Visiting Scholar Guo's Cultural Exchange at Creighton (March 27, 2014)

Original Article: Link
The Daily Record
March 27, 2014
By Julien R. Fielding

Chinese Law Student's Cultural Exchange is Win-Win for Creighton, China and Guo

Shaoqing Guo – who goes by Sabrina – will return to China at the beginning of April, after having spent a year as a visiting scholar at Creighton’s School of Law.

The Ph.D. candidate at Wuhan University’s Research Institute of Environmental Law in Wuhan, China, said that her experience at Creighton has had a real impact on her.
“I have changed a lot,” she said. “Creighton is very different than other universities. It’s small, so the teachers pay more attention to you. The professors are wonderful, and they are so nice. We can call them by their [first] names and ask them any kind of question. They all have an open door policy. Creighton Law School also has the best library I have ever seen. I’ve had a very good experience here. If there is an opportunity, I want to come back to the U.S.”

Dr. Maorong Jiang, associate professor of political science and international relations, and the director of Creighton University’s Asian World Center, who was instrumental in bringing Guo to Creighton commented that Guo has “made very good use of her time. She has given lectures and demonstrations. She has taught Chinese. … Visiting scholars are cultural ambassadors, and we are very grateful to them for bridging the gap between East and West. We’re trying to get her to stay longer.”

Guo was born in 1986, and grew up in a factory town (population of about 30,000) owned by Sinopec Yizheng Chemical Fibre, one of the biggest corporations in China that produces oil and gas.

 “All of the residents work for the factory,” she said. “My parents were engineers. I had an unusual childhood [in that] we were better off than most.”

She grew up close to Shanghai, and even went to high school there … for one year. “I didn’t adapt well, so I went home to my hometown,” she added. Before graduating from Yangzhou High School, she took the requisite final exams, known as “gaokao,” for university entrance. She scored very well, and when it came time to choose her major, Guo decided upon law.

“It’s a very popular major in China, because the jobs are with the government, and they are good jobs,” she said.

In addition, she said, many Chinese students have been influenced in their decision to pursue law by U.S. television programs, such as Law & Order, which make the legal profession look attractive. (Interestingly, more than half of the students in her program are female.)

Guo got accepted to Wuhan University Law School, and from there earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. “I passed the bar exam in 2009, and I became a Ph.D. candidate in environmental law in 2011,” she said. Wanting to delve deeper into environmental studies, she began looking at educational opportunities in the United States.

“The U.S. remains the best place to understand environmental issues,” Jiang said. “She wanted to come here, and we could accommodate her needs. She has been one of our best scholars.”

How Guo and Jiang met is an interesting story.

“I went to Hohai University to give a talk,” Jiang said. “One of her upper classmates was in the audience, and she knew that I was in charge of the Asian World Center. She recommended [Guo] to me.

[Some time later] I went to the Nanjing University of the Arts to host an exhibition, and [Guo] was at the hotel, waiting in the lobby for me. She wanted to know if her English was adequate. That was the first time we met, and I took advantage of [that time] to see what she wanted to do at Creighton. She came here last April, and is almost at the end of her time here.”

After Guo writes her dissertation, and completes her education, she will next be tasked with finding a job, but becoming an attorney in China, can prove challenging for a female, she said.

On the positive side, choosing to specialize in environmental law is certainly timely and fitting, as China is facing environmental calamity.

“Air pollution is a serious problem, and there is no law in China relating to the protection of the soil,” she said. “Seventy percent of the farmland is polluted, and many peasants use polluted water to farm. Many of the rivers are polluted from the factories, but if you shut down the factories, many people will lose their jobs.”
Finding a solution to China’s environmental situation isn’t going to be easy for many reasons. “China is not as democratic as America, and many of the [environmental] lawsuits are related to politics,” she added.

Right now, Guo is busy with her studies, but when she finds some free time, she enjoys playing sports – badminton and yoga – drinking tea; and reading. Her favorite book is Tess of the D’Urbervilles. She also enjoys traveling, and she recently got a chance to visit the West Coast, specifically San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Arizona.
To learn more about Creighton University’s Asian World Center, go to www.creighton.edu/ccas/asianworldcenter.