Student Profiles

Who are we?

AkiraAkira - Japan

How did you find out about UWC and why did you apply?

It happened to turn out right.

When I was in 10th grade, I went to summer camp with my third year of a previous Japanese school. One night we stayed up all night talking about each other's plans for the future. I explained my dream to him and he recommended UWC as a first step in making my dream come true. I very much appreciate that he let me know about UWC especially as he was not lucky enough to be selected himself.

I fell for the charms of UWC without thinking about how it can be the first step in fulfilling my dreams. I remember that I got so excited at having friends from over the sea and to live in a college which has students from over 50 countries. I even dreamed that I would visit a friend's house in the summer holidays. I wrote "I want to be a student of UWC to be a bridge between Japan and the other nations and its enriching education needs to form me into such a person physically and mentally". But, to be honest, it was a kind of façade and I really just wanted to communicate with students from other countries.

What were your first impressions upon arriving at UWC Mahindra College?

Diversity.

We see the signboard which mentions "Biodiversity reserve" at the entrance of our college, and I couldn't find the meaning of that at first sight. But I found the word, "Diversity reserve " is a very good description of UWC Mahindra College. It means not only are there lots of animals and plants which I never saw before in my life (like black faced monkeys, wild peacocks etc) but also many friends who come from countries whose names I have never heard of. I was surprised that second years with different coloured eyes and hair came to the airport to meet us and had their arms around each other's shoulders. It was as if I had moved into a village of "If the world were a village of 100 people".

What do you enjoy most about life at UWC?

To get rid of assumptions.

After I came here, I learnt many things through dialogue with my friends. For instance, one afternoon I called at an African friend's room and we enjoyed chatting about many things. We talked about study, our future plans, summer plans, our countries etc. And then I was surprised to find that Africa is quite different from my image of it. In the same way his image of my country was different from the Japan that I know. This conversation made me be so want to go to Africa that I have asked my friend to let me stay in his house during the summer holidays!

What's been the hardest or most challenging part?

The challenge.

I know one purpose of coming here is to help me communicate with many people but this is definitely the hardest part for me. It is because of language difficulties and what is worse it makes me feel shy. So it becomes the most challenging part and I try not to be shy. This challenge is quite hard and sometimes my courage runs out. However I never shy away from this situation. My college allows me to challenge and change myself and my friends and teachers are watching over me fondly. I think my self-awareness is becoming stronger and now I have confidence that I can really change a lot before graduation!

What subjects are you taking?

Japanese (Self-taught), English B, Philosophy, ESS, Math SL and Visual Art

My favourite subject is Philosophy. It is quite hard for me as a non-native English speaker to take part in such discussions but when I can, my pleasure is doubled! And the teacher and my friends allow me to make mistakes in classes, so I can face the challenge to overcome a barrier of shyness and problem of language.

What other activities are you involved in?

Badminton, cricket, yoga and Manavya.

Manavya is an off campus community engagement programme. We go to a home where the children have AIDs and play with them every Wednesday. I think we play with them but they lift us up.

What are your ambitions after you leave UWC?

This is the question which MUWCI confronts me with!

After I came here, I doubted everything, even my dream. I used to think I wanted to be a politician, but I now recognize that my dream is unfounded. However I do feel sad when I get news from my hometown, most of which is not good. My Japanese friends' impressions are not encouraging either. So, I don't know what I can do at the moment but I want to help make my country a great place to live and I am on the road to find how to do that.

Max - USA

I felt overwhelmingly supported as soon as I arrived

Max is from Estes Park in Colorado, USA and started at UWC Mahindra College, India, in September 2010.

How did you find out about UWC and why did you apply?

I found out about UWC through two UWC alumni from my hometown. Both of them went to UWC-USA and were intimately enthusiastic about their experience there. They recommended that I apply and thought that I might be a good candidate for UWC. I received some information packets from one of them and decided to do a little more research about UWC on the internet. After reading how UWC affected students not only in the USA but in all of the other hundreds of countries represented at a UWC, I started to seriously consider the UWC lifestyle. Because of my affection for travel and interest in diversity I chose this college in India as my first choice. I really wanted to leave home for a while and see what the rest of the world had to offer.

Max-LiddleWhat were your first impressions upon arriving at UWC Mahindra College?

