After reading a personal statement in which the applicant discussed her experiences abroad, “This applicant didn’t need to tell me she would be a self-reliant, inquisitive and broad-minded law student. Her story demonstrated all these qualities, as well as the perspective she gained on difference between . . . culture, both big and small.”
—Julie Ekkers, Assistant Director of Admissions, William Mitchell College of Law
Review the following suggestions from the Pre-Law program before beginning your study abroad research.
Study law from a different cultural perspective
Learn how legal systems vary throughout the world and how law impacts other societies; choose a program where your professors are from the host country.
Topics such as human rights, international relations, diplomacy, politics, environmental protection, social justice and public policy are just a sampling of program areas of emphasis. Consider a program that highlights your particular interests.
Study abroad as a pre-law student doesn’t have to include the study of law at all! Any experience where you develop an awareness of other cultures, yourself, writing, understanding of others, and research is great preparation for law school and beyond.
Seek cultural immersion
Look for programs that offer significant cultural integration. Deep involvement in the host culture leads to personal growth and instills the cross-cultural skills that are so important to success in the world of law.
Classroom learning is only part of the study abroad experience. Use internships, service-learning, research opportunities, and homestays to get involved in the community. This sort of educational approach can give you a much broader feeling for your host society and culture than if you experience it mostly in a conventional academic setting.
Take risks and explore new things, but be realistic; not all students are ready for the same amount of cultural immersion. Many law schools offer study abroad, so consider this opportunity as a potential stepping stone to another great experience later.
Many countries have educational systems very different from ours. By taking courses in a host-country institution you can learn about these differences first-hand.
Liberal Education requirements
Advance planning can help you apply study abroad credits to many of the University’s Liberal Education requirements. Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad so that you can work on other requirements here.
Consult the Learning Abroad Center’s U Credit Abroad Search to find courses that have been approved for Liberal Education.
Work on your major or minor requirements
Nearly all majors have advising pages parallel to this one. Consult yours early in the process.
The earlier you begin your planning, the easier it will be to coordinate your on-campus major coursework with your study abroad coursework.
If you are at the beginning or intermediate level, consider a Language Intensive Program where you can study a language and be surrounded by it.
If you already have reasonably advanced language skills, consider a program taught in the language. Any ability in a second language may be an advantage when working with clients in the future.
See your academic adviser and plan your language study carefully, so that you do not find yourself out of sequence on your return to the University of Minnesota.
Be deliberate about your law school application timeline
Applications should be submitted almost a year in advance of starting law school. Plan your study abroad accordingly! Know that many law students take 1+ years between undergrad and beginning law school, and there is no preference for beginning law school immediately after undergrad. Many law schools view this time positively. Plan your study abroad accordingly!
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is only offered six times per year. Taking the test in June or the fall (or earlier depending on your study abroad plans) of the year you apply is encouraged.
The LSAT is offered overseas on a limited basis, so if necessary you may be able to take it during your study abroad experience. For further information see the Law School Admission Council website.
Be realistic about how much time you will need to study for the LSAT and prepare your applications. While it is possible to study for the LSAT while abroad, know your own limitations and plan accordingly.
The program examines how social and environmental factors impact and shape political and ecological aspects of identity and culture and how New Zealand populations are envisioning and developing a shared future in Aotearoa New Zealand
Potential internship opportunities (not an exhaustive list) in the fields of wildlife and habitat conservation, climate change, food, environmental law, sustainability, transportation advocacy, community-based television, water quality, Permaculture and Transition Towns initiatives, local democracy, youth development, and urban agriculture
While in Auckland students are in Homestays; Language of Instruction is English
Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic Year
Based in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Study international development in Thailand, a hub for manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism. Explore the complexities created by issues such as environment, globalization, public health, and social justice
Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic Year, Summer
Offered for the past two decades by the University of Minnesota, the Toledo program affords an opportunity to study in Spain’s former capital surrounded by some of Europe’s best-preserved medieval and Renaissance architecture
Strong social science and humanities curriculum includes courses on Latin America as well as Spain
Internship opportunities include Castilla La Mancha regional parliament
service-learning course offered on the immigrant experience in Spain
This study abroad center features a wide variety of courses on Britain and Europe. For many pre-law students, however, the central attraction is likely to be the internship component
Sample courses from a wide range of offerings: Understanding Britain; Western /European Government & Politics; Criminal London—Aspect of Crime & Criminal Justice in Britain; International Trade; and Ethical Issues in the British Media
Extraordinary range of internship opportunities could include law offices, local or national government, advocacy organizations, and many others
Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the United Kingdom, and consistently ranks as one of the UK's most highly-rated schools
The university is host to more than 20,000 students from over 100 countries and offers an exceptional breadth of academic choice across the physical and life sciences, social sciences and the humanities