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FAQs on international studies


Columbia Law School students planning to study internationally

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How does studying abroad differ in the administrative context?

Columbia Law School offers students the opportunity to study abroad as students who are fully immersed in an educational program structured, administered and taught within a different legal education culture. We believe the value of this approach is obvious, but you should still be aware of the potential cost.

While each overseas partner has been screened to meet Columbia's own high academic standards, few schools outside of the United States have a similar wealth of administrative resources to access. Students studying abroad should therefore expect a rewarding intellectual experience, but also bureaucratic and cultural challenges that surpass those normally found in a US legal educational context. Students who have never studied or lived abroad are strongly advised to discuss these questions with the Office of International Programs prior to applying.

Can transfer students study abroad?

Transfer students can study abroad for one semester, but cannot apply for dual study programs that spend the entire 3L year abroad.

After you have been admitted to study abroad, you must submit an application for a semester abroad to the student office. Send a short email to the Registration Services Office explain which program you have been admitted to and why you would like to join the program. In most cases, these petitions are granted. The Student Administration Office will usually recommend that you take the required Black Letter courses while at Columbia and speak to the Office of Career Services or Social Justice Initiatives before going abroad.

How likely is it that I will be included in my dream program? Is there a student limit for the different programs?

In the past, most applicants were able to participate in their first or second choice program. Many programs are limited to two or three nominees per year.

The Global Alliance programs are designed to cater to a larger number of students. Oxford Global Alliance can accommodate a maximum of five people; The Amsterdam Global Alliance can host eight; Paris Global Alliance can last 16. There is usually some movement in programs with waiting lists. However, whether the list is cleaned up ultimately depends on the number of applicants for a particular program in a particular year.

Do I have to speak the language of the host country to study abroad?

Some programs require language skills, e.g. for Paris I / Sorbonne you need to speak French. You need to speak Spanish to visit Buenos Aires. In many places you can complete your studies entirely in English, e.g. Amsterdam, ILF (Frankfurt), Luxembourg, Bucerius (Hamburg), CEU (Budapest), Beida (Beijing), Hitotsubashi (Japan), ESADE (Barcelona), Sciences Po (Paris) Etc.

Does studying abroad influence my professional career in the public interest?

Studying abroad has been very beneficial for many students considering careers in the public interest. However, it may conflict with attending clinics, internships, or other courses - or the pro bono event - that employers value in the public interest. The timing of the study abroad can also lead to scheduling conflicts with regard to the recruitment calendar of public interest. Contact Social Justice Initiatives to learn more.

Click to open Apply

Should I include a second program choice?

Be sure to list a second choice if you have one; it won't hurt you in any way. We will always try to place you on your first choice and we will put you on a waiting list if you don't get a place. We ask students who are selected for a program to inform us as soon as possible whether they want to take the place or withdraw their application, both for administrative reasons and to be polite to fellow students on the waiting list.

What is needed for the personal declaration?

The personal statement should describe your academic, professional and / or personal interests and how you envision studying abroad to serve them. The statement should be double-spaced and no more than two pages long. Feel free to write a separate paragraph about your first, second, and third choices.

What is required for the faculty recommendation?

As soon as you enter the name of the professor in the referral section of the application, the person you have designated as the referrer will receive an email from the system asking you to either: a) strongly recommend, b) recommend, c ) don't know enough to recommend it, or d) don't recommend it.

The recommender is also instructed to feel free to make additional comments about the student. Most referrers write a few lines there (e.g. about how they know and why they recommend you). It is especially advisable that your referrer be willing to write a few lines for the more competitive programs.

Recommendations are subject to the same March 1st deadline like the rest of the application?

Before the application deadline has expired, you must state the name of a professor in the online application to be submitted. When you receive the email from our system, the professor has to take the next step and submit the received form. If professors don't respond in a timely manner, the International Programs Office will follow up with reminders. While students will not be penalized for late submissions, inquiries should be made early so as not to delay the decision-making process.

Which programs have co or prerequisites?