On the last arrival day at 4 o'clock in the morning I pulled up to Mahindra UWC in the Jeep I had ridden in from the airport. It was pitch dark out and I sleepily followed the school guard to my room. After some minor confusion, I left the girls wing and ended up in the right house. The first thing that I encountered after that was a sleepy smile from my roommate who proceeded to give me a quick tour of our house. It was that moment, after 27 long hours of travel time, that I felt at home. It was an unfamiliar home at that point but I was welcome and that was all that mattered. After the jet lag wore off and the orientation period began I started to realise what an amazing and unique community I now lived in. Students sat with different students at every meal, people conversed about where they were from and exchanged travel stories and second years were friendly and supportive to their disjointed "firsties". Overall, I felt overwhelmingly supported as soon as I arrived.

What do you enjoy most about life at UWC?

I'd have to say the difference in worldview and opinion. I know that may sound cliché, but when you take four multinational students and put them in the same room for a year things tend to come up. I've found that a lot of my preconceptions and ideas about the world are more easily challenged than I had expected. It's through some really intense and often personal conversations that I've started to more clearly understand standpoints of students from different sociocultural backgrounds as well as my own.

What's been the hardest or most challenging part?

I think giving up my sense of security among my peers has been both the toughest and most rewarding thing since I've been here at UWC Mahindra College. As human beings we always form groups of close friends, which we rely on during hard times. As soon as I got to India I was bombarded with unusual and confusing situations and initially had no one to fall back on but myself. It taught me a lot about myself and how I respond to new situations. I say it was also the most rewarding though, because I had the incredible opportunity to branch out and meet some fascinating new people.

What subjects are you taking?

I am currently taking Philosophy, Psychology, English, Maths, Biology and Hindi but am considering taking on Environmental Systems Studies for a year next year since I am taking two one-year courses at the moment.

What other activities are you involved in?

I do Tae Kwon Do and Yoga and am part of IT Club and High School Science as part of my community engagement. In High School Science we facilitate scientific labs and help tutor students in the surrounding villages. The students come on campus to use our lab facilities so that they can fulfill their Indian education requirements. Not only do the local students benefit from our labs and our tutoring but we benefit by learning the local language, Marathi, and interacting with the students.

For my project week this term I am going to Sarnath to work with an NGO called Alice's Project. The project works to help educate underprivileged students from Sarnath and the surrounding area. Alice's Project have a unique way of teaching; "Body and intellect are combined with yoga and meditation, taught as part of the core curriculum to every child every day. In this same way, spirit and emotions are not separate as they are part of our every day talking and thinking." To embrace this philosophy, we will interact with teachers and students to understand the reality of life in Sarnath and the challenges the people there face. We will also prepare lessons sharing cultural information about our countries or regions and develop a small project with the organisers there.

What are your ambitions after you leave UWC?

That's the question isn't it? What do I want to do after UWC? It's still early in my future-planning extravaganza, but I have definitely reconsidered a couple of things since starting here. I originally came here with a few colleges in my mind that I work towards getting accepted into as soon as I graduate. Being here, however, has made me think about the importance of getting into big name schools in the first place. I am not saying that I won't apply to good schools that teach what I want to learn, but I've just put less immediate importance on them for the moment and more on my time here at this college. That said I am contemplating taking a year off after graduation to do the third year option and work with an NGO in India. I have started to develop a love for India and the people here that I couldn't have foreseen before and it has made me reprioritise some things. I do still think that after I graduate (whether I do the third year or not) I'll return to the USA to study at university though.

Avi – India

Hi, I'm AviAvi from India and coming to UWC Mahindra College changed my life completely. I now have friends from all over the world and my house consists of housemates of more than 6 different nationalities! The students and teachers from around the world is the unique attribute of this institution. This huge diversity on campus not only contributes to the variety of ideas and living but also helps the growth of each individual and changes their perspective of looking at things. Also the interaction with the local community, that includes a couple of villages near campus, through CI's (Community interaction programs) enhances one's experience. Another thing very special about our college is the teacher- / student relationship. There have been times where I would get over homesickness with the help of a comforting conversation and a glass of chocolate milk at my Advisor's house.

UWC Mahindra College is known for its abundance, a huge range of subjects to choose from plus a variety of different student led activities. I myself coordinate two such activities (yearbook and community development) that allow me to put together different ideas from its various members to create some meaningful projects. This college has helped me grow and mature over the past year. Now, I am more confident, more determined and more spontaneous as I return as a second year.

