Immersion Program

The Law School launched the International Immersion Program (IIP) in February 2012 to provide support to students seeking substantive, immersive international experiences and to help prepare students to enter an increasingly globalized profession. An IIP trip includes preparation sessions in Chicago, lectures and other substantive academic programming in the host country, and a post-trip seminar. The IIP budget comes from both participant-raised funds and the Law School resources. All international programs are subject to change due to the security situation in host countries.

Application materials

Application deadline for the 2014-2015 IIP is 6th October 2014 and applicants may expect to learn whether they've been selected by 15th October 22014. To apply for the Program, submit the application materials (an application form for each trip, a trip specific research proposal, a fundraising proposal, a recent resume, and an unofficial law school transcript or an undergraduate transcript for 1Ls) to the International Programs Director Aican Nguyen via email to aican@uchicago.edu.

  • Cuba 14th - 25th March 2015: Application form (at the bottom of this page)
  • Japan 14th - 25th March 2015: Application form (at the bottom of this page)
  • Switzerland 14th - 25th March 2015: Application form (at the bottom of this page)

Rules 

Each student may apply for any or all of the trips offered, but may participate in no more than one IIP-funded trip during his/her time at the Law School. An IIP member is expected to participate fully in all his trip activities before, during, and after the trip.

  • Research Paper and Trip Report Requirements: Prior to the trips, each participant will choose a trip specific research topic and conduct research. Each student’s final research paper will be placed in his or her permanent academic file at the Law School and uploaded on the Library’s site Chicago Unbound. IIP participants must submit their research papers no later than 30 days after return from the trip.  Papers should be 15-20 pages double-spaced.

    In addition to the substantive research paper, each student will complete a 5-7 page trip report, which will also be due 30 days after return from the trip.

    Upon their return from the trips, the participants are expected to present their completed trip reports and research papers at a post-trip lunch seminar to share their experiences with the Law School community.

  • Fundraising Requirement: Each student of the Japan and Switzerland Trips must raise $800 and of the Cuba Trip $1000 toward the program cost. Students can raise those funds as a group or individually, but fundraising activities must be completed consistent with Law School and University policies.
  • Selection: Students participating in the trip must be selected through an open selection process under the advice and supervision of a member or members of the International Immersion Program Committee. Priority may be given to 3Ls and 2Ls. Participant selection will be based on criteria set by the Committee and may include program-specific criteria.  Participant selection criteria may include demonstrated academic interest in international law and/or the specific topics studied on the trip, diversity of all types, ability to travel as a member of a study team, and program-specific criteria.

To learn more about the International Immersion Program and the 2014-2015 IIP Trips, join the IIP Information Session in Room V from 12:15 - 1:15 pm on 30th September 2014 or contact Aican Nguyen at aican@uchicago.edu.

