by Shuang Yin Cheryl Ng, MA student in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology
From the natural sciences to education and marketing, one of my favourite things about my department is that I have coursemates not just from all around the world but also from a wide variety of disciplines, which is what makes CEU so unique and special. Many of the other university master's programs I explored required specific disciplines for admission, but the multi-disciplinary background of my coursemates here at CEU made seminars so much more interesting.
Seminars require us to share our thoughts and reflections on different dimensions of the world and the different backgrounds - culturally, nationally and disciplinary-wise have provided very interesting insights and applications. Take my anthropology lessons for example. While there are many texts for faraway lands, my coursemate with a marketing background shared interesting aspects of how one could apply the theories to the modern world and how we engage with businesses. I myself, had very little background in sociology, but my background in education informs many of my assignments and class-sharing. One of my favourite things to share with my coursemates is our research interests and how they have been informed by our previous fields, as well as to learn from each other’s personal experiences to develop our own knowledge.
I also really enjoy the multitude of political, social, cultural and disciplinary backgrounds at CEU because it means that I am constantly challenged. I am not just sitting in my own echo chamber. CEU has impressed upon me as a university that it aims to support many students who may not have a lot of financial capital through the scholarships they award. Therefore, the academic experience has differed greatly from my experience at other institutions. I found this unique as many of the other competitive institutions I have visited or experienced tend to have an international student population where the majority can afford high international fees and pricey student housing. However, many of my coursemates and I have admitted that we chose to pursue our studies at CEU due to its financial support, since we might not have been able to afford our studies otherwise.
Therefore, CEU’s diversity is not only in its international population. Many universities today have an international population. However, what makes CEU unique is that the international population in CEU is a lot more diverse both economically, culturally and through their disciplines, giving the seminars and exchanges an interesting touch beyond academic books and journal articles that I have never experienced anywhere else.