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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Fabrice Kampfen - report


August 2014 - August 2015



Brown University


Department of Economics



The Department of Economics is housed in historic Robinson Hall, a superb Venetian Gothic style building, ideally located close to the Rockfeller library and the Main Green, the heart of campus life.

Brown University is admittedly a rather small university but it is full of life and energy. it did not take me long to realize that I was about to live an amazing experience.

From an academic perspective, the two-weeks long math camp early in September put me rapidly on the right track and prepared me well for the coming semester. The world-renowned faculty members of the economics department were very friendly and accessible, making my first weeks of experience much more enjoyable and the atmosphere truly pleasurable


Paperwork is always annoying and time-consuming. Visa, housing, change of address and health insurance, to name but a few, are things that need to be taken care of before leaving. That being said, after having applied to dozen of Grad Schools, it did not really feel like an hassle to overcome the very last administrative obstacles.

At the end of the day, the transition from my quiet Swiss life to the more energetic American lifestyle went well and without any issues.

Just remember that planning is key.


Providence is a small city and the airport is not that far from campus. I had two large suitcases with me so, as one can imagine, it was much more convenient for me to just take a taxi and go to my apartment.

Brown University organizes every year two days of orientation for international students plus an additional day for graduate students. It was very well orchestrated and designed in such a way that graduate students from different academic departments were seated at the same table. I found the idea original as I was able to talk to students with interests other than mine and rapidly make contacts with people around the campus. During these days of orientation, Brown University explains to its freshly admitted grad students all the possibilities that Brown can offer them, ranging from different events they could attend, to various sport activities, clubs and  student groups. It was great to feel that we, as first year students, were helped to make our first steps into our new life. 


The Auxiliary Housing Office at Brown University has a program that is designed to assist grad students with housing in their first year. I opted for this program because the process for filling out the application was very easy and the staff was easy to work with. I ended up in a cozy little apartment, fully furnished and ideally located. 


As mentioned above, there was a lot of clubs and social events organized by the University and the students themselves. Unfortunately, I could not take part in these events as I was spending most of my time in the library.


I did not expect to have any free time and social life during my first year as a PhD student. And I was right !




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