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Study Abroad

Sarah Pheral
Columbus, Indiana
Previous Education:
University of Southern Indiana, BA’03

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Student Profiles

Experiencing Foreign Legal Systems
Sarah Pheral, JD’09, MBA’09

“The seven months I spent traveling and studying in Europe was one of the best experiences of my life.”

I studied at:

  • London Law Consortium (semester-long internship with a barrister, courses in subjects that included English legal systems, European Union (EU) law, and comparative constitutional law)
  • University of San Diego’s Institute on International and Comparative Law in Florence, Italy (summer program; studied international negotiations and international intellectual property law)

About me: “My family moved a lot, and I never lived anywhere longer than three years until I went to college, which has probably made some contribution to my love of travel as well as my ability to travel well. The thing I like most about Indiana Law is the other students and faculty. They’ve taught me a lot, obviously about the law, but also valuable lessons about myself as a student and a professional.”

Why I studied abroad: “I have always loved to travel as much as possible, though before law school I had never been outside North America. I think gaining experience abroad is important for all students—whether they are actually enrolled in school or just interested in continual learning. These experiences are not only fun and exciting, but also opened my eyes to a lot of perspectives I would never have encountered otherwise.”

Tips for choosing your host school: “If you’re interested in studying abroad, speak to people who have done the program you’re interested in, or seek out people who are familiar with the area. Any study abroad program through the Law School is going to be ABA-approved, but classes change with the teacher and other specific circumstances. Some programs often have the same professors and administrators from year to year, so talking to people who have done the program is the best way to prepare yourself regarding what to expect. Even then, people who want to study abroad really just need to be prepared to be open-minded and adaptable, because research will only prepare one so much.”

What I learned: “Learning about and experiencing foreign legal systems gave me a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of our own legal system. International issues are also bound to crop up for all of us as we practice law, and studying abroad provided me with knowledge and a network of foreign colleagues.”