Good news! I’ve been accepted to study abroad in Geneva, Switzerland next fall as BU Law’s first student ever to participate in study abroad with The Graduate Institute! I’m really excited and look forward to not only fabulous chocolate and ski hills, but hopefully securing an internship at one of the 700 NGOs and UN organizations in the city while I am there! Geneva, I think, will be good for me because BU has relatively slim pickings for students interested in environmental law and the Geneva program offers a variety of courses on the subject (International negotiation theory and environment, trade and human rights issues, climate change and trade, global environmental governance, etc).
The application process, for those who are interested in studying abroad, is a little more intense than it may have been for an undergraduate program. I went to Australia for a semester as an undergrad and really all that was required of me was to fill in some paperwork and have mediocre grades! But with BU (and perhaps law schools in general) it works differently. The study abroad programs have to be approved by the ABA and that results in there being less slots and less opportunities to study abroad and have those foreign credits count towards your law degree. BU has a slew of programs (see: http://www.bu.edu/law/central/jd/programs/abroad/busl.html) but the competition is fierce and includes an in-person interview with two of the law school deans & the international program’s office administrator. The Geneva program I am going on only accepts 2 students per year, other programs are capped at 4 and I think the “largest” program admits 6. There are always students who are wait-listed and ultimately don’t get to go abroad that year. BU required you to apply in February regardless of the semester you wish to spend abroad the following academic year. For first year students, February is a hard time, you’re in the midst of moot court and job searching, but if you know you want to study abroad, it wouldn’t hurt to get the application out. While you do get some priority applying as a 2L, there’s still no guarantee. This year the Geneva program and a few of the France programs are brand new. Hopefully more will continue to be added and less students will get cut each year!