As the first person in her family to go to college, Mackenzie Kurtz was unsure about choosing a school. But after attending a Colleges that Change Lives fair, she sensed she’d found the right one. “Beloit had a personal identity that other colleges didn’t. I immediately felt it was a great place to be.”
What caught her attention? Beloit’s international focus. “I always wanted to learn about other countries, particularly Japan and China. I heard about International Symposium, and I could see myself going to Japan and coming back to talk about my experiences in front of people. It was an enchanting image.”
Now a first-year, Mackenzie is diving into Beloit’s opportunities. Whether she’s building her Japanese and Chinese language skills or discovering philosophy and sculpture, she finds her classes inspiring. “All my professors have this passion for teaching,” she says. “It’s infectious. They are not only skilled but genuinely interested in seeing you accumulate what they know.”
While they’re engaging, her professors also foster a relaxed culture. “Many of my friends at other schools are stressing about their courses and not enjoying them, but I love going to class,” Mackenzie says. “The quality of our education isn’t different, but theirs is presented in such a manner that there’s competition and stress. Here, it’s more collaborative.”
Outside the classroom, Mackenzie’s life is just as rich. “If there’s a talk, I’ll go. If there’s a performance, I’ll go. There’s at least one event planned every day.” Her favorite activities have been with the Spiritual Life Program, which sponsored travel to a Buddhism lecture in Madison and hosted a Tibetan photography workshop.
While she enjoys classes and clubs, the highlight of Mackenzie’s year has been Beloit’s welcoming community. “I love that I can say ‘hi’ to 10 people in the trip from my dorm to Pearsons Hall, and I’ve met people from Turkey, Japan, China, Thailand, Germany, and France.” These diverse students come together, she thinks, because of something she noticed on her campus visit. “Everybody loves being here and wants to be here. That really sets Beloit apart.”
This supportive community has inspired Mackenzie to make big plans. Besides taking advantage of the international opportunities that drew her to Beloit, she’d like to volunteer and enroll in Beloit’s summer immersion program, the Center for Language Studies. While her goals are ambitious, she’s confident Beloit’s the place to see them through. “If you live in an environment where there’s a genuine desire for you to succeed and get the most out of your four years,” she says, “then you will.”