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South Africa Externship Information and Application Process

Since 1996, the Law School has sent more than 100 Michigan Law students to South Africa to spend a semester working at various NGOs.


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Hear what past externs had to say about the South Africa Externship experience.

General

Externship programs are under the jurisdiction of the Curricular, Co-curricular, and Pedagogic Issues Committee. Students are responsible for following the correct procedures for their externship application/proposal.

Credits A student may earn a maximum of 12 credits for an approved externship program in a regular academic term. Students who choose to go on externship in South Africa are required to enroll in LAW 680, Constitutionalism in South Africa.

Students who propose a final semester externship must also include in their application packet a completed Registrar Checklist showing that at the end of the externship all requirements for their degree will have been met.

A student may not engage in both the externship and study abroad program during his or her matriculation at the Law School.

Student Eligibility

The externship program is open to second-or third-year law students who are in good academic standing at the Law School. In deciding whether to approve an externship program, the members of the Committee may take into account the student's academic performance at the Law School. The Committee will more than likely not approve a proposal from a student who has two or more outstanding Incompletes on his or her transcript at the time the proposal is submitted. Students with two or more Incomplete grades who receive permission from the Committee to participate in the externship program will be required to resolve at least one of the Incompletes before the start of the externship term.

Students are not permitted to participate in an externship with more than one Incomplete grade on their transcript at the time of their departure.

Deadline

The deadline to submit a complete application package for a Winter 2015 South Africa Externship is 5:00PM on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. It is the student's responsibility to make sure that all parts of the externship application package have been received by the deadline.

application process

Each student proposing an externship program must submit a complete South Africa Externship Application Package. A complete package consists of both an online form and documents sent to lawexternships@umich.edu as e-mail attachments.

Prior to applying, it is recommended that students read the placement site descriptions to help guide their decision on preferred placements.

The online externship application can be accessed here. The electronic documents consist of an Essay of Interest and Preferred Placement Cover Letters, both described below, and the student's resume.

Once a student's application package is complete, they will be contacted to set up an application interview with Professor Sankaran, who teaches the South Africa Externship seminar course.

essay of interest

The essay provides an opportunity for the student to persuade the Law School that the externship will enable the student to fulfill educational objectives that cannot be achieved through Law School classes or in the ordinary course of professional opportunities available to the student. It also provides a way for host sites to evaluate and distinguish student applications, as well as develop a sense of the student's background, interest areas, and expertise. Students are advised to highlight their particular strengths, relevant experiences, and practice area interests. Students should also include how the externship builds on work he or she has done, or how it will contribute to the student's educational pursuits.

The essay of interest must be submitted as an e-mail attachment to lawexternships@umich.edu to be included as part of the application package.

preferred placement cover letter

A cover letter must be provided for each preferred placement identified by the student. The letter should state the specific reasons why the student is interested in working at that particular site.

The essay of interest must be submitted as an e-mail attachment to lawexternships@umich.edu to be included as part of the application package.

Final Semester Externship

If a student is proposing an externship in what would be their final semester of law school, he or she must meet with Jack Atkinson, the Law School's Registrar, to complete a Registrar Checklist for submission and inclusion with the application package.

application interview

Each applicant will be required to participate in an interview with Professor Sankaran as part of the application process. These interviews will take place soon after the application packages are due. Each applicant will be contacted to schedule this interview.

As part of the application process, the applicant's former professors may be contacted by Professor Sankaran.

overseas travel waiver

As a condition of enrolling for overseas externship credit, students must complete an Overseas Travel Waiver. This requirement applies whether or not the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert or travel warning for the country to which you plan to travel. See the Overseas Travel Requirements page for more complete information.

 
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