When sophomore Molly Steigerwald was choosing a college, a strong international program took priority. In fact, she first heard about Beloit as an exchange student in India. “I was drawn to Beloit because of its free spirit and the support for international education,” Molly says.
Beloit’s international resources enchanted Molly even before her first semester, when she enrolled in Beloit’s summer Center for Language Studies. Learning Arabic, Molly realized Beloit would be transformative. “I changed immensely just during the CLS program. Then ten times as many people showed up in the fall, and I changed even more. I’m thinking about the world in very different ways now.”
Molly credits her new ways of thinking, in part, to other Beloit students. “From the first day,” she says, “I was impressed with the kinds of comments people were making in my FYI seminar, the kinds of goals they told me they had.” Beloit’s highly individualistic but tight-knit community makes it easy for Molly to say what she loves best about the school: “its people. I have met the most beautiful, ugly, brave, interesting, boring, and different people here, and they all challenge me.”
Molly was waiting for that challenge. Before Beloit, she felt like a big fish in a small pond. Now, she knows a smaller community can be challenging and diverse. “Beloit is still a small pond, but now there are other big fish around—and lots of them!” And those “fish” embrace each others’ uniqueness. “Beloit is a place where I’m going to let you do what you want to do and you’re going to let me do what I want to do.”
With her own diverse interests, Molly is not sure what she will major in. But Beloit’s flexible curriculum allows exploration. In two semesters, Molly “bounced between dance, modern languages, biology, journalism, health and society, and creative writing.” She also works on Beloit’s newspaper, The Roundtable; plays Intramural Ultimate Frisbee; and helps with the campus BikeShare program.
Molly followed her first year with an equally exciting transition to her second. Taking advantage of the international opportunities that first drew her to Beloit, Molly took a summer Venture Grant—offered to first-year students—to return to Mumbai. There, she explored traditional Indian dance.
Though she has much international experience, Molly believes any new place is a teacher. “There are a million things to be learned from traveling to the town a few miles away from your hometown.” Such “otherworld education,” as Molly calls it, “is extremely important.” And Beloit, she feels, is the place to seek it. Why? At Beloit, “everyone is supported.”