Embarking on a semester or full year pre-law study abroad program will set the course for great things to come in your career. Learning about government, criminal justice, and various societal institutions in a different culture and from a new viewpoint is bound to enhance your insight of the field of law. Studying abroad will also inevitably prepare you for the many challenges that law can pose down the road, both in and out of the courtroom.
Why Study Pre-Law Abroad
Since pre-law is more of a degree track than a solidified major, you do not have to worry about navigating the deep complexities of a different country’s legal system just yet. Instead, you will be rounding off a more complete education of whatever undergraduate focus you are pursuing, be it political science, history, economics, or what have you. Studying pre-law abroad is the perfect way to gain a more holistic knowledge in any of these areas, and it certainly won’t look bad on your law school application either.
You can study pre-law abroad pretty much anywhere and earn relevant academic credit toward your degree track. Lawyers are needed just about everywhere in our modern world, and so most major universities feature either a pre-law program or at least requisite law courses.
If you want to study abroad at the best of the best when it comes to law, then consider North America, Europe, or East Asia. The U.S. and England together boast a significant majority of the best law programs in the world, but many Australian universities have great legal programs too. Academic institutions in Asia, such as the University of Hong Kong, National University of Singapore, and University of Tokyo, are also extremely prestigious locations to study law abroad.
Bear in mind that the language barrier might prevent you from taking full advantage of the course catalogue at many universities in the non-English speaking world. In these locations pre-law study abroad programs will often set up their own satellite institution or partner with a local international school where you can take courses with local professors taught in English. Classroom environments in these situations tend to be much smaller and courses are oriented toward foreign students, so this can be a nice alternative in many cases.
Studying Pre-Law Abroad
Pre-law is a degree track that encompasses a wide variety of majors, which are all recognized as suitable for entry to law schools. While specifically designed pre-law study abroad programs are sometimes available at foreign universities, it is much more common that you will simply enroll in courses which are prerequisites toward your major back home.
Some of the most common majors that pre-law students choose to pursue in their undergraduate studies include political science, history, psychology, and English. Depending on where you study pre-law abroad, chances are good that classes will be offered in the latter subject areas and many more. Your course options will likely be more limited if you study pre-law abroad at a satellite school instead of a local university, so do keep this in mind when deciding on a program.
Another route that pre-law students often take for study abroad is studying international law. This is a fairly specialized field in which undergraduate classes may not be offered at every school, but most major universities provide students with the opportunity to explore international law. Some pre-law study abroad programs are even specifically designed for international law, which are perfect for pre-law students, and include interactive field trips, such as visiting the United Nations or International Criminal Court.
- Learn From a Different Cultural Perspective. Whatever your focus is within the field of pre-law, one of the most beneficial things about studying abroad is that you can gain an entirely new perspective on the subject by learning through a different lens. Lectures can get boring and repetitive at home, so spice things up by adventuring into an new cultural context!
- Enhance Your Law School Application. Law schools love to see that you have taken your education abroad; it shows that a prospective candidate is flexible, ambitious, and can work well in a cross cultural environment. These are important skills which you will need to succeed in the legal profession, and pre-law study abroad programs will most definitely help you develop important skills.
- Have Fun. Most importantly, studying pre-law abroad is good old-fashioned fun. Most people look back on their study abroad experience as the best decision they made in college; the sense of newfound freedom, the people you meet from all over the world, and the crazy experiences you’ll have will make for a truly unforgettable adventure.