Summer abroad in Ireland provides unforgettable experience, conversation starter for job interviews

I had the opportunity to study abroad in Limerick, Ireland this past summer. It was, hands down, one of the best experiences I have ever had in my entire life. I find myself missing Ireland more and more every day. I was just looking through old pictures to include with this blog, and I am having a hard time coming up with reasons to not drive to the airport right now. No money? I’m already in debt. What’s a few thousand more? School? I’m almost a 3L. That’s close enough. All of my friends are here? I guarantee if I texted everyone who went to Ireland with me, they would all meet me at the airport right now. It was that awesome.

First, I know some people are worried that studying abroad won’t look so great on your resume for your first (or second) summer of law school. In my experience, that has been the item on my resume that interviewers have asked me about the most. People from KU Law either made the trip themselves or know someone who did. And those not from KU Law still seem to like talking about it.

Besides the beautiful places and friendly culture, the program itself is amazing. We took three international law classes, which were all completely fascinating, even for those of us who have no interest in international law. One of the coolest parts is learning from an Irish professor at the University of Limerick. My group was the first to spend a week in Dublin, as opposed to just a weekend. Although we all loved being in Limerick, having a week in Dublin allowed us to meet several Irish justices, watch an actual court proceeding, and tour Kilmainham Jail, which housed several famous prisoners during the Irish rebellion against England. And those were just the planned events. The program allows so much time for exploring on your own, and it includes trips to some amazing non-law sites as well, like the Cliffs of Moher and Galway. Did I mention I saw Bono’s house?

For those who still aren’t convinced it’s enough for your resume, you can definitely work before the program starts. I did the Judicial Clerkship Clinic for seven weeks before the program. I was able to get in the same number of hours as everyone else with no problem. And other than being super jealous, my judge was more than fine with me leaving early.

The program also allows plenty of time for traveling before and after. Several friends and I chose to travel the week before the program and the weekend after (to London for the Olympics!), and I know several others who traveled right up until school started. Europe is such an amazing place with so many amazing things to see, and this will probably be the last opportunity you have to go for a long time. I am so happy I took advantage of it.

If you have any questions or want to hear stories, please let me know. I’m more than happy to share all of my pictures, although, like this blog, they really don’t do the experience justice.

— Michele Kraak is a 2L and KU Law Student Ambassador. Learn more about KU Law’s study abroad programs in Ireland and Istanbul.