Michaela Novakova: 'The Cornell community made me feel at home'

Michaela Novakova


Brno, Czech Republic

Why did you choose Cornell?

I chose Cornell because it is an incredibly welcoming environment where people with different backgrounds can thrive. I am an international student, but the Cornell community made me feel at home here, supported and unfettered in the pursuits of my academic and extracurricular passions.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

In my freshman year, I met a couple – a professor and his wife – through the International Friendship Program. Most of my favorite memories are with them. They are my family away from home, and together we explored Ithaca and its gorgeous surroundings. Going for a hike to Treman State Park and talking for hours about the world around us is one of my fondest memories. At Cornell, I made friends for life. So, I would also like to say to all (international) students – do not be afraid to reach out, to use Cornell´s programs and resources to make Cornell feel like home.

How did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?

I started my Cornell journey as a hotelie, but it just was not the right fit for me. Instead of learning about the principles of financial accounting, I longed to above all think critically and to write. Thus, after my freshman year, I transferred to the College of Arts & Sciences. Arts & Sciences offered me the cross-disciplinary approach I was looking for and allowed me to explore many topics beyond my initial interest in politics and government – I took classes about astronomy, climate change, game theory and mathematics and French literature.

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 Michaela Novakova