Study Abroad

"Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Cape Verde"
"Cidade Velha, Santiago Island, Cape Verde"   © 2023 Roger Williams University

They say the only way to learn another legal system is to embrace the culture, and these programs provide that opportunity."

Cape Verde*

Dates: June 2 - July 1, 2024

Application Deadline: March 31, 2024

Applicants may apply beginning October 1, 2023

Apply Here

This unique and exciting study abroad program will enable students to learn about the legal history and importance in American history of the Republic of Cape Verde. The Cape Verdean islands were a significant transit point in the Transatlantic Slave Trade from the 16th century until the middle of the 19th century. The economy and legal history of the Republic are both intimately bound up with the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Further, the Africa Organized Crime Index of 2021 states that “Cabo Verde is mainly a country of origin for children exploited for sex trafficking and a destination for West African women forced into prostitution.” The program will examine these facts their legal history, and the legal, social, and historical contexts of Cape Verde and its relationship to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. In addition to classroom instruction, students will have the opportunity to visit Gorèe Island, off the coast of Senegal, which historically served as a storehouse and depot for the slave trade. This will include a class on Piracy, its maritime and legal history in the region, and its role in the Transatlantic human trade that developed. The site visit will provide students with a firsthand understanding of the historical and cultural context of the slave trade, particularly its impact on Cape Verde and its connection to Bristol, Rhode Island.

Faculty Bios

Professor Bernard K. Freamon

Professor Bernard K. Freamon is a published author and holds a J.S.D. from Columbia University School of Law, a LL.M. from Columbia University School of Law, a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law, and a B.A. in Anthropology from Wesleyan University. Professor Freamon is a full time faculty member at Roger Williams University School of Law. This 2-credit course aims to provide a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of the pervasive scourge of slavery and human trafficking in Cape Verde, examining its historical roots and contemporary manifestations, and situating it within the broader transatlantic context of the global slave trade. The course will also shed light on the interconnection between Cape Verde and Bristol, Rhode Island, and their historical ties to the slave trade. Professor Freamon's extensive experience and expertise in study abroad, human trafficking, and slavery make him an invaluable asset in studying the slave trade and its current impact on Cape Verde today.

Professor Freamon is also Roger Williams University School of Law's on-site Director. He is a highly qualified and experienced professional who brings a unique perspective to the Cape Verde Study Abroad Program. He served as the director of Seton Hall Law School’s Cairo Summer program for eleven years, the first and only American Bar Association-approved study abroad program in the Arabic-speaking Middle East. With an enrollment of 30 to 40 law students each year, the program employed faculty from various American Bar Association-accredited law schools and the United Nations. In addition to his directorial role in Cairo, Professor Freamon also directed the Zanzibar Winter program at Seton Hall and, in that program, he taught an innovative course on slavery and human trafficking. Moreover, he currently serves as the President of the Bristol Middle Passage Port Marker Project in Bristol, Rhode Island, which has received approval to erect a memorial in Bristol’s Independence Park to the African and Indigenous victims and survivors of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.Professor Freamon’s diverse experience and expertise will be invaluable in enhancing this program and providing students with an immersive and meaningful learning experience.

Professor Jonathan Gutoff

Professor Jonathan Gutoff is a tenured faculty member at Roger Williams University School of Law since 1997. He is one of the nation’s top experts in piracy and maritime law issues. As a highly regarded scholar and frequent speaker at regional, national, and international conferences, Professor Gutoff brings invaluable expertise on piracy law. His 1-credit course on piracy law will not only provide students with an in-depth understanding of this complex area of law, but also examine its connection to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Cape Verde’s role as a pivotal location in this historical trade. With Professor Gutoff's guidance, students will be able to explore how piracy and maritime law have impacted Cape Verde's cultural and socio-legal environment, and how it continues to shape the region's legal framework today.

Relevant State Department Travel Information, including Travel Advisories and Warnings

For more information, please email Professor Bernard Freamon at

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.