General Guidance Request - Is European Law/International Law the right path for me?


Greetings!

I am sorry in advance for what is probably going to be a big wall of text, here it goes.

I graduated from Law School in 2017 (Portugal) and wasn't really thrilled about any of the Masters that were avaliable in my University, so I decided I'd go straight into the BAR preparation course + law internship and let the experience show me the right path, I decided I'd choose a masters later on.

Well truth be told, during Law School I really liked European Law as well as International Law, but thought it was too idyllic to actually make it in such an environment and the idea got lost in me by the end of my graduation.

Long story short, I am not particularly enjoying my current path, the internship is unpaid and it'll last unitl I conclude my agregation exam (June 2019), I attend the classes regularly (I am in one as I write this thread), and my mentor also has a very demotivating speech regarding the state of law practice in Portugal. In conclusion I am not at all excited about my career choices, I'd even go as far to say I am quite miserable.

There's always that latent feeling of "What if" regarding taking a leap of faith and delving into European/International Law. I always felt very asphyxiated to follow a career path that constrained me to Portugal, and was always very keen of multicultural settings and loved to travel and meet new cultures but for some reason, perhaps fear, at some point I decided that it maybe was better to just follow the stream and go with the flow.
I was never a brilliant student, not a bad one either, I pulled off decent, sometimes good grades without much motivation to do better. I felt like maybe I'd just become a lawyer like everyone else, but now that I am on that path it just doesn't feel right.

I discovered this website and some European/international law programs and for the first time in months was thrilled about something in regards to my future career, I started thinking about life in other countries and learning in a multicultural environment, learning about how to make a bigger impact in Europe or the World and it got me out of bed in the middle of the night to search for more and more programs.

I have plenty of economical limitations so some programs were (sadly) discarded entirely, but I found so many interesting ones that I was lead to write this discussion in hopes of finding someone who can shed some light on me as I truly feel very misplaced currently.

So, here are the questions:
1) Do I need to do the BAR Exam in Portugal to practice European/International Law?
2) My end goal would be to work in an European Institution or an NGO, how feasible is this?
3) Taking into consideration what I've said above, what is a good Masters Program in order to fulfill my goal described in 2)?
4) Are the Master Degrees only the ones with a time span of 2 years? Being the ones with 1 year duration mere Post-Graduations?

[Edited by Iseekguidance on Feb 28, 2018]

Greetings!

I am sorry in advance for what is probably going to be a big wall of text, here it goes.

I graduated from Law School in 2017 (Portugal) and wasn't really thrilled about any of the Masters that were avaliable in my University, so I decided I'd go straight into the BAR preparation course + law internship and let the experience show me the right path, I decided I'd choose a masters later on.

Well truth be told, during Law School I really liked European Law as well as International Law, but thought it was too idyllic to actually make it in such an environment and the idea got lost in me by the end of my graduation.

Long story short, I am not particularly enjoying my current path, the internship is unpaid and it'll last unitl I conclude my agregation exam (June 2019), I attend the classes regularly (I am in one as I write this thread), and my mentor also has a very demotivating speech regarding the state of law practice in Portugal. In conclusion I am not at all excited about my career choices, I'd even go as far to say I am quite miserable.

There's always that latent feeling of "What if" regarding taking a leap of faith and delving into European/International Law. I always felt very asphyxiated to follow a career path that constrained me to Portugal, and was always very keen of multicultural settings and loved to travel and meet new cultures but for some reason, perhaps fear, at some point I decided that it maybe was better to just follow the stream and go with the flow.
I was never a brilliant student, not a bad one either, I pulled off decent, sometimes good grades without much motivation to do better. I felt like maybe I'd just become a lawyer like everyone else, but now that I am on that path it just doesn't feel right.

I discovered this website and some European/international law programs and for the first time in months was thrilled about something in regards to my future career, I started thinking about life in other countries and learning in a multicultural environment, learning about how to make a bigger impact in Europe or the World and it got me out of bed in the middle of the night to search for more and more programs.

I have plenty of economical limitations so some programs were (sadly) discarded entirely, but I found so many interesting ones that I was lead to write this discussion in hopes of finding someone who can shed some light on me as I truly feel very misplaced currently.

So, here are the questions:
1) Do I need to do the BAR Exam in Portugal to practice European/International Law?
2) My end goal would be to work in an European Institution or an NGO, how feasible is this?
3) Taking into consideration what I've said above, what is a good Masters Program in order to fulfill my goal described in 2)?
4) Are the Master Degrees only the ones with a time span of 2 years? Being the ones with 1 year duration mere Post-Graduations?
quote
You sound really passionate about it so imo you should go for it! Life's too short to do something you're unhappy with. If the worst case scenario is you wake up a few years time and say 'I studied something I loved but it didn't work out' that has to be better than always wondering what might have been. I can't answer questions 2-4, but on Q1. I think it's quite unusual to practice purely in international/EU law, you're more likely to be advising businesses/NGOs etc. about how international law affects them in your home jurisdiction. Don't forget the majority of EU law is argued in front of national courts, only a small percentage trickles through to the ECJ. Even in EU institutions they want to see you know how to handle practical legal materials. So passing the Bar in Portugal is probably a good idea.

Good luck!
You sound really passionate about it so imo you should go for it! Life's too short to do something you're unhappy with. If the worst case scenario is you wake up a few years time and say 'I studied something I loved but it didn't work out' that has to be better than always wondering what might have been. I can't answer questions 2-4, but on Q1. I think it's quite unusual to practice purely in international/EU law, you're more likely to be advising businesses/NGOs etc. about how international law affects them in your home jurisdiction. Don't forget the majority of EU law is argued in front of national courts, only a small percentage trickles through to the ECJ. Even in EU institutions they want to see you know how to handle practical legal materials. So passing the Bar in Portugal is probably a good idea.

Good luck!
quote
Thanks for you reply!

You are absolutely right, that worst case scenario does seem way better than wondering if I made the wrong decision until the end of my life.
I am becoming progressively less interested in spending another year and some months to attend that BAR exam though, I'm on the verge of dropping out and applying for some Master programmes since some application deadlines begin next month.

Hopefully I can get some more great insight on this
Thanks for you reply!

You are absolutely right, that worst case scenario does seem way better than wondering if I made the wrong decision until the end of my life.
I am becoming progressively less interested in spending another year and some months to attend that BAR exam though, I'm on the verge of dropping out and applying for some Master programmes since some application deadlines begin next month.

Hopefully I can get some more great insight on this
quote

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