Martin Wik Fowler
I enjoy the freedom UWC gives me to explore my areas of interests; both academically and non-academically.
Martin is 17 years old and started at UWC Costa Rica in August 2009. He has both Norwegian and American citizenship.
How did you find out about UWC and why did you apply?
I found out about UWC through a friend of the family who attended UWCSEA. I was twelve at the time and had already decided that I wanted to apply. I think the idea of living together with people from all around the world, and learning from them and their cultures was what intrigued me the most about UWC. It was also a wish for more independence and the endless possibilities for personal growth that UWC seemed to offer.
What were your first impressions upon arriving at UWC Costa Rica?
My first impressions were lots of smiling faces and a multitude of names
and nationalities. My first impression was also that of confirmation as
it really was what it presented itself to be, a community of people
committed to the same goal.
What do you enjoy most about life at UWC?
Pin-pointing one thing I enjoy the most about UWC would be difficult. I enjoy the freedom UWC gives me to explore my areas of interests; both academically and non-academically.
What’s been the hardest or most challenging part?
The most challenging part of living at a UWC for me has probably been the combination of academics and living away from home. I’m pleased to say that the challenges I have faced and the difficulties I have had with these two areas have helped me grow tremendously though. I’ve had to make my own choices and live with them and their consequences. For me it means that when I leave UWC I know I’ll be ready for the outside world and the next set of challenges.
What subjects are you taking?
I take higher level History, Economics and Spanish B. My standard level subjects are English A1, Mathematics and Environmental Systems and Societies.
What other activities are you involved in?
One of the great things about UWC is that it believes in its students. Arriving at UWC Costa Rica I quickly noticed that there was no extra-curricular filming and video-editing group. I conferred with the school’s CAS director and got quick, even astonishing, support. In previous schools I had never before experienced this level of interest in my ideas. Needless to say there is now a video-making group at UWC Costa Rica; I founded it and am leader of the school’s ‘Year Video’ project aimed at creating a video version of the traditional Year Book.
Another experience that had a profound impact on me was a trip I made as part of the school’s ‘Get to know Costa Rica’ program to the La Carpio slum of San José. There we met with young children of the slum, played games and did some manual labour. Meeting individuals from such impoverished backgrounds with little hope for a decent future was an experience I would never have had without UWC. The experience has made me realise that the television pictures we see on the news every day don’t lie. More importantly though, I realised that it doesn’t take much to improve these children’s situation, much less to put a smile on their face.
What are your ambitions after you leave UWC?
In the short term my ambitions are to finish my schooling. In the long run, and this includes my time at university, I want to make an impact. What UWC has taught me is that making an impact doesn’t necessarily mean founding and running your own non-profit organisation, it means bringing that core UWC mission statement into anything you do - to be a catalyst of change in your own school and its surrounding community, for instance. My ambition is to do something that matters for someone.
Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us?
The thought of UWC might be overwhelming at first. When considering applying you might ask yourself, and I certainly did, whether you’re the ‘right’ person for UWC - whether you’re enough of a ‘UWC person’. But to be quite frank there is no such thing as a ‘UWC person’. UWC has a place for anyone with any interests or background. You become a ‘UWC person’ once you leave. Once you are ready to take on the challenges of the world with the same experience as all the other UWC alumni. That’s when you become a ‘UWC person’.
28 October 2010