Three questions before law school study abroad

March 6, 2013

law school graduatesExpand and enjoy your law school experience by picking the right program.

The end of the school year is just a few months away! If you’re looking to pick up some law school credits and enjoy some time away from home, consider studying abroad. It can even help you network and apply your law school skills in an exciting environment. Answer three key questions to help pick the best program for you.

Whose program will you go with? Going with your law school has some advantages. After surviving another year of law school together, you can get to know your fellow students better in a fun foreign setting. Academically, you’ll know the professors and your credits will transfer.

I wanted to go to Spain, but my law school didn’t have a program there. It did allow me to attend another school’s program and signed off on the transfer credit. While there was also an extra set of paperwork, logins, and policies, it was worth it to go to Spain.

Where do I study? You might go someplace familiar, master a language you learned in school, or lay the groundwork for a job there after graduation. Or go someplace you’ve never seen, learn a new language, and make a new adventure.  Consider how you would characterize the experience in a job interview.  Which destination offers the most opportunity to help achieve your future career goals?

I visited Madrid two years earlier and knew it would be perfect to recover from a rough first year. One of my heroes, the Filipino José Rizal, studied medicine in Madrid. Rizal’s statue is in a park on my way to my classes at Pontifical Comillas University. That example inspired me to use my Spanish that next summer. After 2L year, I worked in bilingual outreach with a legal aid nonprofit.

Where do I travel? While I saved some money by staying in the Comunidad de Madrid, I saw as much of the city and surrounding countryside as possible. Free concerts, museums, and outings happened every day and I knew how to find them and how to get there. At the Biblioteca Nacional, I got a library card. With the Cercanías commuter rails, I traveled to the summer palaces of past dynasties.

Study abroad can be a law school game-changer. It took me away from the grind of law school. It inspired me with history and heroes past. And it left me committed to learning and using my second language.