First inside Cuba

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First inside Cuba

Professor of Law Andrea Schneider brought 25 law students and faculty to Cuba for a week-long cultural immersion, making Marquette one of the first American law schools to visit Cuba since diplomatic relations reopened.

Students and professors met experts in Cuban law, politics and the economy. They also got a firsthand look at lifestyle while visiting a garage that specializes in keeping cars from the 1950s on the road and enjoying a hip-hop act who sings about Cuban life.

“People were interested in hearing our story, and we were very interested in hearing their story,” says third-year law student Molly Madonia. “I think the skills for later use can be just keep communication open. Develop empathy and listening skills no matter where you are.”

With long-standing tensions between the United States and Cuba continuing to ease, an anticipated increase in tourism and foreign investment is bound to change the island nation.

Students in Cuba.

The students were pleased to have a chance to see Cuba as it is now. “Havana, for me, looked exactly like I thought — or what I wanted it to look like,” says third-year law student Ned O’Brien. “The Riviera’s still there, the Hotel Nacional is still there. All the big places from the 1950s are still there. It’s almost like time stopped.”

Schneider has led law student groups on trips to Israel and Europe in the past. On this trip conversations between students and Cuban professionals focused on change. Schneider says people were clear in their praise of the reforms. “If we can realize that people — whether it’s across the world or across the table — are more than the very skewed and limited narrative that we have, I think that makes us better lawyers,” she says. — CJ

Law School abroad

Law students also traveled to Germany for the first summer session in international and comparative law hosted by Justus Liebig University Giessen. Associate Professor Ed Fallone helped lead a group students from the United States, Brazil, Italy, India, Russia and Georgia in comparing the constitutions of their countries.

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