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Learning About NAF TA In Mexico City: Study Abroad Brings Knowledge to Life
[by Erica Winter] After a friend and fellow classmate at North Carolina Central University School of Law returned from a study abroad program in Mexico City and sang its praises, Dave Hall decided to go.

The program in Mexico City, one of eight summer abroad programs run by the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law, actually encouraged the planned start-up of a new student clinic at North Carolina Central, says Hall. Halls classmate is taking time off to go to USD Law and see how their immigration clinic is run there, with an eye towards duplicating the model in North Carolina on his return. Now that Hall has returned from his stint in the Mexico program, he plans to most denitely be involved with the new immigration clinic when it is up and running. Hall, who is going into his second year of law school in the fall, is interested in how government policy affects law, and was able to study that rst-hand in Mexico City. As he and other program participants studied courses on immigration law and NAFTA, they were living in a place where those policies and issues are affecting peoples lives and they could discuss the issues both inside and outside of the classroom. Taught in the context, the courses gave me a great introduction to how the policy works, says Hall. In Mexico City, program participants from several different law schools, and countries were placed with families for the ve weeks they were there. Hall lived with two other law students with the family of a Mexican lawyer. Hall studied Spanish in high school, and bridged any language gap at the house with the help of the lawyers wife, who spoke English, and his fellow students, who are both uent in Spanish. Out and about in

the city, he took a dictionary and a map, and was able to communicate very well, he says. Taking summer courses in a foreign country that is currently affected by those issues meant that learning didnt stop in the classroom, says Hall. The lawyer with whom he stayed had done human rights work with the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, and they talked about that experience, as well as about how NAFTA is effecting rural people and farms in the country. In the program, you can take what you learn out on the street and talk about it with people in the city, says Hall.

in Paris. With such a broad reach and high credentials, the USD Law study abroad programs may still nd their greatest impact is made on the individual, local level. Hall, who is embarking on a second career, had a graphic design and sign-making business before entering law school. He was inspired to become a lawyer through the grassroots efforts of his church to help residents of a neighboring public housing development who were going to be evicted to make way for building renovations. Since the church provided free day care for

Courses are tailored to t each country in the USD Law study abroad program. While Hall studied NAFTA in Mexico City, other program participants were taking courses on International Negotiation, East-West Trade Law, and Russian law in Moscow, says USD program coordinator Cindy King. In Florence, law students can study international comparative law in the arts and intellectual property law. In Dublin, the program focuses on human rights issues, especially those in the European Unions legal system.

the children in the development, as well as other services, being displaced would have a great impact on the developments residents. Our church is very community oriented, says Hall. Lawyers in the church did pro bono work with residents dealing with the housing authority, which inspired Hall. It motivated me, he says, and, seeking an HBCU (Historically Black College or University), he applied to North Carolina Central Law. I want to make a different kind of difference in peoples lives. Hall hopes to work with a nonprot group

Some faculty and student alumni of the program are quite well-known. Justice Antonin Scalia taught a course at the USD program in Dublin in 1998, for example. And one law student who participated went on to become the President of Ireland. The USD programs are also distinguished by their longevity, says King, with the rst program launched in 1973

on civil rights issues in his future legal career. He sees his experience in Mexico as forwarding that goal through the connections between immigration issues and civil rights work understanding international issues and applying them back at home.