list and get free drinks all night. You can transport yourself by subway and taxi. The subway is really cheap, around 50 euro cents to the other side of the city. Taxis are also very cheap compared to the Netherlands. Around 10 euros to get to the other side of the city. On transport I think I spent around 100 euros a month. For a few courses we had to buy books. But the textbooks are really cheap compared to the Netherlands, all together I paid around 30 euros. Because of the low costs of living I did a lot of sightseeing activities and went traveling for two months after the semester. I spent a month in China and Hong-Kong, after this I went to Malaysia and Thailand. This is where I probably spent the most money on. Academic Calendar

3 I arrived in Beijing on the first of March. The orientation day was planned in the first week of March. The two following weeks I could follow all law courses. After this I could choose the courses I wanted to follow during the semester. For every course that we selected we had to follow one class of 3.5 hours a week. We didn t have any mid-term break only a few long weekends (Friday until Monday) during Chinese holidays. The first two weeks of May we had our final exams. However for the most courses we also had to hand in papers. The deadlines for these papers were around the beginning of July. The International Office There was an International Student Office. People working here arranged the housing and activities for exchange students. If students had any questions they could visit the office during working hours. I was overall pretty satisfied by the information and help provided by the office. Social Activities The university organised several activities for exchange students. For the course Criminal Justice in China we went to a Legal Court in Beijing to attend a lawsuit. This was very interesting. They also organised a special Tai-chi class for exchange students to get to know one of China s cultural traditions. I participated in this class and had the chance to even participate in competitions. One competition for students in Beijing and one international competition on Hainan island (next to Vietnam). We stayed here for five days and had a really good time. During the semester me and other students planned a lot of other trips during the weekend to nice places in China. On CUPL, there is no student organization for international students. But because the group of international students was pretty small it was easy to get in touch with other students and we all kind of known each other. In the first week you got a Chinese language partner as I told before. It is like a buddy. Lots of other exchange students kept in touch with their partners but I didn t because she couldn t really speak any English. So you have to be really lucky with that. Culture and Language The first week I arrived I experienced a small culture shock. Although it was not the first time I visited Beijing because I have been on holiday in China when I was twelve years old. Beijing is a quite

4 modern city but almost no one (in restaurants or shops) is able to speak English. The first few weeks this was really hard and annoying. But after some time I got used to it and with my little Chinese I could order some food or have some simple conversations. The hygiene in China is not as good as it is in the Netherlands but I got used to it. It was also a bit surprising and funny that a lot of Chinese people wanted to take pictures with us. Chinese people really like Western people and will act very friendly and helpful. The Chinese culture is very different from the Dutch culture. In the Netherlands people are really open and direct, Chinese people are the opposite of this. For example, for Chinese students it is really uncommon to criticize the professor. In the beginning these culture differences could be a bit hard sometimes but after a few weeks I got used to it. From this experience I actually really started to appreciate the Dutch directness. CUPL offered Chinese language courses. I followed three courses a week: speaking, listening and reading. It was really hard but I managed to learn some basic Chinese which was very useful for the rest of my stay and the traveling. I wish I could follow more Chinese lessons but this was not possible because they were at the same time as my Law courses. Personal Development During my exchange semester I met a lot of new people and learned a lot about different cultures around the world. I learned a lot about myself and got more open-minded. Dealing with difficult situations really made me more prepared for the rest of my life. The most important lesson I learned about myself is that I have to respect other people and cultures and be more patient. I am sure an exchange experience will influence your future career possibilities in a very positive way. Employers will not only look at your grades but also keep other activities in mind like internships, social activities and an exchange semester. So I didn t regret going on exchange at all, in every way it was good for me. Academic Level at host university At CUPL, courses are offered in English and Chinese. I took the English courses Criminal Justice in China, Chinese Culture and Law, Private International Law, Environmental Law and Intellectual Property Law. I chose the courses focused on Chinese law because I wanted to know more about the Chinese law system. I took the other courses because they are useful for the rest of my studies. I could really recommend Chinese culture and Law because this course gives you a lot of insight in the Chinese system. All courses I followed were Master courses. For every course we followed we had to attend one class a week. The class participation is very important and counted for all courses at least as ten percent of your final grade. The teaching style was primarily theoretical as we didn t have to do many assignments in class. Most of the classes were lectures and seminars. Because we were in very small classes we could have a lot of personal contact with the professors. I would say that overall the academic level at Tilburg University is higher. This due to the higher working load because in Tilburg we have a lot more group work and case studies during the semester. In general I was happy with my academic achievements during my exchange. Exams The types of exams were written exams, papers and presentations. The written exams consisted out of multiple-choice and open questions and we had around 3.5 hours to finish them. The papers had to be 3000 to 4000 words. Other

5 When I was on exchange, the big library was still in progress. Due to this they made a smaller temporary library in the basement. There were not that many books in English. Also there were only two computers in the whole library. So you really need to be in the possession of a good laptop on which you can finish all your work. If you want to study, you can just sit in a free classroom. Description of courses Course Course level Exam ECTS Comments Criminal Justice in China Master Paper 4 Paper 4000 words Chinese Culture Master Presentation 4 and Law Private Master Written-exams 4 Mid-term International Law Environmental Law Master Presentation and paper 4 Paper 3000 words Intellectual Property Law Master Paper and written exam 4 Paper 3000 words Tips for future students: I would definitely recommend an exchange period. You meet a lot of new people, it s good for your personal development and for your future career possibilities. If you want to get out of your comfort zone I would really recommend going to China. If you want to be able to communicate with all Chinese people from the start I would recommend you to follow a Chinese language course at the Language Centre of Tilburg University to know some basics. I really liked CUPL because of the interesting activities and all the lovely people I met. If you don t care much about luxury considering it is not very modern and you have to share your room and bathroom I would recommend CUPL.

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