  • Prerequisite or requirement: Amsterdam Global Alliance in International Criminal Law - L6269: International Law (or L6183: The United States and the International Legal System ). Note: International law can be proven in Amsterdam, but without additional credit. For students who apply in February 2021 and after, International right will be a prerequisite for the Amsterdam Global Alliance, but can still be taken as an additional prerequisite for students in the Amsterdam semester exchange.
  • Voraussetzungen: Paris Global Alliance in Global Business Law and Governance - L6231: company; L6269: International Law (or L6183: The United States and the International Legal System). These courses can be taken at any time before the Paris semester.
  • Requirements: Oxford Global Alliance in Law and Finance - L6231: company; L6423: Securities Ordinance; L6232: corporate finance; L6202: Advanced Corporate Law: Mergers and Acquisitions (Usually offered in the spring semester and sometimes not available in the fall; Ideally, applicants should plan to participate L6202 in the spring of the 2L year). The courses can be attended anytime before the Oxford semester.
    • We cannot guarantee that a specific course will be offered in the fall of the 3L year, so ideally students should try to take three to four of these courses by the end of the 2L year. Remember it Companies is usually a prerequisite or ancillary to the other prerequisites.
  • Dual courses of study have no prerequisites, but students must meet all J.D. degree requirements to participate in this or any other study abroad program.

How should I indicate on the application that I have taken or am currently attending a preliminary course?

The application asks whether you have completed all the prerequisites or additional requirements. Mark the question with Yes only if you either c completed a course or are currently enrolled in the course. If you plan to take the course in a future semester, tick No so that we can use this information to remind you to take missing courses in the future.

Click to open costs

Will I continue to pay Columbia tuition and fees while studying abroad?

Yes. Columbia students enrolled in study abroad programs will continue to pay Columbia tuition, health service fees and health insurance fees (if not waived). Most other campus fees, including fees for student activities and university facilities, are waived while studying abroad. Your Columbia tuition also pays for the Office of International Programs administrative services to support individual international students and the administration of over two dozen institutional partnerships.

All students participating in study abroad programs will continue to be billed for the Columbia Health health and related services fee. The fee pays for a range of Columbia Health support services for students studying abroad, including telephone access to mental health counseling and sexual violence response services; and administrative assistance in arranging medical care, evacuation and repatriation as needed.

How does studying abroad affect the financial support?

Students studying abroad for one semester or one year receive the same tuition fees and budget as studying at Columbia, so their financial support is not affected.

For students who take part in a one-semester or one-year study abroad program, the amount of institutional funding (scholarship or loan) is not adjusted. Students who require additional loans from credit-based loan programs to cover higher living expenses should write to the Financial Aid Office to request a budget adjustment application form. Every effort will be made to meet reasonable and documented requests.

For more information on this topic, see the Finance and Financial Aid Form for Columbia Law School J.D. Students Enrolling in Study Abroad Programs. All students must read and sign this form before studying abroad.

What other costs do I take on?

You are responsible for living expenses abroad, including travel expenses to and from abroad, housing expenses, food, utilities, entertainment, printing expenses, and residence permits. Visit the Office of International Programs to see examples of the cost of living at various foreign institutions.

Click to open Health insurance

Can Columbia health insurance fees be waived while studying abroad?

You can apply for exemption from the otherwise mandatory Columbia health insurance fees by providing evidence of adequate alternative insurance coverage for the entire year (even if you only study abroad for one semester) to the Columbia University Insurance and Immunization Compliance Office. Exceptions are usually not granted for just one semester. Regardless of whether an exemption is granted, higher education policy requires that all students remain responsible for paying fees for health and related services abroad.

Columbia Health Insurance plan participants must pay out of pocket for medical services, including routine doctor and professional visits, and submit receipts along with a detailed invoice to Aetna Student Health for reimbursement. If you are enrolled on a non-Columbia plan, you will likely need to report medical emergencies and medical expenses incurred internationally to your health insurance company and, if necessary, make follow-up claims immediately.

In any case, prepare yourself by looking at the reporting requirements and reimbursement provisions of your respective health insurance company before you start your journey.

Some partner schools (e.g. Amsterdam, Paris 1 and Sciences Po) may require proof of certain specially defined international insurance or supplementary insurance in addition to your other insurance coverage. Details can be found on each individual program page.

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Click to open Preparation for studying abroad

How do I apply for a student visa / residence permit?

All participants must meet the host country's student visa requirements and have a passport that is valid for six months after the first trip. The specific application procedures vary depending on the country and nationality.

Non-US citizens should check the current visa requirements and allow additional time; in some cases the visa process for them may take longer than for US citizens.

Start your visa application process immediately after receiving your official letter of admission as visa appointments may be required and the slots fill up quickly. Postponing the appointment could prevent you from getting a visa in time to enroll in the study abroad. If you are unable to study abroad and you did not enroll at Columbia on time, you may need to take a leave of absence.

How do I get a health insurance certificate / card if required for my visa?

Students on the Columbia plan should call Aetna Student Health Customer Service at 800-859-8471. They will ask for some basic information such as: B. Insurance number, date of birth, address and reason for issuing a certificate (e.g. authorization for a visa). Certificates can be faxed or mailed free of charge within seven to ten working days.

