Why is CEU Unique?
By Otto Kobakhidze, NATI '17, Georgia
What makes CEU a unique place to study for me? For starters, CEU is a graduate-level university with only 1,400 students. It is very likely smaller than your undergraduate institution, yet probably has students from more countries around the world. Students come to CEU from more than 100 nations. In one discussion group in my department of Nationalism Studies, for example, my peers come from Hungary, Canada, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Slovakia, Croatia, U.S., and Mexico. This diversity means that all of us have different cultural and social backgrounds, and everyone brings different experiences from their countries and regions into the classroom, making discussions that much more interesting. The teachers also come from a variety of places, and that translates into different perspectives in the front of the classroom. Needless to say, they are trained in various fields, and that leads me to second point that makes CEU a unique place in my mind.
This incredible level of diversity of CEU faculty and students is strongly intertwined with the interdisciplinary approach that CEU encourages. Take my department: studying nationalism means seeing topics from the various angles of history, anthropology, sociology, political science, law, gender studies, literature, and more. We have numerous courses cross-listed with History, International Relations, Political Science, and other departments, broadening both the faculty and students we interact with. The courses are designed in a way that embraces this interdisciplinary diversity. Take for example my course "The Critical Approaches to the Study of Nationalism". In this class the literature draws from sociology, international relations, gender studies, European studies, history, law, and political science. This helps us see the same issue from all possible perspectives. Even the students come from various academic fields. Having all these people in the same class helps you study particular issues from various academic points of view you might never end up studying yourself.
Summing up, diversity among the faculty and students intertwined with academic interdisciplinary approach is what makes the CEU a unique place to study. All of us, CEU community members, come from different education, cultural, and social backgrounds, and such diversity enables us to broaden our cultural and academic horizons. It helps us realize the complexity and diversity of not only the issues we address as future scholars, but also of the world we live in.