Studying Law and Exploring New Cultures in Boston

Kwinten Dewaele was a Belgian 2022-2023 Fulbright Student to Harvard University. Kwinten previously studied law at KU Leuven (2014-2019) specializing in economic and private law. After graduating, he joined the Institute for Contract Law at KU Leuven as a junior researcher and teaching assistant. Kwinten completed an LL.M. at Harvard’s Law School. We sat down with Kwinten to ask him about his time in the United States and how it changed his career plans.

Q: “How did you hear about the Fulbright Program? What motivated you to apply, and what do you remember from the selection process?”

“I heard about the Fulbright Program from my home university (KU Leuven) where information sessions on how to go and study abroad also include information on the available fellowships. I always knew that I wanted to go to the United States and was happily surprised to find that the Fulbright Program could aid me make this dream come true. I remember being very nervous for the selection process, but I also remember everyone being very kind and helpful through the entire process.”

Q: “Can you describe a typical day in your life in the USA?”

“I would usually wake up, go to the gym or go swimming and get to class or the library to work. Of course, I would also hang out with friends, or go to one of the nice coffee places around town. Additionally, Boston offers a rich cultural life, so on the weekends I would go to visit one of the many museums in the city, go to the ballet or the opera, watch a movie or go hiking.”

Q: “Has the United States been what you expected? In what ways has life in the USA surprised you, either for its similarities to or differences from your own culture?”

“Life in the U.S. is in many ways similar to life in Belgium, although there are some minor differences. Definitely, the best experience was how welcoming everyone was. Additionally, the program at Harvard was by its nature very international, so I got to experience a great mix of cultures from all over the world.”

Q: “What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying to the Fulbright Program?”

“Start applying early enough and take your time. The process of applying can be daunting, but with adequate planning, everything will turn out fine. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out for help to the program, or other people you know. Everyone is very supportive of you!”

Q: “How did your Fulbright experiences help you grow?”

“My Fulbright experience has helped me grow by not only learning me to think differently about familiar topics, but also by inviting me to think about entirely different topics. Courses on leadership underbuilt by behavioral economics gave me better insight into both others and myself and helped me develop into a more confident person. From that perspective, my Fulbright experience has prepared me for positions of responsibility I would not dare take up before coming to the United States.”

Graduation Picture