Economics and Business Law in Asia: Studying Abroad in Shanghai and Hong Kong

By Lizzi Chow

Last year MLS introduced the study abroad subject Economics and Business Law in Asia. I was lucky enough to take part in the subject travelling to Shanghai and Hong Kong for a unique albeit intense cultural and academic experience. Here is a rundown of my experience and a bit of information about the subject.

What is the subject about?

The subject took place over the course of 10 days. The subject is led by Andrew Godwin, a leading Melbourne Law School academic with a wealth of experience practising in China for over 20 years and Hop Dang, a partner at Allens in Vietnam. In Shanghai we were based at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and were lucky enough to take classes from a range of guest lecturers as well as from Andrew and Hop. We also visited the Minhang District Court, Zhong Lun Law Firm and Dorsey & Whitney.

In Hong Kong, the subject was based at the beautiful Hong Kong University campus. We were again spoilt with guest lecturers (in particular Justice Reyes who sits as an international judge on the Singapore International Commercial Court) and visits to international law firms such as Skadden.

Throughout the subject we undertook a comparative study of economics and business law between different Asian jurisdictions particularly between China and Vietnam as well as looking at the relationship between China and Hong Kong.

What did you enjoy?

A definite highlight was eating my bodyweight in dumplings.

Dumplings aside I really enjoyed learning about the differences in legal practice and legal culture itself. The classes were also structured with a practical focus on deal making which was really different to what I was used to at MLS. Last year the subject was open to students of all year levels which created a diverse and insightful group. I really enjoyed getting to know my fellow students in such a short period of time and bonding over our shared experience.

 What surprised you?

I was surprised at how different the legal culture actually was and how quickly the legal market has grown in China. It was definitely a culture shock that I was not expecting. It was also interesting to see how different legal practice in Mainland China as compared to the western influenced Hong Kong.

 What else did you do?

After class groups of us would usually split up and explore the sites in Shanghai and Hong Kong. We went to the propaganda museum, explored the old streets in Shanghai, found some bargains at the fake markets and ate a lot of egg tarts.

 Applying for overseas subjects:

  1. Keep an eye out for study-abroad opportunities in the MLS newsletter and on LMS.
  2. There are various grants and scholarships available through MLS and Centrelink if applicable.
  3. If applicable you should also contact Centrelink early and submit documentation to show that you are studying abroad in order to continue receiving payments whilst abroad!


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