umc-movement

Making the most of experiences at UWC – The story of Sam Simataa

(Photo: Sam at his College choir. Source: www.samsimataa.com)

In a recent interview, MUWCI alumnus Sam Simataa illustrated that studying at a UWC can help students maximize the number of non-academic learning opportunities they can access and benefit from. Originally from Namibia, Sam graduated from UWC Mahindra College in 2009. In his recent interview, Sam spoke about participating in several opportunities that cultivated his interpersonal skills and enabled him to grow at MUWCI.

“I participated in the high school science Triveni during both years at MUWCI and had a great experience overall. Our sessions included one lesson and a lab where we had pets or would go outside and perform activities. At the time, science was not my forte, but it was part of the curriculum. Being part of the Triveni was a two-way street for me: there were facts that I was learning about theoretically while also getting an avenue to practice my learning. In addition, teaching allowed me to nurture relationships with the students while also allowing me to practice my Marathi.”

Sam also talked about some of his formative experiences in theatre and athletics that shaped him as a student. “During theatre season, we did a play called Grease, where I had the lead role. We also had Wada concerts where I sang in front of people and collaborated with my peers on performances.” Reflecting upon his experiences with athletics, Sam remarks, “In my second year, I played soccer and came upon an opportunity to play a match with Riverdale. Until then, we had never interacted with students from Riverdale, and we could see their soccer fields from the top of our hill. We contacted our then Head of College, Mr. Wilkinson, and asked if we could have a friendly match with Riverdale. When he agreed, we spoke with the Headmaster at Riverdale and organized a soccer tournament between both schools. At the end of the game, all participants received certificates. It was a great experience for us overall.”

While observing his peers work on machines, Sam found himself drawn towards the field of science and technology. Currently working as a Senior Automation Test Developer in the healthcare industry, Sam credits his experiences at the IT centre at MUWCI as an early influence in cultivating his interest in computer science. “Two students, Bartek and Urs, played a big role in influencing me. Whenever I was at the IT centre, these guys would hack away at their computers. Seeing what these guys were doing and how they were creating something from nothing was an exciting experience for me. As I was doing projects for school, I would ask them questions like,” Hey, how did you do that?” or “How did you figure out this problem?” Interacting with and learning from them piqued my interest in the subject.”

Sam connects these experiences to his later work in technical positions. “Having had the exposure from my peers and their patience in explaining things gave me much clarity. For my first job, I worked for a construction company in their customer service department, where I helped out with technical issues. From my earlier exposure, I realized that while some tech aspects are complex, some aspects are not, and you can explain them in simple terms. Using language to explain simple concepts was something I appreciated in my peers and used in my future roles.”

The culmination of such experiences was the desire to create change gradually around him. When asked to share any advice for students, Sam observes, “I think that my advice would be that you can change the world, but try to do so one person at a time. If you can make a small change in your life and repeat it the next day, then that little change could be just as impactful as being the president of a nation. That is what I took away from my UWC experience. Participating in opportunities and having conversations with others is essential because we all live in a world where not everyone has similar experiences. Still, as an individual, you can share those experiences and your talents with the world. When you do that, in my view, that is change. Because at the end of the day, no matter how small of an act you are performing, you are still trying to make the world a better place, and that is all that matters.”

We want to thank Sam for participating in this interview and sharing his story with our campus community!

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