The nice thing about Star Alliance international frequent flier tickets is that they entitle you to a stopover, which makes for a much more interesting trip than just one destination would afford. Case in point: my trip in 2004, when on a free ticket I went to Israel for a week, and then on my way home stopped off in Frankfurt, from where I took a train into the Balkans. Each leg was incredibly poignant on its own, and together made for one of the most profound fortnights of my life.
Of course, not all of my trips are that long, and this past one was for just a long weekend. Also, I wasn’t allowed a stopover because I’d routed my ticket as an open-jaw, into Berlin and out of Hamburg. However it turns out that the rules let you have up to 24 hours in one place before it counts as an official stopover, so through some creative planning I managed to get myself a bonus day in London on the way home from my law school reunion in Germany.
Readers of my old blog know that I did a semester abroad while in law school, at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Bucerius is a fairly new institution, less than a decade old, and stands as the first private law school in Germany. It’s named after Gerd Bucerius, who was himself a judge. During the Nazi era he became frustrated at being co-opted as a cog for an unjust machine, so he resigned his post and worked as a lawyer to try to defend against it. When the war ended and the British controlled Hamburg, they recognized him as not being complicit in Nazi crimes and so awarded him a printing license. With that he started the paper, Die Zeit, and the wealth he accumulated as a result was then bequeathed to a foundation, Zeit-Stiftung, which funds many worthy projects, including the Bucerius Law school.
As a law student there were some opportunity costs in doing a semester abroad, like certain classes I didn’t get to take or extra-curriculars I didn’t get to pursue at my home law school while I was away. But on balance I am sure I came out way ahead by doing it. By connecting with this other school and community I’ve been able to become connected with people and law around the world.
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