Previous Trips

Testimonials

  • Vietnam - December 2012:
    • Eric Alston: "Having travelled to Italy, Kenya, and England before starting the fall quarter, I could not have anticipated that I would round out the year being able to pursue my research interests and deepen my professional experience in such a beautiful country as Vietnam.  Through the planning and support of the University of Chicago Law School I was afforded a rare experience in institutional design within a one-party regime that is beginning to liberalize aspects of its political structure."
    • Kevin Zimmerman: "The Vietnam International Immersion Program was a highly rewarding experience.  It provided me with a wonderful and well guided means to expand my international awareness and education.  Additionally, the trip was well rounded in allowing students to learn about and experience both the country’s legal system and culture.  In fact, I believe that this understanding of a society’s traditional and modern cultural influences is highly important for understanding its legal framework.  The Vietnam IIP provided the opportunity for this learning experience in many ways.  I know personally, I benefited greatly from professional meetings, the experience of living in the culture, and the academic aspect of the constitutional study and the Constitutional Drafting Workshop."
  • China trip:
    • December 2012:
      • Angus Ni: "The week was very intense, densely packed, and demanding. But it was extremely educational, well-planned, and not at all unrealistic in expectations. We did a lot, saw a lot, met a lot of people, and learned a huge amount in the process."
      • Grady Chang: "It was fascinating to explore the capital city of a country with a culture that is vastly different from the United States. From struggling against the bitter wind on the snowy Great Wall to riding a modern subway and driving past the CCTV Building, I could witness over a thousand of years of history."
      • Phil Giglio: "The trip was an incredibly enriching experience, both academically and personally."
    • March 2014
      • Ben Dobbins: "It was a wonderful trip… I would like to thank the Law School, everyone who helped coordinate the trip, all our hosts, and my fellow trip participants for making it such an enjoyable experience."
      • Nicholas Teichen: "The most valuable part of the trip was getting to see the Chinese legal system firsthand. Learning about Chinese law in a classroom can’t compare to actually meeting with lawyers, judges, visiting courtrooms, and seeing Chinese law schools. Actually getting to interact with these people and places added a richness and depth to my education that I never would’ve gotten from the classroom."
      • Sarah Losh: "I had a wonderful experience on the University of Chicago International Immersion Program trip to China. We had a good variety of programs, a bit of free time to do some local touring, and very welcoming hosts at every destination…Overall, this trip was personally enriching and will certainly enhance my ability to engage in future business and legal opportunities in China or with Chinese attorneys."
  • The Netherlands - March 2014:
    • Angelique Salib: "As a whole, the trip was a great success. I enjoyed learning about all these courts beforehand and then going to visit them. Meeting other professionals in the field was also very exciting. There was a good balance between meetings and free time. In addition, there was a nice balance of different types of meetings – academic, law firm, tribunals, NGOs etc. All sessions welcomed us and provided us with everything we needed. Thank you for a wonderful experience!"
    • Brittany Ellenberg: "Observing a hearing at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was a truly surreal experience."
    • Elpitha Betoldo: "The program was extremely valuable to me, and it is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I want to thank you all again for giving me this wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my experience again and again."
    • Jasmina Vajzovic: "The International Immersion Program to The Hague, The Netherlands was an amazing experience filled with both international and Dutch based law, and both academic and practical experiences… Overall, the trip was well-planned, very informative, and a meaningful experience. I hope the Law School is able to maintain the International Immersion Program because the experience added to the law school curriculum in ways that are not offered in other mediums."
    • Mikaela Shaw: "I found myself learning much from my fellow IIP team members. In addition to international law and Dutch culture I learned about the Chinese education system, Egyptian naming traditions, and the Bosnian conflict. Together the opportunity to engage extensively with members of the Law School in a challenging environment left me intellectually satisfied and with strengthened friendships."
  • Kenya - March 2014
    • Christine Bonomo: "I had an amazing experience on the University of Chicago Law School’s International Immersion Program Trip to Nairobi, Kenya. I learned a tremendous amount about the process of constitutional reform in Kenya as well as the country’s transition to a more democratic state in recent years... I also had ample time to explore Nairobi in the evenings—sampling the city’s best cuisine and even getting to try out regional dancing. Our hosts were all welcoming and generous, and they were very eager to teach us not only about the law in Kenya, but also about Kenyan culture. Overall, I had a fulfilling experience in Kenya, and I would definitely recommend that the law school send another group of students to the country through the International Immersion Program next year."
    • John Sprangers: "Our trip was extraordinary for many reasons, including the chance to experience a totally new culture, as well as to witness some of the world's greatest wildlife…I came away believing that Kenya boasts legal minds just as impressive as those at our very own University of Chicago Law School. But I found that they might even have an advantage on us. Being a lawyer in a country that is new to multiparty democracy, and has a brand-new constitution, appears to be something of a crucible. The lawyers I met had a zealous belief that the work of lawyers was critical for the health of their democracy, and given the dangers of practicing there, they showed incredible bravery in devoting their careers to the rule of law. I returned to United States hoping that I can someday approach their dedication to lawyerly ideals."
    • Randall Zack: "The IIP trip to Kenya was one of the most intellectually challenging and interesting parts of my law school career. I would whole-heartedly recommend partaking in an IIP trip to any student who asked."
    • Patrick Faller: "For students interested in constitutional decision-making and comparative law, the International Immersion Program trip to Kenya provided an unparalleled educational experience."
    • Selina McLaren: "This was an unforgettable experience and I hope future law students are lucky enough to have this opportunity."
    • Soo Park: "The trip to Kenya, in some ways, was exhausting. The schedule was tight, and it was completely bookended with school. However, it was exponentially more rewarding than it was exhausting. There are things you can learn in a book. But an essay cannot capture the twinkle in someone’s eyes as she answers your question. And an essay cannot contain the vivacity in someone’s voice. That is what this trip gave me, though: the twinkle and the vivacity."

Research Papers: The IIP student research papers are available on the Chicago Unbound.