Did you know that HLS allows JD students to spend semester abroad? Turns out, HLS has great exchange partnerships with schools located in two French-speaking cities: Geneva and Paris. You can find some information below and testimonies from HLS students and friends of the Society.

Geneva (Switzerland)

You can go to Geneva, Switzerland, and study at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the University of Geneva! Find more information here. We highly recommend considering a semester abroad in Geneva if, on top of practicing your French, you want to focus on international law–more specifically public international law, human rights law, and international arbitration–and work in international organizations, international NGOs, in arbitration firms, or for the State Department or other agencies dealing with international affairs.

Founded in 1927, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (abbreviated IHEID in French) is continental Europe’s oldest school of international relations and was the world’s first graduate school dedicated solely to the study of international affairs. The school has one of the largest international law department in the world, and its public international law program is considered one of the best and most comprehensive.

HLS Alumn Hayley Evans, JD’19, did her exchange there and this is what she has to say:

“I decided to participate in an exchange program in order to support what I hope will be my future international legal career. I think participation in an exchange program is especially valuable for anyone wishing to pursue international law, for the diversity of ideas, curricular offerings, students and faculty compared to that available at one’s home institution. To grow as a critical thinker and an effective lawyer, it is vital to challenge one’s preconceived notions about justice; one of the best ways to do so is through a comparative approach. With the Graduate Institute’s strength in development studies, academic departments covering a range of conceptual and methodological skills, and the international law program itself offering courses cross-listed to students from other disciplines, I developed not only novel approaches to problem solving, but also wonderful new colleagues and friends. With francophone Geneva, the Institute’s bilingualism, and broad accommodation for French courses, I was also able to brush up on my French skills—something I was able to continue doing at Harvard College upon my return to Cambridge.” 

You can also check out her video testimony below:

Paris (France)

You can also go to Paris, France, and study at Sciences Po! Learn about the conditions here. Going to Paris is probably the best way to practice your French, it is also a great opportunity to explore Europe and have access to the wide variety of international firms having offices in the city. Sciences Po also has solid programs in economic law and international arbitration.

Established in 1872, the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (known as “Sciences Po”) is one of France’s most selective and highly regarded universities. Traditionally known for its academic focus on political science and economics, Sciences Po also offers robust programs in law, communications, finance, business, urban policy, management, and journalism. With a significant international student population and a strong global focus, Sciences Po ranks as one of the world’s elite academic institutions.

We have alumni of all three schools at the Francophone Society, feel free to reach out if you want to talk to them!

For more information on the application process, take a look at HLS’s website here.

If you want more information on your stay in Paris or Geneva, please email us at or contact us through the form below!