UWC Mahindra College's best attribute is that it's full of small and big surprises. It could be a good grade on your toughest subject, a snake under your bed or even a monitor lizard in front of your neighbor's door. How one deals with such surprises adds to this enriching experience and helps define your personality.

Kevin - Indonesia / Germany

How did you find out about UWC

I was actually browsing on the Internet to check out the list of IB schools in Norway just for fun. It then led me to the UWCRCN page. The next day I was looking on the IB schools in Italy and that was where I found the UWC Adriatic website. Both schools mentioned the name Kurt Hahn so I googled him up out of curiousity. That's how I was brought to UWC official website. I clicked on 'how to apply' link and was really excited to find that even Indonesia has its own National Committee. I sent out my application. The rest is history.

Why did you apply? The idea of students from various corners of the globe living and studying together in a community has mesmerized me. It has always been my dream to learn about people from other countries not just from the media like TVs or the Internet, but in person as well. At first I was not certain that I would be chosen to study in UWC, but I believe that being there would open up my chances to understand the world better. My commitment to be a part of UWC family became fixed. Today I am happy to call myself the first student to represent Indonesia at the UWC Mahindra College.

What aspect have you enjoyed the most?

Being at UWC is the perfect gateway to embrace diversity. Everything that we learn and discover here is seen through various cultural lenses and perspectives. UWC is not just learning academically, but it has also a great influence on one to be an initiator in many ways. Whether it's helping the villages around or raising funds for distant countries suffering from natural disasters, there's always this sense of awareness that one encounters here. One unique thing that UWC gives to us is the way it connects students from one country to another that leads to the creation of the world as one family.

Kevin2_webWhat activities have you been involved in?

There's always something going on at UWC Mahindra College. This year I am coordinating the modern dance activity aiming for greater comfort and confidence in dancing. I am also an active writer in MUWCI Times, the one and only newspaper at the college. Oon-campus activities that revolve around bringing people together have always made me excited. It is no surprise that I am a member of the Linking group with a goal to link the whole community on campus including staff and faculty members and eventually the entire UWC colleges around the world. In Global Affairs, we keep ourselves updated about the outside world with current affairs and discussing major problems affecting our contemporary societies.

UWC Mahindra College also offers a great range of social activities. I was in Sadhana Special friends last year that mainly concentrates on taking care of adult with mental disabilities. What I find most valuable is the relationship that is nurtured between me as a volunteer and our special friends. One can see that friendship does not rely on mutual interest, but solidarity as well. In my second year I am working with Paud's Childrens Home. We play and teach orphaned children in the nearby village the same way that older siblings would do for their younger brothers and sisters.

What did you do for your project week last year?

We were in a rural village in Rajasthan to teach in a school called FabIndia. The desert environment was a challenge but it's always fun to work with school children. We helped teach English and prepared the students a play and dance that would be performed at the end of the week. The result was extraordinary to see how younger generations learn everything so fast. This year's project week, I am excited to fulfill one of the biggest dreams in my life: To work with villagers in the Himalayas.

Wanyi - China

Wanyi is from Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China and started at UWC Mahindra College, India, in September 2010.

How did you find out about UWC and why did you apply?

My high school headmaster recommended me to apply for UWC because he thought that I was really suitable for living in an international community. After I checked out the website, I found that what UWC mission says is just what I want to live my life like, "UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future."

Wanyi_cropWhat were your first impressions upon arriving at UWC Mahindra College?

Diverse! Truly diverse! We look different, talk differently and maybe think differently. But the beautiful thing is that after two years of living closely together I realize that we, as human beings, are very similar. The diversity of appearance and thoughts, or even conflicts sometimes, only improve our connections. We are bound with each other,

What do you enjoy most about life at UWC?

The best part in UWC that I appreciate is that here, I can be myself and I get recognized as who I truly am. Here I found my academic interest not only in Math and Physics, but also Philosophy. I am also very passionate about not only volunteer work and youth leadership, but also, domestic political and social issues in China. People in this community are very supportive and I can talk about my interest and passions with them. I feel happy that I can grow into the person that I want to grow into.

What's been the hardest or most challenging part?

