CAS '20 Cindy Luo

PGS: Multiple
GRIP: Intern in Portugal
SEAS: Service Learning in China

Programs Abroad:

  • Penn Global Seminars (PGS): SEAS China Immersion, Travel to China

  • Penn Global Seminars (PGS): Performing Arts, Travel to India

  • Penn Global Seminars (PGS): Sufis and Gods, Travel to Malaysia and Singapore
  • Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP): Legal Research in Braga Intern in Portugal

  • SEAS: Global Biomedical Service Learning Program, Travel to China

Ask me about...

  • Interning for the first time in a country where you don't speak the local language

  • Taking a course with Masters students taught by a Chinese professor

My Experience Abroad:

While I was interning abroad in Braga, Portugal this summer, I had the unique opportunity to take a LL.M. class in the European and Transglobal Business Law Department titled: “Legal Aspects of Investment in China.” The professor really emphasized comparative legal systems and frameworks; she encouraged us to engage in open dialogue and discussion about how the law works in our respective home countries whether it be Portugal or China or Brazil or the United States, etc. 

In learning about the legal aspects of investment in China, I got my first taste of business law, international taxation law, contract law, and intellectual property law, all explained through a global context. While these fields of law never explicitly appealed to me as much as human rights law, immigration law, or criminal law, I was able to see how all these different fields are interconnected and relate in one way or another to social change and progress. Taking this course in conjunction with this internship allowed me to appreciate the universality of the rule of law and what it essentially means for people living in different parts of the world. It allowed me to think about the gap between what is written and what is actually practiced. 

Currently, now back at Penn, I am taking a course called “Law and Social Change.” I am Sociology major, and I intend to go to law school after graduation. My experiences abroad in Portugal have encouraged me to explore law deeper while at Penn and to not be afraid to go after what I want. I understand that I do not have to be the smartest person in the room to contribute something valuable. I do not have to be the most outspoken to have my voice heard. And I do not have to have a law degree to help someone. I just have to be willing and open-minded and embrace the challenges, uncertainty, and failures that come along with the process. Understanding my reason for pursuing something is more important than just having the willpower to do it. 

Other Highlights:

  • Getting to live, travel and work with two other amazing Penn students. Collectively, there is a political science major, a history major, and a sociology major among us, and although we never crossed paths a Penn before this or have any mutual friends, we forged such a strong friendship and had an unforgettable time.

  • Getting to visit France (Paris), Spain (Barcelona), Morocco (Casablanca and Rabat), and of course, exploring more of Portugal (Porto, Lisbon, Aveiro, Guimaraes, Coimbra) during my free time. I never thought I would get to have such an amazing work/travel lifestyle balance. I made sure to take advantage of the affordable and accessible transportation in Europe while spending my time mindfully in each city to savor the new experiences.

  • Hiking up Bom Jesus do Monte and getting to watch the sunset in Braga, Portugal. My first time doing the hike was completely exhausting, but after doing it consistently a couple of times a week after work, it became effortless and so peaceful. I often did hike alone, and I reveled in the solitude of being outside, getting fresh air, and clearing my mind.

  • Having a professor tell me that I have the potential to succeed in law school. Hear that I have the potential to do something was so powerful and uplifting, and it made me stop and think more clearly about my goals. It helped me realize that even if things seem unattainable at present, I have to let my goals and my intentions guide me, not stifle me. I see now that I’ve dispelled so much of the uncertainty and self-doubt that I came to Penn with, and I understand that I do not have to know how things will unfold in order to get to where I want to be.

On the Penn Abroad Blog:

Love Deeply, Live Simply

On Novelty & New Beginnings

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