Uliana Bazavluk wanted an education that focused on the student. The next logical step was to move from the bustling cultural capital of Russia to the much smaller, charming city of Danville, Kentucky to pursue a liberal arts education.
She has no regrets. The international studies and French major at Centre College (Centre) initially found the drastic change in environment to be challenging, but the hospitality and tight-knit community at Centre made her feel at home quickly.
“The absolute highlight of my first year at Centre, and of my time here afterwards, has been the people,’’ she says. “I was very fortunate in finding my own community of lovely, supportive, inspiring friends from all over the world here, who have truly made Centre feel like home.”
For Bazavluk, there is no shortage of hidden gems around Danville, recognised as one of the best college towns in the South and named the most beautiful small city in Kentucky, according to an MSN listing. Plenty of historical, cultural and natural attractions are located around Danville or within a short driving distance. They include, but are not limited to the Art Centre of the Bluegrass, Great American Dollhouse Museum, Millennium Park, Constitution Square, Shaker Village, Kentucky Bourbon Trail as well as the Historic Merchants Row.
Danville is a haven for nature lovers. Surrounded by rolling hills, scenic state parks and national forests, it offers a wealth of recreational and outdoor activities that can be experienced by students and visitors alike. Students can venture further to the neighbouring cities of Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati too.
Life on Centre College’s campus is just as enthralling. International students forge friendships and connections quickly amongst a sea of new faces. It didn’t take long for International Studies student Ibrahim Al-Aboosi from Iraq to feel at home.
“I received emails from professors, advisors and staff – all reminding me that they were by my side,” enthused Al-Aboosi. “After a month, I felt strongly in touch with many international students on campus, because many of them simply reached out, wanting to meet or have a meal together. A year in, lots of those early connections blossomed into friendships.”
At Centre, it’s easy to make friends from all walks of life. Whether they’re local or from abroad, a staff or student, you’ll be able to find and connect with someone at the 87 campus organisations or more than 2,000 campus events held every year.
Harnessing personal growth by sparking intellectual curiosity
Centre’s small liberal arts setting fosters a nurturing and close-knit environment by providing students with consistent support, mentoring and guidance so they can make the most out of their four-year experience at Centre College.
Besides the superb teaching quality across its more than 50 majors, minors, pre-professional and dual degree programmes, faculty members ensure students gain experiences that complement their degrees. Just ask graduate Khun Nyan Min Htet from Myanmar.
The International Studies major lists “adaptability” as the most practical skill he learned at Centre. “Different experiences and environments thrown at me throughout my time at Centre forced me to adapt and evolve in the ways I approach life,” he says. “In a fast-changing world, this skill is a necessity. Centre has a unique way of helping students acquire this skill through various experiences (study abroad, internships, research, extracurricular activities, etc.)”
Htet eventually went on to pursue a master’s degree at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
His success is typical of Centre’s graduates. For the graduation class of 2020, 39% of Centre graduates went on to pursue a postgraduate programme at some of the top institutions in the US, while 57% managed to find employment within one year of graduating. Its above average graduate outcomes are credited to the faculty’s genuine care of the personal and professional success of its students, not just from an academic perspective but a non-academic perspective as well.
Among the graduate schools for which Centre graduates have been admitted include but are not limited to Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, George Washington University, Wake Forest University, Boston University, Columbia University, London School of Economics and Politics, as well as New York University.
Hands-on approach to learning beyond the classroom
Centre College helps students develop valuable skills that make them stand out in a competitive job market. Internship opportunities are plenty at Centre, with 75% of students participating in an internship before they graduate. Undergoing an internship has helped students assess possible career opportunities and gain relevant work experience. They can polish their resume, making them more marketable to employers. Plus, internships help them expand their network, opening up greater career opportunities.
Graduates John Anderson and Branham Chandler undertook the internship experience of a lifetime when they won a placement under the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to pursue a four week internship in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“Living in Ethiopia for four weeks provided me with a unique first-hand experience that would not have been possible by researching economic development just from the US,” Anderson said. “This internship has also been beneficial to me because I am considering going into the foreign service as a career and I now have more realistic expectations about life as a foreign service officer.’’
Besides internship opportunities, the faculty members at Centre are hands-on with mentoring students who would like to complete research projects during the summer, at no additional costs. This opens up opportunities for students to challenge themselves beyond classroom discussion and testing.
Among the programmes that students can participate in as part of their undergraduate research programme include Research, Internships, and Creative Endeavours (RICE), John C.Young Scholars, 400-level independent research courses, summer research, and more.
If students wish to expand their horizons, they can do so by participating in one of Centre’s highly acclaimed study abroad programmes. Professors tag along students during the study abroad programme, sharing their wealth of knowledge of different cultural contexts and insights and giving an experiential learning opportunity beyond the classroom experience. Besides that, professors plan trips and activities to enhance their learning pursuits while abroad too.
More than four in five (85%) Centre students join a study abroad programme at least once, making Centre College one of the top three schools in the US for international opportunities. The study abroad programme capitalises on its efforts to instill personalised and impactful learning for its students, providing meaningful experiences that will benefit students in their future careers.
Financial aid such as merit scholarships are awarded to international students who may require financial assistance, and generous scholarships covering up to a full ride are offered too. To learn more about how you can apply to become an international student at Centre College, click here.