Traveling during the LL.M. (Part 2)
(5) Long weekends in the 2nd Semester
My absolute favorite tip: Choose your courses smartly in the second semester! Duke hardly ever offers courses on Fridays, so try to keep them free. Some students have even managed to schedule their classes so that they have Mondays and Fridays off. Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect your studies, since you have to earn the same number of credits as everyone else. A little cleverness in the choice of courses can make a lot of things possible. For example, a trip to Puerto Rico. This is one of the destinations that can be reached from the RDU (Durham Airport) at a very reasonable price. With super cheap I am talking about around 150 dollars roundtrip. So if you want to sweeten your LL.M. with Latin American ambiance and Caribbean flair, this is the place to be. We ended up going there with over 20 people and it was probably one of the best trips of the whole year! Unforgettable!
Another short trip was to Charleston at the sea, which was again covered by a rental car. Friends visited the Outer Banks, the Smoky Mountains, Asheville, Nashville, New Orleans, and Wilmington. All places that can be reached cheaply by plane or are partly even optimal for a U.S. classic road trip.
(6) Spring Break
The trip that everyone had already planned for themselves in advance was Spring Break. This was the first time many traveled in smaller groups. It is a good idea to start planning at the end of the previous year to get cheap flights or accommodations. Some went on a longer road trip, some went to California, others to Las Vegas. For me it went via Atlanta to Costa Rica with a few days in Panama and then unforgettable days in Colombia. With this I made a small dream possible, namely to travel Central and Latin America in parts. Something that was much cheaper for me from here than from Europe. If you plan to do the same, start planning early enough — it’s definitely worth it! What’s more is the added value you get from the people you meet in your year. Traveling becomes much more intimate and less touristy. In Colombia, a fellow student’s sister took us around Bogota and in Costa Rica, I went to the rainforest with a local friend. All experiences that I would have experienced in this form!
7) Between Last Day of Finals and Graduation
Another opportunity that is ideal for a joint final trip with the new friends is the period after the exams and before graduation. We end our trip together similar to how we started it, only with a lot more experiences and friendships in our luggage. Again we go with more than 20 people to a big villa, this time in Myrtle Beach at the ocean and there we finish the LL.M. together!
(8) Before and after the LL.M.
Your visa allows you to be in the USA before and after the LL.M. for a grace period. This is a natural opportunity to get to know the country better. You can also travel to other countries before or after leaving the country. For me it goes over Argentina and Brazil back to Germany. A trip that still sounds surreal to me. When planning your trip, you should only keep in mind that — if you want to take the bar exam — you will have to start studying immediately after the LL.M.