American students from the world-famous Harvard University have been welcomed to UCFB this month as part of a student exchange programme which was set-up earlier in the academic year.

UCFB students Joshua Easterbrook and Jan Kozlowski completed stage one of the programme when they visited the institution late last year to experience the Ivy League university and why it’s revered around the world. Here, Josh, a BA (Hons) Sports Business & Sports Law student, describes the experience…

Before I headed to Harvard Law School (HLS), I thought I had a pretty good understanding and preconceived idea of what the way of life was over there – but it turns out I was completely wrong! From the fan engagement at sporting events to ordering drinks at a bar, it is a totally different experience to here in the UK.

Harvard is an Ivy League university and revered around the world.

I had a couple of days on my own to explore Boston before I met up with Jan, the two Harvard students and my professor for the week, and I was lucky enough to get a ticket to the New England Patriots vs Cleveland Browns NFL game on the Sunday before we began our experience at Harvard. I have been to a couple of NFL games before at Wembley Stadium, but nothing compares to being in the States watching the six-time Super Bowl winners play in their own back yard – even if torrential rain poured throughout the match!

We arrived at HLS early on the Monday morning and undertook a tour with the professor, which provided us with an opportunity to learn the history and background of the somewhat dark roots that Harvard was founded upon. This really allowed things to be put into perspective; showing how lucky we were to be given an opportunity to study at, and experience the campus.

The following day we attended the first class of the sports law clinic which we were there to participate in. This focused on the formation and building of a contract, plus the representation of a professional athlete in American sport. It gave us an insight into the differences between the US and European system which was hugely beneficial for my dissertation: ‘The legality of the US draft and could the European transfer system replace it?’

The pair went to a Boston Celtics NBA game.

Wednesday provided us with some time to really make use of the incredible educational facilities that they have at HLS. We explored and studied at the infamous Law Library, before meeting up with our professor and student counterparts, and heading to a Boston Celtics NBA game. The fan engagement at the venue was second to none and you can see how far ahead American sport is in terms of commercialisation, when compared to English sport.

Thursday saw us participate in another of the sports law clinic classes, but this time we had the opportunity to debate and discuss legal topics with Mike Zarren, the General Manager and Legal Counsel for the Boston Celtics, and Joe Rossen, Legal Counsel and Player Representation in Major League Baseball. This gave me the chance to gain credible experts to interview for my dissertation.

Joshua and Jan attended the Harvard University vs Dartmouth University college football game.

Finally, the last day of our tenure at HLS allowed us to experience what famous American college sport is all about, as we were given tickets and access to the VIP tailgate for the Harvard University vs Dartmouth University American football game.

The stadium was built to represent a coliseum, and the game itself attracted a crowd of 20,000 – one that most Championship teams in England would be proud of. Harvard lost on a last second ‘hail mary’ touchdown which left a sour taste in the stadium, but we headed over to the ladies’ ice hockey match, where we took in the action from the comfort of the player’s family room, capping off what was a truly memorable experience for myself and Jan.