group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Learning Abroad for Pre-Law Students

    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

     

    Academic Planning

    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.
    • Don’t forget to work with your major adviser by using an Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form. Think carefully about how any selected study abroad program impacts your major.

    Develop or improve second language skills 

    • 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.

     

    Programs

    Africa and the Middle East

    Kenya

    MSID—International Development in Kenya

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall and Spring Semester, Academic Year
    • Grassroots internships working with local non-governmental organizations for development and social change form the core of this highly experiential program
    • Deep cultural immersion
    • Internship placements are highly individualized according to students’ backgrounds and interests
    • Sample areas: education, literacy, public health, youth work, environmental protection, women in development, human rights, and many more
    • No language requirement

    Senegal

    MSID—International Development in Senegal

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall and Spring Semester, Academic Year
    • Grassroots internships working with local non-governmental organizations for development and social change form the core of this highly experiential program
    • Deep cultural immersion
    • Internship placements are highly individualized according to students’ backgrounds and interests
    • Sample areas: education, literacy, public health, youth work, environmental protection, women in development, human rights, and many, many more
    • Instruction is in French; students must have 2 years of college-level French

    Americas

    Ecuador

    MSID—International Development in Ecuador

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall and Spring Semester, Academic Year
    • Grassroots internships working with local non-governmental organizations for development and social change form the core of this highly experiential program
    • Deep cultural immersion
    • Internship placements are highly individualized according to students’ backgrounds and interests
    • Sample areas: education, literacy, public health, youth work, environmental protection, women in development, human rights, and many, many more.
    • Instruction is in Spanish; students must have 2 years of college-level Spanish

    Asia and Oceania

    Australia

    Study & Intern in Sydney

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Summer
    • Although this program could easily have been listed instead in the section on Study Abroad Centers, its greatest attraction for many pre-law students is likely to be the internship component
    • Extraordinary range of internship opportunities could include law offices, human rights organizations, environmental advocacy groups, and many others
    • Instruction by Australian faculty
    • Classroom courses in semester programs include Contemporary Australia Government & Politics in the Pacific Rim Context

    Australian Parliamentary Internships

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic or Calendar Year
    • This program offers opportunities for in-depth internships with a member of parliament, or in some cases with a public service agency, an industry or community organization, or a lobby group
    • Based in Canberra, Australia
    • One or more classroom courses complement and support the internship

    New Zealand

    HECUA New Zealand Culture and the Environment: A Shared Future

    • 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

    University Study in New Zealand: Victoria University of Wellington

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic or Calendar Year
    • This university of over 17,000 students is located in the political capital of New Zealand.
    • Location and the country’s small size (4 million) mean students have unparalleled access to politicians and the political process.
    • Courses available in such areas as Commercial Law, Criminology, International Relations, Maori Studies, Political Science, Law, Public Policy, and Social Policy, and many others

    Japan

    Exchanges in Japan

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Spring Semester or Academic Year
    • The University’s exchange arrangements provide relatively affordable access to several Japanese Universities.
    • Hitotsubashi University (Tokyo), Nagoya University, Ritsumeikan (Kyoto) and Sophia Univerisity (Tokyo)
    • All three universities offer an intensive Japanese language option
    • Non-language courses are available in English
    • Prior Japanese language study encouraged by not required

    Thailand 

    MSID—International Development in Thailand

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • 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
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Thai required

    Europe

    Denmark

    Study Abroad in Denmark

    • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic year, Summer
    • Copenhagen-based DIS offers a broad curriculum on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe
    • Offers a wealth of law-relevant courses on such topics as human rights, criminal justice, international law, the European Union, health care, and environmental studies
    • Excellent study tours
    • Instruction is in English

    France

    Study Abroad in Montpellier

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic Year
    • One of the premier study opportunities in France, the University of Minnesota’s own program in Montpellier attracts students from throughout the US.
    • Special language and culture courses for international students plus courses from the regular curriculum of l’Université Paul Valéry
    • Rich array of disciplines available
    • For-credit internships available in many settings
    • Instruction entirely in French

