Studying criminal justice abroad will give you a new perspective on what it means to be a police officer, a lawyer, a corrections official, or an investigator. See how all of these pieces fit together in another country and learn how they compare on a global scale.
Gain a solid foundation in the various aspects of law enforcement, courts, and corrections. Do you prefer to be where the action is, or would you rather be part of the behind-the-scenes work? Start to decide which track you're interested in pursuing while you visit police stations, museums, courthouses, and forensic labs during a summer or semester abroad. If you already know your plan, you could land an internship for real-world experience.
Certain universities are well-known for their robust criminal justice programs, but there are options all around the world. No matter which program you choose, you will have fantastic stories to tell family, friends, and potential future employers!
There are courses available to study criminal justice abroad at all times of the year, so you can choose summer, semester, or year-long programs. Some have an internship component, some are purely in-class experiences. Check with the international office on your campus to see if they can suggest any specific programs.
Summer Study Abroad
If you are new to travel and the criminal justice field, a summer abroad is a great way to get started. Some summer programs will include a course you take at your home university with the travel component coming at the end. Others will allow you to be in class while abroad, taking weekly trips to related sites. You might spend most of the trip in one city, and you might hop around from one country to the next. Summers abroad are usually a higher cost per day but a cheaper overall price.
Semester or Year Study Abroad
If you are ready for in-depth readings and class discussion of theory, you might consider spending a longer period abroad. There will still be organized excursions if you use a third-party provider to help plan your trip, but your day-to-day will be more like a regular college experience than a summer abroad. In larger cities, you will probably be in classes with other international students and locals so you will get a well-rounded understanding of criminal justice systems and practices from people of all backgrounds.
Study and Intern Abroad
For upper-level college students who need to complete that final internship to graduate, consider getting your real-world experience abroad. Put theory into practice with hands-on work in the field. Depending on where you are and who you are working for, this can range from administrative and research help to entry-level work in your industry. Not all internships offer college credit, and most are unpaid. Work with a third-party provider to make sure the details are clearly defined.
Where to Go
Criminal justice and criminology classes are available at colleges and universities worldwide. The following are some of the most common locations for studying this subject abroad because they offer top-notch education in criminal justice and provide an exciting new experience to international students.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. These are some of the top locations for international students from all over the world -- criminal justice is no exception.
London is the most populated area in the UK by far, and many criminal justice students are drawn here by the chance to research in London's incredible libraries, visit the new Scotland yard, and learn about the fascinating prison history in this city. Learn more from this student who studied at City University London.
Australia's top universities have a strong reputation for criminal justice degrees and many are recognized globally for their innovative programs. You will have a wide array of course options so you can study exactly what you're interested in, and the beautiful country offers unforgettable excursions for you in your free time. Find out how to make the most of your experience from this student who studied Criminal Justice near Sydney.
If you have an interest in the history of war crimes or international criminal law, Amsterdam might be the best place for you to study criminal justice abroad. Learn how past decisions influence present ones, understand the role this small country has played in pivotal moments in history, and do it all in a beautiful and interesting city. The Netherlands offers students the opportunity to travel easily to other parts of Europe as well.
Planning Your Trip
Any study abroad experience is going to be well worth the time and money. You'll have the opportunity to grow personally and professionally no matter where and when you go. The best way to choose a program is to learn about the pros and cons and decide what's best at this point in your life.
How to Choose a Criminal Justice Study Abroad Program
Though you will have options all over the world, by choosing a well-known program you are more likely to be able to choose the exact courses you need in order to graduate. Choosing to study in a popular city means the criminal justice system in that location will probably have a wider range of interactive experiences, from visiting prisons to observing in court.
Smaller, less prominent programs can be attractive options if you prefer to live in a less populated area or if you have a very specific location in mind. If you are interested in Hispanic cultures, for example, you might need to choose a program that does not have as many course options or is not as flexible on program dates.
Different areas cater to different interests both in and out of the classroom. In the end, you will be happiest with your choice if you are studying something you are interested in, in a location you love.
Health & Safety
If you decide to study abroad with a third-party provider or an exchange program, you will most likely be able to attend an orientation where you will learn about the specifics of staying healthy and safe in your destination. The cost of insurance will also probably included in your total price, but check the fine print to determine what it will cover. Use the travel.state.gov website to learn up-to-date travel safety information.
Other Need to Know
Many third-party providers require a minimum GPA of 2.5 and some programs only allow college students who are at the sophomore level or higher. There are also some programs available for people with no college experience.
If you are getting college credit toward your degree, save copies of your syllabi and course descriptions in case they are needed to transfer credit back to your home university. The course structure and grading system will almost certainly be different than what you are used to. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification at the start of the course.