A blonde woman in a suit smiling at the camera against a white background

Patricia Kersys

2016-2017 Scholar

Being admitted to the University of Cambridge, a leading academic institution with rich history, is in itself invaluable. However, receiving a prestigious, merit-based scholarship as the only member of Christ’s College and the LLM programme indeed approaches a miracle for any student. This is exactly the reason why I felt utterly lucky, privileged and touched by becoming the recipient of the George Spyrou LLM Scholarship in the academic year of 2016/2017. Funding of studies is usually a student’s Achilles heel, thus from the moment of the arrival of the congratulations e-mail I felt a relief for being able to enrol in the Master of Law course. I did not know back then that this scholarship, the possibility of studying at Cambridge would not only spread my wings by enabling me to pursue further legal education, but also affect my personality, world view and goals in life.

It is certainly impossible to summarize this academic year I spent in Cambridge. It is, however, doubtless that the only people who can truly comprehend Cambridge, the challenging and stimulating nature of the LLM programme, and the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Christ’s College, are those who experienced it themselves. From the very first day until the last one, every single day impressed me both academically and socially. As for the LLM, it enabled me to specialize in commercial law, as I opted for papers such as Corporate Governance, Economics of Law and Regulation, International Commercial Litigation and Law and Information. The feeling of attending lectures of distinguished academics and practitioners, the authors of widely acclaimed textbooks, was already second to none. This was accomplished by the innovative nature of the curriculum, the supportive workshops and the fascinating arguments and reasoning we heard by the course convenors. Furthermore, being surrounded by like-minded students from all over the world, admirers of law, having endless conversations with them scrutinizing the lectures and content of reading lists made the programme extraordinary and infinitely stimulating, and inspired me to improve my skills. Whilst the intellectually demanding programme symbolized the education and training of the highest quality, Christ’s College was my home from the day of my arrival, with all the socially and emotionally unforgettable moments relating thereto. The most remarkable moments nonetheless centred around the fact of being a scholar at Christ’s: living in First Court which was built centuries ago, sitting in Darwin’s chair in the Master’s Lodge, attending the Scholar’s Ceremony and being seated at the high table where all the great minds savoured dinners, as well of course as finally having the pleasure of meeting George’s family and friends and learning more about him and his life. Personally, these were the moments which reminded me of what I have been striving for in life.

These nine months of studies passed in the blink of an eye. My studies, however have not ended – I am currently waiting for my year-long conversion course to start, so that I can immerse myself in the world of common law and the English legal system enabling me to qualify as a solicitor in England. I have already been awarded a merit-based scholarship supporting my studies. Before commencing the conversion course, however, I will finish my IT law courses I undertook last year, and become a certified IT law specialist by gaining a narrower specialization along my commercial law LLM. Although my family and all my friends could confirm that I am fond of studying, the proximity of commencing work really excites me since I will finally be able to adjust the already acquired skills and theoretical knowledge to legal practice.

Retrospectively, Cambridge has taught me a lot - it enriched my legal knowledge and skills, broadened my range of interests, and deepened my ambitions. Even though Cambridge and Christ’s sometimes might have seemed to be unrealistic as a place, studying in this fairy tale town represented everything that life is about: dedicated, hard work, often sleepless nights, battles with our own limits, but on the other hand, indescribable joy upon overcoming challenges, the taste of victory, compelling conversations, laughter, lifelong friendships and the various aspects of the relationship with ourselves and each other. At the end of our time in Cambridge, I and all my friends agreed that what is exceptional about this place and thus the whole Cambridge experience is the people one gets to meet there. Be it the outstanding academic in the lecture hall or the students during a college dinner, to me everyone was exceptional along with the relationships I maintained with them.

What is special about the George Spyrou Scholarship is its history and its emotive string – it relates to the late George, who must have been an extraordinary person for his family and friends to have established this source of funding. In other words, to me this scholarship embodies memory and human relationships. The memory of Cambridge, the LLM programme and Christ’s now live in me as well and will live in all the future scholars. I would like to thank all the benefactors for placing your trust in me and selecting me as a scholar. I am wholeheartedly grateful for providing me with the merriest, most colourful year of my life both academically and socially. I believe the scholarship has prepared me for my life: it improved me professionally, emotionally, and made me more certain about my future. Despite having finished my studies at Cambridge, this true wonderland, I know that it was not the end for me, but the beginning of a new era.

An Indian woman in glasses smiling at the camera

Ranjini Das

2017-2018 Scholar 

Being awarded the George Spyrou Scholarship made it possible for me to fulfil my dream to read for the Masters of Law (LLM) programme at the University of Cambridge and I will forever remain indebted and deeply grateful to the Spyrou family and the other benefactors. While I had been given an offer of acceptance for the Cambridge LLM in 2014 as well, owing solely to financial constraints I could not confirm my acceptance then and had it not been for the grant of the Spyrou endowment last year, reading law at Cambridge would have perhaps never been a reality for me. The Spyrou Scholarship offered me much more than just funding and made my time at Cambridge a truly bespoke experience – for instance I was admitted as a Scholar of Christ’s College and by virtue thereof was seated at the high table with the College Master for all the ceremonial college feasts, and even received priority accommodation in the heart of Cambridge city centre.

The LLM has been a tremendously enriching and fulfilling experience both in terms of knowledge and exposure. Since I had been a practising corporate lawyer prior to the LLM, I chose to specialise further in the commercial laws and took up corporate finance, international finance, intellectual property law and competition law as part of my LLM. The classroom discussions at the Faculty of Law supplemented by the intensive small group workshops and submission of formative essays for feedback at periodic intervals was the perfect way to ensure effective professor-student interaction, help the student identify and appreciate nuances, gain conceptual clarity and overall promote argumentative and critical thinking.

While it was the Spyrou Scholarship that had made me choose Christ’s as my preferred college, I have been more than satisfied with my decision to be a graduate student at Christ’s. The College has been truly exceptional for both its pastoral and academic support and has been a home away from home for me. The College accords due importance to academic excellence and provides the student with all necessary infrastructure and resources to make his / her Cambridge experience worthwhile and memorable. The pertinent feedback provided by my Director of Studies and the timely administrative support received from the tutorial and accommodations office was beyond compare. I dedicate and attribute my first-class honours in the LLM to the support that I have received from the College and all its members.

Post the LLM, I returned back to India and am currently employed as Deputy General Manager in the in-house legal team of Lodha Group, India’s largest real estate developer. The institutional pedigree of the University of Cambridge coupled with my first-class honours in the LLM made it easy enough for me to find a job within a month of the completion of the LLM. I do have plans of returning back to Christ’s and Cambridge for pursuing a PhD in the near future. I look forward to being a part of the growing community of Spyrou scholars and cherish my association with Christ’s and the University of Cambridge.  I would once again like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the donors of the Spyrou Scholarship for this offer of substantial funding that helped me achieve one of the biggest milestones of my life.