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Drake celebrates 20 years of collaboration with University of Nantes

November 17, 2014

It may be hard to believe, but Drake's relationship with the University of Nantes has been in existence for 20 years. To celebrate, guests are invited to "Celebrating 20 Years: Drake University and the University of Nantes," a reception Thursday, Nov. 20 from 4-6 p.m. in Kern Commons.

Throughout these 20 years, students have had the opportunity to gain valuable experiences (both academically and culturally) through the six-week program at the University of Nantes (two hours west of Paris.)

The program began as a connection in agricultural law. As a frequent visitor to Drake Law School, Professor Louis Lorvellec, from the University of Nantes, connected with Neil Hamilton, professor and director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center, and worked with then Dean David Walker to eventually develop the Summer in France Program.

Participants take six credits in a variety of subjects mostly relating to comparative and international law. More recently, the program has expanded to include an International Environmental Law course. A continuation from what the main Drake Law campus does so well, students in the Summer in France program also gain hands-on experience through out-of-classroom projects, conducting negotiations with French students, and are involved in a French mock trial at the Palais de Justice.

Students don’t spend their entire experience inside a classroom. Curriculum is designed to allow extended weekends and plenty of free time during the week. Students have taken advantage of the many cultural activities and sites in Nantes. During weekends students have also been able to travel around Europe, including France’s picturesque Mont Saint Michel and Normandy, among many other destinations.

As with many study abroad experiences, Drake Law’s Summer in France Program enhances a student’s experiences in ways they did not expect.

“I was able to interact and hang out with local students from Nantes University, travel each weekend, and take classes which are not available during a traditional semester.,” says Tayler Haggerty, a 3L from Dallas, Texas. “My last weekend in Europe I was able to travel to Dublin, Ireland and see Rihanna perform! I am truly thankful for being able to have just a great summer experience.”

From the very beginning, the Summer in France Program encourages students to become immersed in the world of international law. For twenty years, Drake Law students have an advantage when making professional connections and beginning their career.

“Originally from Iowa, but having been gone for several years, I was surprised by the substantial international connections that Des Moines boasts,” says Ryan Hanlon, LW’12, foreign service officer with the United States Department of State. “The summer after my first year, I took advantage of Drake Law’s fantastic ‘Summer in France’ program, which provided a meaningful overseas academic experience appropriately tailored for graduate level study abroad.”

For more information or to RSVP for the event, please contact Terri Howard (515-271-3985 or theresa.howard@drake.edu).