Dec 1, 2016

The founding principle of all the activities of Zdenek and Michaela Bakala is, truly, the courage, which must, according to their belief, always go hand in hand with responsibility.
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Giedre Lideikyte-Huber - report


 2014 August – August 2015


 Harvard University (August 2014-January 2015) and UC Berkeley (February 2015 – August 2015)


 Harvard Law School/ UC Berkeley School of Law


Harvard and Berkeley struck me as top –end universities, bringing together leading scholars and specialists in any legal area. Both of those universities have amazing resources for research and studies.


Preparing to go to the US is already not a very easy task, and if you move with all your family, with two different visas (F1 for Harvard and J1 for Berkeley) – it can become very stressful. I had to fill in 8 different applications, request  an early interview with the US embassy, and go to Bern in person with my husband… In a nutshell, do not underestimate the paperwork in order not to get your visa too late. 

Both Cambridge and Berkeley are incredibly fun places to live – but only if you manage to find a place to live. To be on a safe side, I would highly recommend to book the accommodation in advance – especially if you move in with your family. I have used Harvard University accommodation website, which proved to be very useful in my case.


My advice: Uber is still very affordable in the US, so I made use of it travelling from the airport – especially if you have a lot of suitcases. Else, you can reach both Cambridge and Berkeley from the respective Boston/San Francisco airports by subway, which is decent.

If you arrive at Harvard in August, you will most probably participate in the LLM orientation events – 3 weeks of social gatherings and some introductory lectures on American legal system and theory. Fun!


If you’re there and you still don’t have a place to stay… well, try everything, because the choices are scarce. If you use Craiglist, never ever pay in advance and make sure you visit the place before any formal engagements (they contain a great number of fakes).


The choice of courses, conferences and other academic events is mind-blowing… It is important to put some limits and set a list of priorities. I had to restrict myself to only two seminars per week as my primary goal was my PhD research, however even those two seminars were eating up 1 day per week!


I have met some amazing people, some of which became my close friends. Harvard’s social life is one of the highlights of my stay there. 



© Fondation Zdenek et Michaela Bakala