    Germany

    IES European Union

    • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester
    • This interdisciplinary program is based in Freiburg, a medieval university town at the base of the Black Forest near the French and Swiss borders
    • Political science, economics, business, and international relations courses focused on contemporary European Union
    • Includes visits to major EU institutions and international organizations in other countries as well as to new EU member states in Eastern Europe
    • Internship opportunities (for students with advanced German proficiency) and a model EU
    • Instruction is in English; no prior German required

    IES Germany—Freiburg

    • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester
    • This additional interdisciplinary Freiburg-based program is ideal for students interested in environmental law
    • Host city is a hotbed of the German environmental movement
    • Modular course calendar permits full immersion in one course at a time
    • Sample courses: Ecology and Management of Forest Landscapes in Southwest Germany & the Swiss Alps; Global Environmental Change; Methods in Ecosystem Analysis
    • Post-program research assistantships available
    • Instruction is in English; no prior German required

    Ireland

    Study Abroad in Dublin

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester
    • This program offers opportunities for in-depth internships with a member of parliament, or in some cases with a public service agency, an industry or community organization, or a lobby group
    • Based in Dublin, Ireland
    • One or more classroom courses complement and support the internship

    Italy

    Bologna Consortial Studies Program

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Preferred length is Academic year, fall or spring semester also available
    • The University of Bologna is the oldest in Europe and arguably the most prestigious in Italy
    • BCSP combines UB courses with courses designed for US students
    • Pre-session strengthens language skills before UB classes begin
    • Deep integration into Italian student life
    • Instruction is entirely in Italian

    Netherlands

    IES Netherlands—Amsterdam Pre-Law Program

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester
    • This special program is based at the University of Amsterdam
    • 5-credit IES core course plus two 5-credit pre-law courses through the University of Amsterdam
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Dutch is required

    Norway

    Exchange in Oslo 

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic Year
    • Located in the country’s capital, the University of Oslo is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher education
    • A wide range of course offerings available in English; no prior Norwegian required.
    • Many courses on law topics courses (www.uio.no/studier/emner/jus/jus/in-english.xml) including some with a focus on human rights (www.uio.no/studier/emner/jus/humanrights/in-english.xml)
    • Law courses are graded S/N only so students should take others as well

    HECUA Norway
       The New Norway: Globalization, National Identity, and the Politics of Belonging;
       Divided States of Europe: Globalization & Inequalities in the New Europe.

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: The New Norway Offered fall semester, Divided States offered spring semester
    • Based in Oslo, both programs use carefully integrated field study, classroom study, and volunteer placements to explore their respective themes
    • The New Norway focus: Scandinavian grassroots citizen involvement, as well as state support of health care, education, and economic security
    • Divided States focus: Development and recent eastward expansion of the European Union and questions whether the EU is in fact globalization with a human face
    • Comparative field study in selected regions of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark (The New Norway) or Poland and other Scandinavian locations (Divided States)
    • Instruction is in English; no prior Norwegian is required.

    Spain

    Study & Intern in Toledo

    • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
    • 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
    • Instruction is in Spanish

    United Kingdom

    University Study in the UK: Queen Mary, University of London

    • Program Type: Host-University Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Academic Year
    • Large, comprehensive, exceedingly diverse campus is part of University of London system
    • Astounding ethnic diversity in the surrounding East End of London

    Scottish Parliamentary Internships

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester
    • This program offers opportunities for in-depth internships with a member of parliament, or in some cases with a public service agency, an industry or community organization, or a lobby group.
    • Based in Edinburgh, Scotland
    • One or more classroom courses complement and support the internship.

    HECUA Northern Ireland—Democracy & Social Change

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Spring Semester
    • This program examines the historical, political, economic, and religious roots of the conflict in Northern Ireland, the prospects for peace, and the progress being made
    • Participants gain powerful insights and analytical tools concerning inter-group peace and conflict.
    • Half-time, 8-credit internship complements classroom and field study
    • Instruction is in English

    Study & Intern in London

    • Program Type: Field Study
    • Program Term: Fall or Spring Semester, Summer
    • 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
    • Instruction by British faculty

    University Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

    • Program type: University Study
    • Fall or spring semester, academic year
    • 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

    Additional Options to Consider

    Global Seminars

    • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
    • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
    • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

    Freshman Seminars

    • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
    • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
    • Seminars are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad.

    Non-Credit Opportunities

    • Non-credit opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.

     

    Student Experiences

    Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.