Denver Bar Association
February 2004
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Adventure in America: A Russian law student recounts her experience at DU

by Yelena R. Zaripova

It was the competition of a lifetime. An opportunity to be involved in another world! It was an opportunity to study law in the United States. But first, I had to prevail in competition with other students at my law school, Moscow State University. And it was only the very beginning.

I was fortunate enough to receive emotional and informational support from students who had previously studied in the Rotary Club International Student Exchange Program at the University of Denver College of Law. The purpose of the exchange program, which is in its fifth year, is to provide a graduate Russian law student with an opportunity to experience, first-hand, American culture and values, and become familiar with the Rule of Law and democracy in the United States.

And it happened . . . to me!

It has been an amazing experience for someone who lived in the often dusty metropolis of Moscow to come to a city in which the sun seemingly shines 365 days a year. Only after having looked at the Rocky Mountains all day long can you comprehend the value of being in a three-dimensional world. I will never forget the experience of having seen Colorado peaks, clear lakes, lush forests, and the friendliness of Americans. Not only did I enjoy sightseeing natural landscapes in colorful Colorado, but also I was honored to have the opportunity to attend one of the best private universities in the United States.

Yelena R. Zaripova and Professor Ved Nanda at a DU
reception this fall.

Denver University was great; when I arrived there I discovered that I was in the center of a first-rate intellectual community. A beautiful new law school; a creative and demanding faculty; and a motivated and hard-working student body. My mentor and counselor was none other than the much respected and celebrated, Professor Ved Nanda, Director of the International Law Department.

I am extremely grateful, not just for the wonderful Denver University campus, but more important, for a close-up view of law in a democracy, an interesting and challenging curriculum, and participation as a student in a very new and refreshing environment.

Being a practicing lawyer, as well as a graduate law student in Moscow, it was of real interest to me to study the differences between our respective systems of law, as well as other important issues. Equally valuable was the opportunity to meet specialists from my field and professional figures in business, law, government, the courts, economics and finance.

This extraordinary, and extraordinarily enlightening experience was made possible by the generosity of the DU Law School, Rotary Club of Denver, and Colorado Bar Association.

It should be noted that my stay in the United States was excellent; my living conditions not only allowed me to relax but to study productively. I had all the essential materials necessary for my education. Thanks to Rotary Club representatives Honorable David Ebel and Sidney Brooks, Chuck Turner, Anastasia Khokhryakova, and of course, Professor Nanda, my once-in-a-lifetime experience was even more than I had ever expected.

This study in the U.S. absolutely transformed me; I became another person. Yes, this adventure changed my life . . . and, it changed my life in important and positive ways!

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