Amar Puri was always certain of his future in engineering. However, he knew that to achieve excellence, leaving Nepal was crucial. The people closest to him agreed. Immediately after graduating high school, they joined in on the search for Puri’s ultimate study abroad experience. All signs led to one destination: Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
“Firstly, I really liked how Knox is deeply committed to ‘The Power of Experience’,” he says. “Secondly, coming from Nepal, yearly college cost of attendance was impossible for my parents to pay in full.”
Many would agree that an experience-powered education like Knox’s is priceless. Oftentimes, research, internship, community service, and study abroad opportunities alongside a quality education come with a hefty price tag, but not here. This liberal arts college takes great pride in gifting international students with generous financial aid packages.
They are professionals at crafting seamless transitions as well. Puri’s homesickness was cured within days thanks to welcoming peers and staff. And the foundation year course titled “This American Life,” helped him absorb and appreciate his new surroundings.
With Knox’s various forms of support, Puri embarked on his journey to mastery with confidence. The Computer Science major’s journey has been experiential from the jump. While each lesson was unique to Puri, one stood out the most.
“Software Development and Proficiency Practice were the most memorable,” he says. “It was the first class where I got the opportunity to work in a team of three students. We worked on creating a mobile game throughout the terms. I also got to learn various software development procedures and practices that are still useful for me as a professional.”
As a Knox student, opportunities were plenty. Puri was selected to attend a study abroad trip to London, he interned at Tesla and conducted research. Puri received a US$3,000 Mellon grant, which he used to travel to Nepal and create software for students in rural areas in need of text materials. Puri credits these experiences for bringing his passion to life. By the time he graduated, Tesla had already offered him a full-time position.
At Knox, every student is nurtured to achieve similar success. Educators here believe every opportunity only adds to a student’s employability. Through hands-on, real-world situations, they gain the skills needed to think critically and creatively; communicate clearly; adapt to new technologies; and navigate today’s interconnected world — 90% of them conduct independent research, study, or creative work. It’s a recipe for success aspiring wordsmith, Shuchita Poddar, cannot wait to taste.
Hailing from India, her first feel of professional life came from Knox’s Office of Communications. Her job revolved around drafting social media posts and conceptualising new ideas for the college’s platforms.
“Early on, I took the time to get to understand the Knox brand and how content is created,” she explains. “I would spend two days creating posts for the week, three days coming up with ideas and the rest of my time looking at analytics to see how posts are performing. Students knew about my position, so they tell me about things happening on campus. I use their insights to develop ideas for my posts.”
Poddar finds plenty of inspiration on her own as well. The Creative Writing major is also senior class president, co-president for the international club, vice president for Alpha Phi Omega, fiction editor for Cellar Door, member of the Union Board, and choreographer for Knox’s Terpsichore Dance Collective.
Every lesson or meeting comes with countless chances to gain international perspectives. “I’ve made friends from Japan, Myanmar, Jordan, Nepal, Morocco, and Pakistan,” Poddar explains.
The vast array of backgrounds is no coincidence. Knox is committed to social justice, providing an accessible education to all qualified students. Little wonder why it ranks among America’s top 50 most diverse campuses, with a community that includes a wide array of races, ethnicities, ages, cultures, backgrounds, genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, and beliefs.
Early exposure to professional life and constant interaction with students from diverse backgrounds thoroughly prepared Poddar for her internship with FlyDubai. “I’m proofreading their crew manual right now to make sure it aligns with their style guide,” she explains.
“I’m working for a great team — it kind of reminds me of the communications office at Knox. Especially coming to Dubai, I sit with people from everywhere. I was able to understand some of the Arabic because of my Knox friends from Jordan, Morocco and Syria. Furthermore, if I had not written posts for Knox, I wouldn’t be able to work with colour palettes, fonts, and graphic style guides. I have grown so much and I have so much more to learn.”