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An Interview with Xiao Yu, Foreign Law Intern

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This week’s interview is with Xiao Yu, who is currently working as a foreign law intern at the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background.

Xiao Yu seated on rocks wearing a red shawl, with mountains and forests in the background.I was born in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in South Central China, which has the biggest population of minorities in China. Guangxi is known as “the ocean of folk songs,” and people come from all over the world to attend the “International Folk Song Festival” every October in my hometown, Nanning. Later I went to Xi’an Jiaotong University to obtain my LL.B.  During the four years I spent studying and living in the city of Xi’an, an ancient capital of the Tang Dynasty, I found that it became my second hometown because of its history and wonderful gourmet food.

When I came to the U.S., I first earned an LL.M. from the College of Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. I moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for an internship, and then continued my legal studies at the University of Kansas. After living in four states from the East Coast to the Midwest, I like the D.C. area the most for the weather and environment.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I work as a volunteer in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress and assist Kelly Buchanan and Laney Zhang with legal research projects. I also draft articles for the Global Legal Monitor and help to answer questions related to Chinese law from the federal government and the public.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

The Global Legal Research Directorate provides the Congress, the executive branch, the judiciary and the public with legal information related to all the countries of the world. The work here combines the elements of performing in-depth legal research and helping people grapple with real and diverse legal issues. I therefore get to not only think about many real legal problems, but also to develop my legal research and writing skills. I am immersed in comparative law topics in terms of the differences between the United States and China, so I can learn more deeply about this than in classes at school.  I am also able to experience working with the foreign law specialists who are high-level experts with global backgrounds.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

I was surprised at the huge Chinese collection of the Law Library, including four hundred titles of traditional legal materials from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) through the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).  It is a great opportunity to be able to assist Laney with choosing modern Chinese legal materials to enrich the collection of the Law Library, and to use the abundant resources to do practical legal research.

What’s something that most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I like raw food very much, such as sashimi from Japan and Yukhoe from Korea. I especially enjoy this type of food without any seasonings that may cover up the true flavor. Also, traveling is my favorite hobby, and I have taken a road trip to nearly thirty states within the U.S.

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