National & International Externships
During the summer, WCL students can gain legal experience through an externship across the country or around the world, on any coast.
Students interested in participating in a national or international externship enroll in a Remote Externship Seminar, which meets remotely to expand student opportunities to outside the Washington, DC metro area.
The Seminar is in the format of a virtual classroom. Students will need to reserve 2 hours and 45 minutes each week to attend this live online class in a quiet space where they can hear and speak with a headset. (Some of the class may be asynchronous but students should set aside the full amount of time). The remote externship seminar begins at 6 pm. The class may meet during the workday for some students and in the evening for others. Enrollment and Attendance is MANDATORY for all students planning to extern outside of the Washington DC Metro Area this summer.
Long Distance students disperse to their externship sites in time to begin working at the start of the summer academic session (typically the last week of May). Students normally work full-time for 7-10 weeks. During this period, students will communicate regularly with one another and with their seminar professor via a virtual classroom. There will be a live class session each week. There may also be an asynchronous portion of the class. For example, the "classroom" also contains a discussion board where students can update classmates on their experiences as well as participate in on-line class discussion of challenging issues they may be confronting in their externships. In some weeks, students may circulate their journals to one another via the technology links and comment on issues raised in the journal entries. Students find the opportunity to communicate with one another from around the country and to compare their work experiences, one of the richest aspects of the program.
You may want to take advantage of this program if you have decided to return home to be with family or friends for the summer or you have made contact with a specific organization in another state. If you would like to extern in a state outside of DC, Maryland and Virginia, our Long Distance Program is for you!
Full-time/part-time J.D. candidates, who have completed their first year of law school can participate in a long-distance externship. Please note that every employer will list their own eligibility criteria.
Students typically earn 6 credits for participation in the Long Distance Program - 2 graded credits for the seminar component and 4 pass/fail credits for the field work component. Students who wish to work less than 260 hours in the field may earn fewer field credits. We usually offer one seminar for long distance externs within the United States and another seminar for long distance externs working abroad. Enrollment in both seminar and field credits is mandatory in order to take part in the program. See the Field Credit Hour Requirements page for more details about how many credits you may be eligible for.
Students cannot participate in a Study Abroad program and earn externship credit as students may only earn a total of seven credits over the summer semester.
The Externship Long Distance seminar is two credits and the field credit varies from two to four credits, depending on the hours the student works. Tuition for the summer is calculated per-credit. Students must enroll in at least 6 credits for the summer to be eligible for financial aid. Please click here to view how you can save money by taking an externship.
Housing & Travel
Students are responsible for their own housing and travel arrangements. Some externship employers may provide housing or assistance in locating housing.
Finding An International Placement
The Externship Program has forged relationships with organizations around the world, and many of these organizations have agreed to accept qualified WCL students as externs during the Summer semester.
Students will be able to find international externships through many of the Externship Program’s resources, such as the Externship Database. Click here for more information on finding a field placement.
We strongly encourage students to come into our office and speak with the Externship Program staff if they are thinking of doing an international externship or in the process of finding an opportunity.
University approval required for travel
Once you have accepted an offer for an international placement, please fill out the approval forms below and return them to the Externship Office. If approved by the Externship Office, your forms, along with a program description, and a copy of the country's risk assessment, will be submitted for approval to the Office of the Dean, and to the Office of the Provost. You will not be permitted to receive academic credit for an international externship unless you have received approval for international travel from the University. All externships must be approved by the University and the law school. Placements deemed unsafe will not be permitted.
Travel Health Insurance
Upon approval, the University will provide travel health insurance. For more information on the travel insurance coverage provided, please visit www.american.edu/finance/rmehs/inttravel.cfm/.
It is the student’s responsibility to get a visa. We recommend students to start the process early and plan ahead, because the visa process has tightened considerably.