Engaged, innovative and productive global citizens – this is what students pursuing an education at Knox College evolve into. Located in Galesburg, Illinois, Knox is home to a diverse community of students, faculty and staff.
Don’t be surprised to find people shaking your hand and welcoming you here. It feels like a place where good people do great work and don’t make a huge deal about it. Just ask international students Archi Norek and Hina Kurihara.
For Kurihara, home is a place with opportunities to follow one’s curiosities and autonomy to one’s own time and space without judgement. “Knox is one of my ‘homes.’ It opened up an opportunity to explore gender equality across the world with my own eyes,” Kurihara says. “Thus, throughout college, I studied abroad in Japan and Sweden, which I couldn’t have done without Knox’s support and its openness to learn across the campus.”
A Knox education is defined by “The Power of Experience.” Students here are given the chance to participate in research or creative work, internships, community service, or study abroad opportunities that help them gain the skills needed for success after Knox. These experiences spur them to think critically and creatively, to communicate clearly, to adapt to new technologies, and to navigate today’s interdependent and interconnected world.
In a Women and Film class by Professor Robert Smith, student Archi Norek learned about how simple things like lightning and camera angles can shape how an audience views a character.
“We watched movies across all genres and timelines in class and had readings and discussions based on them. The class generated interesting dialogues and I loved learning about the male gaze in cinema and exploring the audience’s relationship with the characters,” says the Creative Writing and Gender and Women’s Studies double major.
Most of Norek’s classes are “simply delightful.” “I am always excited to get to my classes and hone my skills as a writer and a person,” says the international student born in Bangladesh. “The professors here are the kindest, most supportive human beings ever, and they believe in you no matter what.”
Khyati Shah, a Political Science and Spanish graduate, agrees. “The professors and the administrative teams work in conjunction to always support the best options for the students. I particularly remember Professor Jorge Prats going out of his way to ensure everyone’s safety and happiness while in the study abroad program in Spain,” she says.
“He would make time to take each student out on their birthday for lunch; honestly, this just doesn’t happen anywhere else. Even today, Spanish has been an incredible new skill that I have gained, and Barcelona was a turning point in my life. This is an experience I would have easily missed out on had it not been for the personal support received at Knox.”
Driven by a historic commitment to social justice and access to education for all students, Knox is considered one of the most diverse campuses in the country. It is a melting pot of races, ethnicities, ages, cultures, backgrounds, genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, and beliefs. This is further demonstrated through the “Introduction of Intergroup Dialogue” course in the academic programme, providing students, faculty, and staff with tools needed to explore the hard questions and to communicate openly and honestly with each other.
Norek gets to apply all of this as a Resident Assistant on campus, the current Co-President of International Club, an International Ambassador, Layout and Design Editor for the literary magazine “Cellar Door,” among many other roles.
Norek is open to try out many roles because they know they have support every step of the way. “It’s okay when you fail, because you will have the nicest people around you to pick you back up so that you can try again,” says Norek.
Student wellbeing is at the heart of the Knox experience. International students are supported by the Office for Intercultural Life and Office of International Student Services, and students are encouraged to share concerns while adjusting to life and college in a new country. What’s more, the Knox community celebrates and embraces different heritage and traditions through student clubs and organisations and cultural centres.
“One of the exciting things I found by coming here was how people are interested in Japanese culture,” says Kurihara. “As an exec member of the Japanese club, I host weekly events to enhance the people-to-people exchanges for mutual understanding. Some events we hosted last term included planning for an imaginary trip to Japan together and cooking traditional Japanese sweets.”
It’s a truly inclusive community where everyone can learn the most from the people least like them. Compelling human beings who do not think or act or dress in the way that you think or act or dress surround you. What could be more inspiring?
Take the next step toward becoming a Knox student here.
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