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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

New study abroad progam in the Hague completes first summer

Published: September 3, 2010
Section: News

Brandeis piloted an all-new study abroad option this summer in The Hague, where 18 Brandeis students joined Professor Richard Gaskins (LGLS) for the new six-week immersion program.

The program aimed to open students’ eyes to world-renowned international criminal courts and legal processes.

While in The Hague, one of the largest cities and the seat of government in the Netherlands, students lived at the University of Leiden, about 15 minutes outside the city.

They saw first-hand how courts like the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court work through classes, visits, workshops and seminars.

“We were essentially immersed in the subject of international law,” participant Rick Alterbaum ’12 said, explaining that he and his classmates took classes with Gaskins and spent two weeks at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies.

While at the Grotius Centre, the students took part in a two-week program with participants from around the world, including law students and legal professionals.

They participated in a moot court, in which they were broken into small teams and acted as International Criminal Court lawyers and argued for or against war criminals. One team from Brandeis took home first prize from the experience.

Jennifer Craig ’13 thought the experiential learning aspect was integral to the program’s success. “Nothing makes you feel like you really know what you’re talking about like going to an international court, such as the ICC, and being able to follow what is going on,” she said.

Gaskins was instrumental in the organization of the trip, from arranging for guest speakers and field visits to planning and teaching two Brandeis in The Hague courses, “The Spirit of International Law” and “Advocacy in the International Criminal Court.”

“The most successful part of the program was the students’ self-confidence with legal issues, which allowed them to explore the global impact of international law,” Gaskins said.

The Hague program was just one of four Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) pilot programs that ran durring the summer.

JBS program manager Alyssa Grinberg, who played a part in the creation of The Hague program said, “The program had a positive impact on students’ personal growth that relates to the overall university learning goals.”

“Much of the success of the program should also be attributed to the students, who were dedicated to the experience and the learning process,” she said.

The program was developed as a joint effort between the Office of Global Affairs, the Office of Study Abroad, Legal Studies and International Global Studies, and is being revised and updated for an expected reprisal in summer 2011.