CJ Students Discover the World of Criminal Justice

SHSU Student met with police cadets from Zhejiang Police College in China.
SHSU Students met with police cadets from Zhejiang Police College in China.

Students from Sam Houston State University spent their summer vacations learning about criminal justice in China, Germany, Austria and Italy.

The College of Criminal Justice hosted three Study Abroad Programs in the Summer of 2011, which combined an ongoing study of the history and development of criminal justice worldwide with tours of major attractions. The trips were led by faculty members with expertise in the countries visited.

"This summer's trip to China was an unforgettable experience that truly broadened my academic horizons," said student Diana Mejia. “The modern world we live in is growing more and more globally interconnected and, for this reason, I believe that it is increasingly important that we were able to participate in academic exchanges such as this. The faculty and students at Zhejiang Police College were extremely welcoming and humble, and I hope that more students will have the opportunity to learn about both the police strategies and rich culture of the East.”

Dr. Ling Ren led the trip to China, which included visits to police colleges and police stations in Hangzhou and Shanghai, as well as tours of national landmarks, such as Putuo Mountain, Lingyin Temple and the Shanghai Art Museum.

“Imagine everything you know is set aside for anything you will learn,” said Student Jia-Rong Lee. “Strategies of policing, hospitality treatment, and the food presented daily are all fresh wonderful surprises on this trip. The trip may have been only two weeks, but the experience was worth more than that time."

The trip to Italy, led by Dr. Mitchel Roth, examined the history and current criminal justice systems in Rome, Florence and Sicily, with stops at famous landmarks like the Coliseum, Vatican, and Mamertine Prison.

"We were able to experience a culture so different from our own, especially one that the media has stereotyped for so long," student Dixie Parker said. "One of the most interesting things I learned about criminal justice was that Rome actually was the first to have 'law' and basically set the pace for the rest of modern western society. Also, that the bond between firefighters and policemen dates all the way back to ancient Roman times."

Dr. Willard Oliver took students to Germany and Austria to explore criminal and procedural law, the police, courts, and correctional systems in Munich and Vienna. Among the hot spots visited were Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and the Donauinsel Island Park in the Danube River.

For Ph.D. Student Ben Atkins, the highlight of the trip was a visit to the United Nations in Vienna, where students attended presentations from the UN's Anti-Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, and Money Laundering units.

"While we did go on the normal tour of the UN along with a large group of other tourists, the presentations were actually presented privately, only to our small class, which made for an excellent question and answer session afterwards,” Atkins said. “This was especially beneficial for myself and the other Ph.D. students on the trip as we are continually searching for new avenues of research. In addition to being an excellent international experience, the UN visit introduced us to a valuable resource in Criminal Justice/Criminology. “

John Allen said he felt right at home in China, where he found himself intrigued by the centralized law enforcement structure.

"Being from a small southern town I thought I would feel really out of place in China and be really uncomfortable, but I soon found everyone to be very welcoming." Allen said. "Even though I was so far away from home, I still felt right at home."

The Study Abroad Program allows students to earn three credit hours toward their degree while immersing themselves in different cultures for two weeks. All students must have at least a 2.0 GPA and completed any prerequisite courses to participate.

For more information about Study Abroad opportunities, visit the College of Criminal Justice web site at http://www.cjcenter.org/abroad.

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