International Law Students Celebrate Diverse Cultures with Global Foods Potluck

Dozens of international law students joined faculty and staff members for a pre-Thanksgiving Day potluck to celebrate the many different cultures of LLM and foreign exchange students at UC Law SF.

Piles of French crepes and Norwegian waffles, a Japanese beef rice bowl called Gyūdon, and Indian rice pudding known as Kheer were just a few global foods dished out at a potluck celebrating the cultures of dozens of international students at UC Law San Francisco.

The Nov. 14 potluck, sponsored by the UC Law SF Office of Global Programs, invited students in the law school’s foreign exchange and LLM programs to chow down on a cornucopia of multicultural foods, including quiche Loraine, maple leaf cookies, and Danish cream cake.

Binyamin Blum is Associate Dean of Global Programs at UC Law SF.

“One of the best things about these programs is we get to share the unique aspects of different cultures,” said Associate Dean of Global Programs Binyamin Blum. “Food is something that brings us together, and it’s great to break bread with each other and share these delicious foods from around the world.”

UC Law SF welcomes foreign exchange students and scholars to study at its campus each year through its partnerships with nearly 20 universities in 13 different jurisdictions, including Argentina, China, Germany, Japan, and South Korea.

It also attracts international students who come for its esteemed LLM program, a one-year Master of Laws degree for foreign lawyers. LLM students learn about the U.S. legal system and can specialize in one of eight fields, including criminal law, intellectual property, taxation, environmental law, and health law.

This year’s annual feast included LLM and exchange students from 17 jurisdictions around the world, including Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, France, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, and Ukraine.

Alex Vogt, Siphosihle Mbuli, and Li Feng are advancing their knowledge of the law and U.S. legal systems by pursuing an LLM degree at UC Law SF.

LLM student Siphosihle Mbuli of South Africa brought Marula Cream Liqueur made with the fruit of the African marula tree. Mbuli said she was drawn to UC Law SF by its extensive roster of courses and because it lets LLM students take classes with JD students, a rarity among LLM programs.

“The course selection here was unmatched,” she said. “You can learn about artificial intelligence, maritime law, and alternative dispute resolution.”

Mbuli said she is especially interested in emerging fields of law and is excited to take a course exploring “how to regulate artificial intelligence while centering humanity.” She also plans to take Visiting Professor Jerry Lopez’s seminar on transforming legal education this spring.

Also at the potluck was LLM student Li Feng of Northern China, who prepared sauced beef, a cold-dish appetizer popular in her home country. Feng said she came to UC Law SF to learn more about the common law system and acquire knowledge that will help her pass the California Bar Exam. A passing score will not only let her practice law in the Golden State, she said, but will also help her secure positions at prestigious law firms in China. She said the LLM Program has given her a “deeper understanding of the common law system.”

International law students shared food and drinks originating from many different parts of the globe.

Bearing Bavarian potato salad, LLM student Alex Vogt of Munich cited UC Law SF’s proximity to Silicon Valley as a major draw. With plans to pursue a career in venture capital and private equity, he has taken courses on contracts, international business transactions, and venture capital and the startup.

“I like the fast-paced environment, and I’m excited to work with venture capitalists, tech company founders, and legal counsel,” he said. “It’s an interesting field that requires very specialized knowledge.”

Vogt said he likes being in the LLM program and attending gatherings like the potluck, which allow him to connect with law students from all over the world.

“You get to learn about so many different worldviews,” he said. “It’s amazing to get to know all these people and exchange on a cultural level and a professional level.”