Students not enrolled in the Columbia Plan must check with their own insurance plan to see if they meet the criteria of an overseas school or government for overseas insurance.

Can I participate in two different semester abroad programs over two semesters at Columbia Law School?

No. Two semesters abroad can only be credited if you take part in one of our dual study programs in which you spend both semesters of the 3L year in London, Paris or Frankfurt.

Can I take part in the D.C. Externship if I study abroad for a semester?

Yes. You can apply and participate if accepted. As always, make sure you meet all of the study requirements.

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Can I sublet my Columbia apartment if I go abroad?
You may sublet your Columbia condo if you are on a Columbia-approved program and are not in your final semester at Columbia; if you are abroad in the fall semester 3L or are 2L removed for each semester. You need to fill out forms for subletting and get a signature from the law school's apartment association at the Studentenwerk.

We have many international exchange students who come to Columbia Law School, especially in the fall. They strive to find a cheap and affordable apartment and we will be happy to put you in touch. Each year, many incoming exchange students rent Columbia apartments from Columbia Law School students going abroad for the semester.

Exception: In some cases, graduate students may sublet law school dorms (not Columbia University Housing) during the spring semester if they have committed to staying in their unit to study for the bar exam after graduation.

If I study abroad in the last semester before graduation, can I sublet / keep my unit?
No. Students in their final semester must vacate their Columbia housing unit completely. Students must give their plan 30 days in advance and are only responsible for rent up to the day of moving out and return of keys. Students who go abroad in the spring must vacate their apartment by December 31st in order to avoid fees for the following semester.

If I go abroad in the spring, can I go back to law school to study for the prosecution?
Unfortunately, 3L students are not allowed to keep their apartments in the spring to return to the bar exam. Oxford Global Alliance students, whose program ends in March, can choose to keep or give up their accommodation and can apply to stay at the accommodation for bar studies, but are not allowed to sublet abroad.

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Do I have access to emergency assistance?

The university has retained Internationaler SOS (ISOS) to provide worldwide emergency medical assistance, including medical and evacuation protection, to faculty, staff and students abroad while traveling in connection with Colombia. ISOS can also be contacted to help you find convenient and adequate care close to your location.

Which psychosocial support offers are there?

To better support the mental health needs of Columbia University relatives abroad, the university offers two additional services from ISOS: Enhanced Emotional Support and LiveChat.

  • Enhanced emotional support allows Columbia travelers up to five free consultations (per trip) with a certified psychiatrist overseas. These sessions can be held by phone, Skype or - if available - in person, at your option. Access to this offering is available 24/7 by calling ISOS 'dedicated school management at +1 215-942-8478. For students who have given their consent, the continuity of care is coordinated with the Counseling and Psychological Service (CPS) for the student's return to campus.
  • LiveChat enables Columbia affiliates who have downloaded the ISOS Assistance app (available on Apple, Android, and Windows platforms) to speak 24/7 in real time with an ISOS representative on any health, safety, or security issue to chat. Since LiveChat can be used via a WLAN signal, there are no data / roaming charges.
Click to open Handicapped accessible accommodations

What accommodations for the disabled are there?

Columbia Law School does not offer its own study programs abroad, but places students in permanent academic programs administered by its partner schools. International standards for both disability qualification and related accommodation may vary depending on the partner school or city / country. Some programs may lack many of the standard disabled accommodations found in Columbia and throughout the United States. Students are urged to inquire with the Office of International Programs about the conditions in particular schools and the ability to make reasonable accommodations (e.g. physical availability and extended exam times) for documented disabilities. It is important that students who require such accommodation contact the foreign university a few months before the trip abroad.

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Why does LawNet only show 10 credits for my semester abroad?

Until the final timetable, students in semesters abroad will be registered as placeholders for 10 points in LawNet. The actual number of credits you will receive for the semester may be higher or lower. As soon as we have the course information from the students, we determine the corresponding number of Law School credits and update LawNet accordingly.

How many credits can I get abroad?

In general, students abroad take the equivalent of 11-13 credits. The maximum number of CLS credits that can be transferred in a semester is 13. Recognition of credits from a course taken at an overseas school is subject to a determination that it meets the Columbia Law School requirements.

Occasionally, overseas students earn the equivalent of nine or 10 credits and meet their minimum requirements with supervised research with a Columbia professor or a journal thesis abroad.

