One of the many things former Harvardians told me before I embarked on my Master of Laws (LL.M.) at Harvard Law School was that the year would go by very quickly. Of course, they were right. One year at Harvard is indeed short. Yet, as my LL.M. has shown, one can do quite a lot in one year. In this blog post, I provide a snapshot of a year at Harvard Law School, through four seasons.
Arriving in August allowed us to immediately get a taste of what summer in Boston can be like. Whereas the days were marked by sometimes extremely hot temperatures, we soon got a visit from hurricane Henri. This did, however, not take away the fun of meeting our fellow LL.M.’s as orientation continued, and during trips to Cape Cod and New York City good friendships were made. In September, classes started, and we got to experience life on campus as a Harvard law student (think of many eye-opening discussions, interesting readings, and precious cups of coffee).
It is true, autumn in New England is incredibly beautiful. The season started with trip number 1 to Vermont, where the fall foliage is a must-see. The trip was filled with wonderful hikes, lots of hot apple cider, and delicious dinners on the countryside together with LL.M. friends. As we could not get enough of hiking in the fall landscapes, we soon made another hiking trip to New Hampshire, where the views were equally breathtaking.
In November, we took a bus to Yale to watch the well-known Harvard v. Yale game. It goes without saying that, when Harvard won the game, all the Crimson fans were beyond excited. We closed autumn with Vermont trip number 2. I will never forget how cozy it was to have a Thanksgiving dinner with 30 LL.M. friends in a little house surrounded by the snowy Vermont mountains.
After a first exam period and a well-deserved Christmas break, winter had truly come. While everyone was still surprised and charmed by a little snowfall in December, January and February treated us to lots and lots more snow. Several snowball fights and a birthday party during a blizzard later, the weather got better, and we made a great trip to Washington D.C. Another highlight was the Harvard European Law Association (HELA) Conference, which I got to organize as a HELA board member.
Although Spring starts somewhat later in Boston, the blossoms in April were beautiful. During Spring I had the chance to welcome several groups of friends from Belgium and to show them around a colorful Cambridge. Later, as exams drew nearer and paper deadlines approached, many days were spent at the Harvard Law School Library. Fortunately, our hard work was rewarded with an amazing commencement week, filled with interesting ceremonies, speeches, and ultimately with commencement day itself. The short year at Harvard had come to an end and saying goodbye to close friends was hard. Yet, the word ‘commencement’ explains that this was not only an end, but also a beginning. Just like Antonio Vivaldi started his Four Seasons with ‘Spring’, so was this Spring the start of a new journey.
Nina Colpaert is a Belgian 2021-22 Fulbright Student in Law at Harvard University. In May 2022, Nina Colpaert completed the LL.M. (Master of Laws) program at Harvard Law School for which she received the support of Fulbright Belgium. Before starting the LL.M., Nina graduated magna cum laude at KU Leuven and worked as a researcher and teaching assistant at the same university. Next year, she will work at several international and European institutions, and she will, among other things, return to the USA to complete an internship at the United Nations in New York City.Articles are written by Fulbright grantees and do not reflect the opinions of the Fulbright Commission, the grantees’ host institutions, or the U.S. Department of State.