The language part was most challenging for me since it connects to academic and social life here. In the beginning, I struggled with speaking good English and communicating with people. For example, in the Philosophy class, though sometimes I had ideas, I found it difficult to follow native speakers' English or felt shy to speak up. However, after a couple of months practice and support and encouragement from teachers and friends, I can express myself fairly well now. And I like the feeling when I can share my opinions with others.

What subjects are you taking?

My Higher Level classes are Math, Physics, Philosophy and English A2. My Standard Level classes are Chinese A1 Self Taught and Spanish Ab Intio. I enjoy all my classes now because I am interested in all the subjects and I have great teachers. All my teachers not only provide us with the tools we need to handle the IB, but, more importantly, expand our knowledge very broadly.

What other activities are you involved in?

These two years, I have been involved into all kinds of different activities, like yoga, Mother Teresa, Linking Group, Mulshipedia, math tutoring, physics tutoring, sitar and Chinese Cultural Club. I especially enjoy learning yoga and playing sitar helps me to understand more about Indian music.

What are your ambitions after you leave UWC?

I am going to continue my university education in the United States because the undergraduate education is very good there and as a UWC student, I can get some financial support from Shelby Davis, the sponsor of Davis Scholarship. Potentially I want to study in both Physics and Philosophy, but whatever I major in, I want to continue my UWC educational philosophy throughout my whole life. I would love to practice my passions and inspire people to bring light to the world.

Dianne - USA

How did you find out about UWC and why did you apply?

I found out about UWC from my sister. She had friends in University who attended different UWCs around the world and she could never stop talking about how awesome they all were. I met a couple of them, and I knew immediately that I wanted to go to a UWC and be surrounded by people like them.

What were your first impressions upon arriving at UWC Mahindra College?

Honestly, when I first arrived, it was four in the morning, and I could not see a thing about the campus. Still, about 12 other people arrived at the same time as I did, and I remember everybody being extremely eager to meet and talk, despite their jetlag. Today there is still an eagerness to discuss every issue, from campus news to global affairs, and my first impression holds true: everybody is happy to share their opinions, and it is never too late or too early to have a conversation with friends, and learn something new.

What do you enjoy most about life at UWC?

I love that at a UWC I am never done with school. I live on campus with my classmates and faculty, and every moment is a learning experience. My teachers are my wada parents, and anytime I need help with anything, from school problems, to time management, I have a close community available to help me. When I am partaking in anything, including Trivenis and leisurely activities, I am learning, and actively engaging with my education. I don't think that there is an education in the world that can compare to this type of learning.

What's been the hardest or most challenging part?

The most challenging part of UWC life has been choosing what to do. There is always something going on, and everybody seems motivated to partake. Looking at the Triveni board and deciding what activities I should partake in is always the most difficult decision for me, because I want to try everything, and there just is not enough time in the day.

DianneWhat subjects are you taking?

I am currently taking Beginners Hindi, Spanish B, English A1, Math Standard Level, Philosophy, and Environmental Systems and Societies. Last year I also took world religions. I love every one of my classes because they are usually discussion based, and I am always challenged to look for new viewpoints.

What other activities are you involved in?

Currently I am the activity coordinator for Paud Children's Home, meaning that I volunteer in an orphanage in the local village twice a week. We plan sessions, mainly to have fun and play with the kids. Over the last year I have really gotten to know the kids, and I love spending time with them. I also do Active English, so I plan lessons to help students at the local school with their English classes—mainly through playing games and having fun, as well. This means that I volunteer in the village at least three times a week, and I really love seeing the kids so often! Nowhere else would I have the opportunity to connect with so many people in the villages, except through my Trivenis at UWC Mahindra College.

I also coordinate / moderate religion discussion, though the name is a little misleading. We mainly try to discuss about spirituality and morality, for example, and I just love the opportunity to hear the opinions of all the students around me. In college, sometimes you get caught up in your own life, and you forget to take a minute to appreciate the range of opinions around you. I really feel like I get to do this at Religion Discussion, and I really get to know others better, through listening and conversing with them in this kind of setting.

What are your ambitions after you leave UWC?

Like most people here, I have no idea what I want to do after I graduate. What I do know is that coming to school here has prepared me for whatever I decide to do, and I am excited about the opportunities I have waiting when I return home. I have learned a lot about myself and others by coming here, and I know I will want to continue doing so in the future.