Typically, Columbia Law School awards the J.D. No credit for clinics, field internships and other experience-based learning programs that are carried out as part of a study abroad. Courses taken abroad cannot count towards Kent or Stone honors. Students who spend a semester abroad are only entitled to honor if they have registered for at least 15 graded credits at the law school in that academic year.

Paris and Amsterdam Alliance participants receive 12 CLS credits. Oxford attendees are awarded nine CLS credits on a fixed schedule and are also required to complete a 2-3 credit supervised research paper with a Columbia professor. London LL.M. Participants receive 18 CLS credits for the year and require three-credit supervised research to achieve 21 CLS credits. Sciences Po Dual Degree students receive 21 CLS credits for the year.

Note: Participants in the dual study program Paris 1 and Frankfurt (ILF) receive 20 credits for the one-year course. Potential participants should be familiar with the OIP about how to get the one extra loan that is required.

How are international credits converted into law school credits?

The Law School awards J.D. credits for study abroad in a manner that conforms to ABA Standard 310 (Determination of Credit Hours for Coursework). In view of the different performance-related guidelines in the various national education systems, the OIP has to make decisions on the crediting of performance on a case-by-case basis. In general, we typically need around 14-15 hours of class time, each consisting of around two hours of extracurricular work for each credit that goes towards the J.D.

All courses that are credited abroad must be approved in advance by the OIP. Students are responsible for providing the following information[Email protected]as soon as the course registration of the partner school or add / drop allows:

  • A list of the courses you want to enroll in
  • The number of international points awarded by the partner school for each course
  • The number of minutes of lesson per lesson for each course
  • The number of lessons during the semester for each course
  • A calculation for each class from the number of teaching units per semester multiplied by the number of minutes per teaching unit and a calculation of the total teaching minutes

All proposed subsequent course changes must be reported to OIP immediately for approval.

You may need to add courses or do additional supervised research with a Columbia Law professor if you do not have permission to transfer sufficient credits to the J.D.

Note: It is possible that your proposed course choice will not be approved by the OIP, so you need to allow enough time to make any necessary changes. Courses which cannot be recognized (e.g. language studies) or which are offered outside the law faculty of the partner university (e.g. in the business school) are not taken into account.

Can I get credit for language courses abroad?

No. Non-legal courses abroad do not count towards the J.D. degree.

Are lessons at foreign schools compulsory?

The policy depends on the school. In some places, attendance is compulsory in order to be credited by the foreign school. For example, at some Paris schools, more than two absenteeism may result in failing the course. No foreign loan would not mean a Columbia loan. You are expected to attend classes, follow partner school rules, and represent Columbia Law School well abroad.

Will the study abroad grades appear on my Transcript of Law School?

You will receive certificates with grades from the partner university. Grades earned abroad will not be listed on your Columbia transcripts; the Columbia transcript only indicates the number of credits that were earned in an international study program abroad.

However, Columbia only awards - and the Columbia transcript only reflects - credits for approved courses that you passed with a grade of C or higher. In principle, students are not allowed to attend courses abroad with a pass / fail.

Can I meet my pro bono requirement abroad?

Yes. It is possible to do pro bono work abroad or remotely with prior approval from SJI. Make sure you get this approval before starting any project.

Can I meet my experience needs abroad?

No, your six experience points must be achieved during your stay at Columbia.

Can I continue to work on a magazine abroad?

Magazines set their own guidelines on whether students can spend a semester or a year outside of Colombia. Many magazines allow students to spend a semester or year abroad and work remotely and / or get credit abroad, but it's always best to check with them. The Columbia Law Review allows a limited number of members to study abroad.

Which evaluations do I have to submit for my studies abroad?

You must submit course and program reviews. Course evaluations should be about half a page to one page per course and contain specific content of the course as well as give feedback on your impressions of the courses and professors as a whole. Final program evaluations should be as detailed as possible - the more feedback, the better. Those taking part in a dual study program must submit interim and final evaluations.

Do I have to complete my studies or have met my study requirements in order to be able to take the bar exam?

The rules vary from state to state, so you should check with the Office of Registration Services and the Bar Association in your respective state (for specific time frames for other requirements, such as the pro bono lessons and MPRE test). In some states, including New York, J.D. students can generally be admitted to the bar as long as they successfully complete the study requirements, even if they have not yet been awarded their degree.

Do I need to have the Law School Certificate completed by my overseas law school after I pass the state bar exam? How do I do that?

After passing your state law exam, you must be certified by every law school you have attended, including overseas law schools, by completing an original Law School Certificate form. You should provide a contact person to send this to. If you need help finding the contact person, please let OIP know. (Each study abroad partner school must designate a responsible contact person for Columbia students participating in the program there.)

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