Petra Hlaváčková - SLI Participant in 2012

“The Summer Law Institute in Beijing is not something to be described in words, it is something to be experienced.”

Anyway, I am going to give you a hint of my amazing experiences. I am a person who loves challenges, so when my university posted an offer for the Summer Law Institute 2012, I didn’t hesitate and apply for it. Before, China had never been on my top list of the countries I wanted to visit. However, the vision of studying a topic that I am very interested in, the internship offers and of course the visit of the Great Wall made me to change my mind. 

I love travelling, and I dare to say that I have visited many countries so far, but China was very different and quite intense experience. At the airport I manage to avoid very friendly taxi drivers yelling “best offer, my friend” and to find the “proper” taxi stop.

You would think that printing the address of your hostel would help the driver to understand where you want to go. Well, not in China. They have trouble to read the Latin alphabet. After a while, with help of other drivers, he murmured something and we hit the road. I finally had chance to see Beijing. And it was impressive, so full of life, colours, noises and smells. After an hour of a rather rough drive (with no seat belts!) the taxi stopped in a quite spooky street, telling me, that my hostel is there.

Even though I was persuaded, that I will never survive, I took my bright green luggage and slowly walked the street. Luckily, after few minutes I found my hostel and it was beautiful. Now, it was time to explore the city. For me, Beijing metro was a real cultural shock. Hundreds of people, yelling, spitting and fighting over the seats, angry metro lady trying to push as many people in to the wagon as possible and then me - a tall redhead girl.

After 3 days of exploring the city, and fulfilling my dream of visiting the Great Wall (go for Simatai, it is not crowded with tourists) I finally checked in the hotel with other Summer School participants. Everybody was really friendly, fun, and party and food loving. Days at university were sometimes quite long, but worth it. All the professors and speakers prepared interesting and enriching presentations. The classes were interactive, full of group projects and discussions.

I could keep going forever describing my time in Beijing. I have the most amazing memories. The Summer School didn’t enrich me only on my “professional” side, but it gave me the opportunity to visit this incredible city, to get to know totally different culture, to meet great people and just to have so much fun.

But my experience don’t end with Beijing. Thanks to Professor Farah and his internship offers, I am now working in Brussels. In May this year I applied for an internship at the Fair Trade Advocacy Office and I got accepted. Afterwards, things went really quickly and in the beginning of August I moved to Brussels. Now, I am in the middle of my internship, and I can say, that it has enriched me so much, that no school or university ever would. Sure, there are days, when the work is stressful and never-ending, days when you haven’t seen the sun for a week or days when you miss you family and friends. But then, an evening with your new friends and delicious Belgian beers, or a waffle in the middle of the Grand Place make all the worries and troubles go away.

So, if you want life changing experiences, and I don’t mean only eating scorpions in Beijing food market, you definitely should attend the Summer Law Institute in Beijing.

Petra Hlaváčková (Czech Republic) 
November 2013


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