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Living with Peers from Conflict Regions

4th Mar 2016 by admin - , (0) Comment


There are hardly any students at MUWCI who haven’t been asked the question “what makes your school special,” at least once. For someone from the outside, this may seem like a fair enquiry. However, for us hill-dwellers, it is almost impossible to answer with our plethora of life-altering experiences to choose from, all collected within a span of two years. Sure our campus can boast of its biodiversity, brought to life entirely by its first inhabitants 18 years ago, the array of interesting activities to choose from, or our engagement with the community around us. But if all of us were required to choose, I think the majority would undeniably say that what makes MUWCI special is the people, who are all from an impressively rich diverse backgrounds: social, economic, cultural and religious. With friends from over 64 countries, we can hardly complain of a lack of cultural exchange on our campus.

Our community makes the best of this- from regional evenings, Scandinavian bread throwing traditions, Latin carnival to weekly community kitchen sessions- almost every aspect of our lives involves learning from each other and making connections that transcend religion, nationalities, languages and social strata.

Jorge, a second year from Spain, recently shared how his life transformed after living his roommate from Palestine :

Living with Yazeed, my first year roommate from Palestine, has been eye opening experience for me. Before coming to MUWCI, I had an idea about the Israel-Palestinian conflict and I also had my opinions about it. However living with him has been an enlightening. Since he came we have been talking about what it is like to live in Palestine.

I had no idea that in order to see his family after completing his education in India, he would have to spend days reaching his country. For me, this was simply shocking. I also got to know that the government in Palestine is, to some extent, a well working government. For instance he gave me a beautiful poster that is distributed by the Ministry of Tourism in Palestine.

Living with someone that has experienced such a conflict in his own life has been really revealing. Till now, I had only seen images of the war on TV and in newspapers and I had read some essays about the situation there. However, now I have had the chance to see a more human and less publicized version of the consequences of the conflict. He tells me about real cases, real human lives, people that are considered heroes in Palestine for their fight towards freedom. It reminds me of my decision to choose to come to UWC, and the fight for peace we have at our hands.

I often find myself feeling this way when I talk to my friend Beste from Turkey. In her country there have been many attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians when they were demonstrating peacefully.  Recently, she gave a talk about the situation at home during the Peace and Justice Triveni stream meeting, and she broke down. Seeing someone suffering for her countrymen, even though she wasn’t directly suffering was very impactful for me. Moreover, this was one of my closest friends, not just a face on a TV screen. It also reminded me of the way I feel when I think about my country, Spain’s history. Looking at Beste that day was like looking at my own self when I think of everyone who suffered and died both during the Civil war and Fascist dictatorship. I can say now, that not only can I closely relate to issues that before were only an image or video on the screen of my TV but also relate them to my own life and treat them personally. This would never have been possible if I hadn’t taken the chance to come to high school in India, now home, thousands of miles away from home.

Jorge (Spain, Class of ’17) interviewed by Stuti (India, Class of ’17)

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