Finding your feet and learning to grow at XEC

31 May 2024

Stela Mihova is a Year Two student from Bulgaria studying BA Arts, Technology, and Entertainment with Contemporary Entrepreneurialism at XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang) (XEC).

Stela Mihova

She is a dancer and multi-talented individual with a passion for trying new things. Her love of exploration led her to China to pursue her studies at XEC. 

Finding serenity at XEC

Mihova first learned about XJTLU when she was recommended the University by an agency. She was initially interested in pursuing an architecture programme but switched to arts and technology, as it’s more related to her high school modules.

“The programme at XEC seemed like a natural continuation of my previous studies, so I decided to go with the flow and embrace new opportunities,” she says.

She describes the XEC campus as serene and beautiful.

“The College is very calm, easy to navigate, and visually appealing. We have many study spaces here, and we can access them easily,” she says.

The small number of international students makes it feel like a family, and international students are embraced as part of the larger student family.

“I like the sense of community among students here. There is no separation between domestic and international students. We have fewer international students here, so it feels like a family; everyone knows everyone,” she says.

Engaging with installation art

Mihova’s favourite module so far has been Installation Art.

“I enjoyed this module because I grew up doing things with my hands. Although I had no prior experience in installing art, my teacher taught the course very well. The class was small but very engaging, and we were the first group to have this module.”

Stela Mihova’s installation artwork

She has also become more adaptable to different teaching approaches since entering XEC.

“Each of my professors has a unique teaching style. For example, my Installation Art teacher adopted a more structured approach, with small assessments throughout the semester leading up to a final assessment. I think this approach helped us understand the entire module and ensured we grasped the concepts.

“I also have teachers who provided a lot of resources and allowed students the freedom to create over an entire semester, which could be challenging.

“Different teaching approaches have helped me grow. Academically, I have become more flexible and adaptable to the different teaching methods employed by my professors.”

When asked about Contemporary Entrepreneurialism, an important component of her programme, Mihova says:

“I’ve become more innovative and familiar with entrepreneurial concepts. Although many of the concepts may not align with my career goals, the knowledge can be valuable if I decide to start my own business.”

Dance, dance, dance

Apart from her academic studies, Mihova actively participates in extracurricular activities. She also created a hip-hop dance club at XEC.

“I’m very involved in student activities. I’m a member of the basketball club, Collaborative Campus Engagement Club, and the arts association. I’m most active in the dance club as the president. We recently had a concert with the Chinese traditional dance club and the singing club at XEC, and it was amazing!”

Currently, the club has 30 people, including four international students and 21 Chinese students.

Stela Mihova (left) and her dance crew performing at XEC’s first Art Festival

Mihova started the dacne club because she loves sharing her passion.

“I started dancing at the age of two. From six to 10, I studied ballet. At 12, I took up Latin and hip-hop. By 15, I was teaching hip-hop in high school. At 17, I joined a break dancing crew, progressed quickly, and joined the national dance team within a year and a half, and competed in a world championship.

“Dancing is my life. My best memories and biggest efforts are tied to it. It’s my passion, and I will always love it,” she says.

“I think being physically active also improves my academic performance because it enhances my focus and ability to study.”

Stela Mihova performing

Since entering XEC, Mihova feels that she has grown in several ways.

“Interacting with people from various cultures and backgrounds has made me more patient and open-minded. Having a roommate has made me more organised. Also, responsibility hits hard when you must live on the other side of the world alone.”

She also has some advice for students considering XEC for their studies.

“The College is new and growing rapidly. Many things will change in the next few years. It’s a place for students who are flexible, self-driven, independent, and visionary.

“If you’re prepared to learn how to do many things on your own, you will enjoy the endless possibilities!”


By Precious Chibeze and Xinmin Han
Edited by Patricia Pieterse
Photos courtesy of Stela Mihova


31 May 2024


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