UWC is a great place for everyone, no matter what their background.
Where are you from?
I’m from Western Sahara but technically I live in Algeria; more specifically in the refugee camp down south.
How did you find out about UWC and why did you apply?
The first time I heard about UWC was through a friend of mine that had attended Red Cross Nordic UWC. Having explained to me how UWC works, in terms of mutual understanding, and having explained to me the sense of responsibility they had at UWC I felt obliged to apply. I wanted to learn from these other students as well as to help raise awareness about the situation in my country.
What do you enjoy most about life at UWC?
The academic programme and community services give me great joy. Sessions where experiences are exchanged and shared are unforgettable. I recently conducted a Global Issues Forum about the conflict in Western Sahara; everyone was asking, sharing opinions and suggesting solutions and we eventually ended up with concrete steps as to how could we could actually make a change.
What’s been the hardest or most challenging part?
The IB is much more challenging than the previous education systems under which I had studied; despite the fact that I used to study 13 subjects and now only have 6! The main reason for this is the difficulty in managing one’s time in Li Po Chun.
As we say in Arabic, "standing up is harder than staying up. " A new beginning is hard for anybody. We all have different backgrounds and religion, everyone comes here with different expectations and we all have to get used to being involved in this community – these couple of aspects have been the most challenging. Moreover it is also a lot harder when you have to learn in a language that is not your first language.
What other activities are you involved in?
In The Li Po Chun community CAS (Creative, Activity, Service) is known as the ‘Quan Cai’ programme (meaning "all-rounded development" in Chinese). The programme comprises five different components; community service, creativity, action, campus support and global concerns.
For the community service part, I’m involved in many activities such as ‘Crossroads’ which is a foundation in Hong Kong, a non-profit organisation serving global needs in general. I’m also involved in ‘Best body and elders’ in which we take care of elders and make friends with those who are disabled/handicapped. I’m also an active participant of the sports community, I love to play football and volleyball.
Last year I went to Thailand during Project Week. We built playgrounds in schools along the Thai-Burma border. After we finished the project I had the opportunity to witness the fruit of our work light up the children’s faces with happiness. It was an honour having been able to make people happy; it was just breathtaking to see everyone smiling and saying thanks.
What are your ambitions after you leave UWC?
As Shelby Davis once said “learn, earn and return.” Upon completing the UWC experience I will allow the UWC values inside me to grow and continue to make changes.
Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us?
Thank you to those who have helped me to get here, I’m deeply grateful. For those of you who are wondering whether to apply to UWC or not I would strongly encourage you to go for it, you will not regret it. UWC is a great place for everyone, no matter what their background.
9 November 2010