Duke University, NC
Duke University, located in Durham, North Carolina, also known as "the Harvard of the South", is organized into two undergraduate, ten graduate and professional schools, and seven institutes. In its 2011 edition, US News & World Report ranked the university's undergrad program 9th among national universities. The medical, law, public affairs, nursing and business schools were all ranked among the top 15 in the US. Duke is also 14th in the 2010 QS World University Rankings.
Duke University provided me with an outstanding liberal education, by empowering me to find my own academic course and guiding me to think critically and to empathize in unique ways. Duke is an excellent research university, with the resources to connect education to the processes of inquiry and discovery and to give students opportunities to learn from and collaborate with faculty members - even from the first years of college. Every major or program of study is focused on interdisciplinary examination, which opened a world of possibilities for my way of thinking.
For international students, Duke offers up to 30 scholarships yearly, covering the costs of tuition, room and board, health insurance, and two summer semester courses which can be taken on campus or abroad. In my case, I chose to spend one summer taking art classes at prestigious universities and art galleries in Belgium, and another taking German and history courses in Berlin. In addition, international students are eligible to apply for a number of grants, fellowships, awards, travel funds, and research resources to support all kinds of scholarly pursuits around the world. In my sophomore summer, I was awarded significant funds to travel to Romania and Poland and write about architectural transformations in the two countries' capitals. Moreover, at the completion of my studies, I was offered a paid internship by the Art Museum on campus to continue working during the summer, which turned into a position as an assistant curator.
My undergraduate experience at Duke was bolstered by academic liveliness and regular challenges. The faculty was always open to scholarly experimentation encouraging us to use our talents to put ideas and preconceptions to the test. True to its philosophy, Duke provided us with an array of interdisciplinary academic offerings, an exciting and diverse campus culture, excellent facilities and resources (such as one of the biggest libraries in the world, state of the art engineering facilities or an excellent university museum), and opportunities to engage faculty members in small class environments or on an individual basis. Almost all my classes at Duke were seminaries open to 20 students at the most. As early as my freshman year, I was offered the opportunity to take an Independent Study class with one of my Art History professors, for which I designed my own curriculum.
Alongside its academic thoroughness, Duke offers students many varied opportunities to serve the community—both locally and globally—and develop leadership and organizational skills. In programs such as Duke Engage, which through its many offerings around the globe emphasizes integration of academic coursework, experiential learning, and mentoring from faculty, the university supported our activities as well as sustainable socio-cultural-economic-scientific developments in the world. What I especially liked about Duke was the idea that education is not only an opportunity for personal development, but also a pathway for improving our communities.
Among other things, my friends from Duke interned in molecular genetics laboratories at the Medical Center on campus, examined Renaissance and Baroque paintings in the Netherlands, studied entertainment law in Los Angeles, tracked birds in Costa Rica and conducted research as colleagues to faculty members - which they later turned into published works and job opportunities.
At Duke you really get the sense that your opportunities are limitless, both on- and off-campus, in the humanities and the natural sciences, in your home country and abroad. At Duke I was constantly able to move beyond the classroom so that I could investigate issues I wanted to learn more about and get a glimpse at career possibilities. And if the existing opportunities weren't enough, the faculty, our advisors, the administration, and our peers helped us create our own.
My fulbright experience
Students at the advising center