Laying Down the Law: Criminal Justice Internships Abroad

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What can I do with my criminal justice degree?

OBJECTION! Overruled. May I approach the bench, your honor? Stop practicing in the mirror every morning and start laying down the law. Criminal justice is a broad area of expertise that benefits greatly from time spent interning abroad. Criminal justice internships for college students will warrant a wider perspective and open you up to understanding new practices and perspectives.

Laying Down the Law: Criminal Justice Internships Abroad

Because laws and legal practices are very much tied to tradition and culture, they tend to vary greatly from one country to the next. Based on the specialization you wish to pursue with criminal justice internships abroad, you can likely narrow down your most apt destination accordingly.

The two most common specialty areas available for international internships include human rights and law. Human rights international internship experiences typically include a more fieldwork-focused, community-oriented, law-changing, issue-specific agenda. Criminal law international internships often involves working directly with a law firm, learning the daily duties and intricate workings of the country-specific legal system.

So whether you are passionate about fairness and equality, or upholding the law, there are sure to be criminal justice internships out there for you!

Types of Criminal Justice Internships for College Students

Human Rights Internships

Criminal justice majors with a heart for equality and helping marginalized groups will likely pursue a career in human rights law. Based on current events and existing social justice issues, some destinations rank especially high for human rights efforts. Because many components in human rights internships for criminal justice majors involve significant community involvement, there may be a preference for those who can speak at least a minimum level of the local language. Interns should not automatically be discouraged from applying to certain locations because of this, however, but should take care to look into any such requirements.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Criminal justice majors will get so much out of an internship in South Africa.

Lingering effects of the Apartheid in South Africa can be seen by the prejudice, xenophobia, poverty, racism, and gender inequality still existing today. Therefore, throughout Africa, there are various ongoing human rights organizations and efforts in several different countries that offer criminal justice internships for college students. Those who seek to play a role in this historical transformation toward protecting social rights, and are prepared for an eye-opening experience, need look no further (than VACorps human rights internship in South Africa, to be specific).

Argentina is another excellent option for criminal justice majors and professionals with varying degrees of experience. From personal interviews with victims and academic research to community presentations and public debates, interns will cover a broad range of experiences while working for human rights projects in Cordoba, Argentina.

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Start practicing your Spanish for criminal justice internships in Argentina.

Criminal Law & Legal Internships

If your interests align most closely with right, wrong, and following the rules, chances are you intend to pursue a profession in criminal law -- upholding the law and maintaining the justice system is an essential component to any society. What’s considered right and wrong, and the manner in which breaking the law is addressed, however, can vary from one country to the next. This makes criminal justice internships abroad focused on law all the more interesting.

Australia is a popular destination with plenty of internships for criminal justice majors gearing up for a career in law. Home to a Parliament of the Commonwealth based off Britain's long-standing legal statutes, interns will get a real life feel for the day-to-day duties of Australian lawyers. Live in Perth and work at a firm that has been around since the 1980s with this particular professional law work experience in Australia.

Perth, Australia downtown view from the water
Get the most out of criminal justice internships down under.

Dublin, Ireland offers a similar law-centered placements for interns who prefer green, grassy hills to sunny, sandy surf. Criminal law interns in Ireland will learn the country’s Common Law System and have the opportunity to work alongside legal clerks, lawyers, and judges in either business, family, or property law - depending upon their experience and area of interest.

BONUS: Criminal Justice Summer Internships

Don’t have time to commit to a long-duration program or can’t get away during the school semester? No worries, there are plenty of criminal justice summer internships to take full advantage of.

For Example, England proves an excellent choice for criminal justice majors looking to get bang for their buck in a short summer internship abroad. England has played an influential role in countless legal systems across the western world and even Oceania (as previously mentioned). Therefore, London, the capital city, is the location of the UK Parliament and makes for an especially exciting and happening criminal justice internship location.

Dublin, Ireland side street
Criminal justice internships in Dublin will be all the luck you need in future job searches.

The U.S. is another whirlwind destination for ambitious summer interns. Criminal justice interns won’t find a much more apt location than Washington D.C. for professional experience geared toward law and government organizations. Not to mention, the chance to network in the capital of the United States provides a big bonus for future opportunities!

Last Minute Tips for Criminal Justice Internships Abroad

If you still have an overwhelming amount of international internships to choose from, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Try further weeding through your program options using the following rock star strategies:

  1. Browse program options on GoAbroad’s criminal justice internship directory
  2. Read program reviews from previous participants
  3. Reach out to program alumni for honest feedback
  4. Save and compare programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad
London, United Kingdom overview of the city and St Pauls Cathedral
You won’t object to criminal justice internships in London!

The Verdict

When it comes down to it, don’t be afraid to make a ruling in favor of criminal justice internships abroad. No matter what area of expertise you end up pursuing or if your actual internship matches your preconceived expectations, it is sure to be a life-altering, career-boosting experience. So whether you wind up with a clearer purpose, increased skill-set, expanded network, life-long friendship, or all the above, you will always remember your time spent living and learning abroad.

KEEP READING: 6 Unusual Places to Get a Law Degree Abroad

Topic:  Before You Go