“When we utter the universal first line of our UWC experience, little do we know the extent to which it encapsulates what is to come. “Hi, I’m (Helen), from (South Africa).” Because what UWC asks of us in return is, “Who is Helen? And what does it mean to come from South Africa?” I grew up in Cape Town, with a love of the mountain, the ocean, malva pudding and isiXhosa. And none of that has changed. But around that core of my identity, UWC has transformed me, using “education as a force” to change.” I have been empowered, through taking the helm of community-based service projects, to believe that making difference is as easy as taking on an idea thought up over lunch with a group of friends and striving to make it a reality. I have been challenged to reconsider my opinions, and to be more respectful of other’s diverse perspectives. I have been given the confidence to stand up for what I believe, and the humility to recognise when I am wrong. UWC has honed me into a better version of myself, and a better ambassador for the land I am proud to call home.”
-Helen (UWC Dilijan’ 18)
“UWC gave me various platforms to reintroduce myself to me, and the world. It assisted me to become more critical of the world I inhabit, and the ways in which I contribute to the world. It taught me to be comfortable with my emotions, no matter where on the spectrum of emotions they may fall. Thus, ensuring I take an active role in furthering my emotional intelligence and looking after my psychological wellbeing which I had often neglected prior to attending the UWC. UWC truly transformed the way I see language and how much I value it. It allowed me to explore the sacred bond I shared with words and how they carry boundless knowledge. UWC enhanced my pride for my country, my continent and my culture. It challenged me to relearn the essence of who I am and the soils where I come from, while remaining grounded in that identity through literature and expanding on that knowledge. It also inspired me to become part of Elea Africa, a summer programme created to educate the world's youth on their limitless potential, cultures and history of Africa. Elea Africa will be undergoing a process to become an official UWC short course by mid 2019. UWC heightened the way I see community and the value it has on the lives of individuals. It illustrated the influence which communities have on growth and wellbeing, while inspiring me to invest more in the communities which I am part of. Through UWC I have also been motivated to pioneer an era of justice by restoring dignity to societies where injustice has occurred. As a result, I will be taking the first steps in my journey to enact justice, by studying towards a Bachelor of Law at IE University in Spain.”
-Asemahle (UWC Mahindra’ 18)
"I had always known about UWC, because my mother is an alumna. It was not until we attended her 20th year reunion in 2011 however, that I began to understand what that experience had meant to her. Seeing the kinds of bonds, friendships, and memories that my mother had made whilst at Pearson motivated me. This is when I decided that I wanted to go to a UWC too. In August of 2016, that dream came true as I began my first year at UWC Costa Rica. It’s now two years later somehow, and I’ve just graduated. I’m not exactly sure where the time has gone, but it’s been an amazing experience that has forced me to grow by forcing me to get out of my comfort zone. I am extremely grateful for this push, as I would have never grown in the ways that I did, nor at the same rate.”
-Reshavan (UWC Costa Rica’ 18)
The incredible nature of two years at Pearson is almost impossible to quickly summarise. It was a time as far away from home imaginable, with people from countries you barely knew existed. In the end, it introduced me to whole other worlds and peoples, that will enrich the rest of my life in more ways than once can describe. I also was able to experience everything from hikes, to scuba diving and the black bear - the whole spectrum of Canadian life. Next year, I will be heading to Stellenbosch University to study law, hoping to continue carrying the values of the UWC back to South Africa.
- Karel van de Vywer (UWC Pearson'18)