A Peek at the 2014 Summer Cambridge, England, Study Abroad Program—Including a Visit from Lithuanian Alumna Raulinaityte ’98

Posted: Mon, 07/21/2014 - 08:23

By Vice Dean [ret.] James Lewis

After three weeks of study at Sidney Sussex College (est. 1596) at Cambridge University, England, faculty and students are taking a break.  Renting cars, with steering wheels on the wrong side, catching trains and boarding airplanes, many of the 33 students and 5 faculty are scattering to Greece, Paris, Scotland and the corners and niches of England on the long travel weekend.  Such exploration is a wonderful part of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law’s Cambridge Study Abroad experience.  Located an hour from London by train and 30 minutes from one of London’s major airports, travel to any part of the UK or Europe is easily accessible.

The 33 students come from Cumberland School of Law and its three partner institutions (South Texas College of Law, Chapman University School of Law and Campbell University School of Law), including two Brazilian Judges who are part of the Master of Comparative Law program at Cumberland School of Law.  Faculty include Adrian Jenkala, a London Barrister who has been part of the program for 20 years, Kevin Yamamoto from South Texas, Nancy Schultz from Chapman, and Rusty Johnson from Cumberland with Professor Michael Floyd on board as the program’s director.

Week one was spent examining the English Legal System, exploring the structure and interactions of the various elements of the system which birthed our own in the U.S.  A visit to the Royal Courts of Justice in London, followed by lunch at the high table at the Middle Temple Inn of Court and reserved seating in a session of the House of Lords gave better understanding of the material under study. The week ended with an exam and ice parfaits, prepared by the college chef, to celebrate the 4th of July, or as it is affectionately known by some--Good Riddance Day!

On Monday, July 7, thousands of spectators line the quiet narrow streets of Cambridge as the Tour de France roared through town.  The race, which began in York, England, this year, had three stages in England before heading to French countryside.  The route in Cambridge went directly in front of Sidney Sussex College and classes were adjusted so everyone could watch the beginning of the race.

The second week opened the four elective courses for exploration and inquiry.  Each student had pre-selected two electives ranging from the political and legal structures of the European Union to international taxation issues to laws related to counter-terrorism and cross-cultural dispute resolution.  A distinctive of the program is that all of the courses focus on international and comparative legal issues.

As the students adjusted to the diverse topics and new professors, the American Bar Association had representatives on campus to perform the sabbatic review of the program and facilities in order to continue accreditation of the study abroad program. 

The third week provided an opportunity for Loreta Raulinaityte ’98 to visit Cambridge from Vilnius, Lithuania, to talk about her role in her country’s recent Presidency of the European Parliament, a revolving six month responsibility which sets the tone and priorities for the European Union for that period.  Previously, Raulinaityte was in Brussels at the European Parliament as the head of the entity COSAC which works with each president to assure a smooth term of office.  She supplemented Prof. Jenkala’s course on the European Union. Prof. Jenkala is of Ukrainian descent and Raulinaityte grew up in Lithuania when it was a part of the Soviet Union. As a teenager, she witnessed the declaration of the nation’s independence in 1991. Prof. Jenkala and Raulinaityte discussed the crisis in Ukraine, and the limited options available to the EU and NATO since the Ukraine is a member of neither organization. 

As students and faculty take advantage of the long weekend for travel, new experiences and insights into our global community will enhance the whole study abroad endeavor.  The Cumberland Cambridge Facebook page has insights and photos from students as they enjoy this fascinating country we call home for a few more weeks.