What is your picture of the perfect university life? Let me guess. A lot of you probably have the scene from every Hollywood college movie in your head. Sky shot of the huge university campus, followed by a close-up of the big green ﬁelds surrounding the building, focusing on the hundreds of people there – some in a rush, other studying, and then the ones who are there simply enjoying their time. A couple of years before I ﬁnished high school, this is how I imagined my life as a student. My university would be big and old, with long-established traditions. Why not – these things all give a certain sense of security to a young person who is about to enter “real life.” If I had blindly pursued this Hollywood dream, I would have missed the opportunity to make what I consider to be the best choice of my life so far –starting “real life” at a small, young university in the process of building its own tradition.
This might sound unusual, but I truly enjoy it when people ask me where I study: my answer leaves them absolutely clueless. I get to explain what KLU actually is, which generates positive reactions every time. I don’t usually go into much detail about things that you can easily ﬁnd online – like the location or information about the programs. Instead, I like to tell them about the KLU experience, which I think you seldom ﬁnd at other universities. I remember my interview during the application process two years ago well – I was applying to become part of the ﬁrst bachelor’s class at the university. I probably asked the interviewers as many questions as they did me. One of my questions concerned what is expected from students at KLU. Alongside the anticipated answer, one of my interviewers added a point that was different from anything I had heard before. He said that KLU wanted to build a cohort that would grow together to become a family.
Its family-like atmosphere is exactly what makes KLU so special and unique. The university encourages the students and everyone else who identiﬁes with KLU – students, staff, administration and faculty – to be part of the family. A culture like this deﬁnitely imparts a strong feeling of belonging and I can’t imagine having one like it at a traditional, strictly formal institution. It is nice to be known and be greeted by name not only by your fellow students, but also when entering the building, going to the library, or simply getting coffee in the cafeteria during a break. These are just the minor beneﬁts from studying at a university with fewer students.
There are many important aspects that you will only ﬁnd at a university like KLU. Take the small classes for example. Not only do they allow students to participate actively in discussions, thus creating a better learning environment, but they also provide an opportunity for personal contact with the professors. Scheduling a meeting with KLU professors is much easier and faster than it would be at a bigger university. And most of the problems students experience are usually solved in no time. The communication among students and the pro-gram coordination or student services is fast and efficient, which usually saves a lot of time and stress. Another integral part of KLU is its mandatory internship program. Many big universities provide career training on how to write a resume and cover letter, but KLU’s size actually permits more in-depth, personal training for the students. This is what makes the program so successful.
Two years after starting in the BSc program at KLU, I can say that studying at KLU has shown me how a small university can create a beautiful experience, even if it doesn’t include the spectacular old building surrounded by green ﬁelds dotted with hundreds of students.
By Yana Asenova