A foolish friend of mine is finishing up his 1L year at a true TTT - that is, a school that is ranked below the Top 100 fold in US News and World Report. He refuses to listen to reason. He refuses to accept that I and many of his other friends that went to "better" schools are now struggling to find employment - any employment.
What is even more disconcerting is that if I can somehow get a job and place of my own by the time he graduates, he'll probably end up sleeping on my couch. He'll also likely eventually bludgeon me to death with a tire iron after weeks of coming home from his job as a bagger at the Piggly Wiggly only to hear me obnoxiously repeat "I told you so!"
Ah, but my friend's lack of discernment regarding the law school scam extends not only to his willingness to spend himself into the red for a TTT diploma. He has also recently decided that it would be wise to spend his summer abroad - paying tuition to his school for the most overpriced vacation available.
If you've ever wondered if the avarice of the law school deans knows any bounds, the very existence of these summer study abroad programs should answer that question with a resounding "No!".
In college, study abroad programs make some sense. Sure, they are often just another stop on the average liberal arts major's trip to academic perdition or a brief and frivolous diversion for those with more serious majors. In fact, I heard about one program available at a number of colleges called a "Semester at Sea", which per my understanding, essentially consists of earning academic credit while on a cruise ship. Your tax dollars at work.
Nevertheless, from a student's perspective, why not spend a semester in Europe, Asia, or Australia? As long as you can swing the travel and other attendant expenses, you're paying the same tuition dollars for an interesting experience.
Moreover, college is more than professional training - even if one takes a practical major - it is designed to help individuals mature both personally and intellectually. Okay, I honestly don't really fully buy that line given that the only thing many college parasites learn is how to use a fake I.D. Nevertheless, college does give young adults the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of some academic subjects, learn what it's like to (sort of) live on their own, and possibly gain a deeper appreciation for world around them.
Studying abroad in college does nothing to frustrate the stated purpose of undergraduate education while only putting students in slightly less advantageous financial positions. Studying abroad in law school, on the other hand, is nothing more than just another element of the overall scam.
Law school's ostensible purpose is to serve as a professional school to give budding attorneys the education and training necessary to enter the field of law. Now, we all know that's a load of nonsense, but that's the story they tell us.
If this is the case, what possible purpose does an extra semester of law school - spent abroad - serve? Having the opportunity to get inebriated in another country isn't exactly worth the price of admission.
I assume the reason why most law students bother taking on the debt for such a program is because they're afraid that they'll be left with a gap in their resumes over a summer when paid (and even voluntary) legal work is scarce. This is a bad idea. Working at the 7-11 will earn you a paycheck; studying abroad over the summer will cost you money and do nothing for your career prospects.
"International Law" is the pipe dream of far too many matriculating law students. Like "Entertainment Law" and "Sports Law", there is very little demand for such a specialization and far fewer opportunities for entry level attorneys to break into these fields - particularly from TTT law schools. While "International Law" remains popular among guileless law students, even many CSO's will admit that this is a difficult field to break into.
The small contingent that does end up practicing in this field consists almost exclusively of people who were bound for BigLaw anyway. Only a small percentage of law students practice at the big firms to begin with (or have the credentials to do so), and only a sliver of that group will end up practicing anything resembling international law.
Anyone who thinks that studying abroad will help one secure a full time position in this field is just fooling oneself. No employer in this competitive field is going to overlook a "B" transcript from a non-elite school simply because an applicant happened to spend a couple of months "studying" in some foreign city.
Moreover, whatever GPA boost a student can earn by studying abroad isn't going to be of much help. Employers are concerned about a student's performance in the first year core courses that are subject to the mandatory curve not some frivolous seminar held at the Timbuktu School of Law. That "A" in "International Peace and Conflict Legal Studies" isn't going to impress anyone.
The only beneficiaries of the law school study abroad programs are the brass at the law schools and the universities to which they're attached.
If you're that desperate to visit a foreign country, why not apply to teach English abroad and get paid? How about finding a job (even a low level one) in another nation - it can't be that much harder than finding one here with unemployment hovering around 10%. Or better yet, just take a vacation without paying the law school crooks thousands more to take their worthless courses.
In fact, just drop out of law school and spend the summer exploring the world. Even if you have to put it on your credit card, it'll be less expensive and more rewarding that two extra years of law school.
If you do plan on completing law school, I would advise you to spend as much time as possible in the U.S.A. After all, if you decide to leave the country in order to flee from your student loan creditors, there's probably no coming back.