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United World Colleges
May 29, 2006 08:56 PM 3800 Views
(Updated May 29, 2006 08:56 PM)

' United World Colleges(UWC) is the only global educational movement which brings together students from all over the world at pre-university level(or tertiary level in the case of one College), regardless of their ability to pay. Students are selected on merit and live together in an environment designed to foster international understanding, tolerance and peace.'

The idea of creating this movement stems from the German educationalist Kurt Hann's brain who in 1962 made it into a reality with the opening of the first UWC in Wales. Today there are 11  UWCs the most recent one in Bosnia starting its first session in 2006. Each UWC is unique in its own way but they all share a commmon mission which is to make education a force to unite young people committed to peace and international understanding.

The UWCs follow the International Baccalaureate(IB) programme which is a two year diploma course recognised throughout the world. The selections are based on merit alone without any consideration given to financial status. The students in the Adriatic(Italy) and Pearson( Canada) are all on a full scholarship. The scholarships at other UWCs depends upon the natioanl Committees of the candidates' own country.

Community service forms an integral part of UWC education. All students participate in programmes tailored to cater to the needs of the local community. The experience of living together and working in an intensive multicultural environment  does much to groom one' s personality embedding qualities such as tolerance and open mindedness thus promoting international understanding.

I am currently a student at the United World College of the Adriatic, Italy. From the description above it seems as though UWC is a perfect utopia of some sort. This is obviously not true. Life at a UWc is not at all easy. A student's daily schedule is as hectic as it could be. Classes in the morning which are very demanding followed by physical and aestheic activities in the evenings are  not easy to live with. Plus we have to deal with homesickness from time to time.

Yet, being a part of this international family representing India makes me feel proud. To sum up the experience of these past months I would say that in a UWC we are not treated as children but as responsible young men and women who are willng to share their experiences, good or bad with everyone. Many day to day reseponsibilities are left upon us. The college community trusts us. We are expected to have a good sense and behave responsibly. The very few rules that we have are created by the students themselves and exist as guidelines today because they are a result of the experiences that students have gone through in many years. Acceptance of the scholarship carries many obligations - the readiness to participate with enthusiasm, integrity, energy and determination in all aspects of the College programme, and to dedicate oneself with lifelong idealism to the aims of the United World Colleges.

It might seem surprising but I feel closer to my country while I am here. When my co-years show curosity about knowing more about sanskrit, the different religions, cultures, customs, festivals, practices, arrange marriages, Bollywood, my mind gets filled with acres of cabinets.All full to bursting with arguments of the pros of the Indian way. Sometimes, it just gets difficult to sum it up all. I just feel as if I'm going to make the speech of the century. When I wore the traditional salwaar kameez on Opening ceremony, when I made presentaions about the Kashmir issue.these are just a few of the moments when my heart suddenly changes continents and it beats with pure Indian blood. Blood distilled from a thosand years of tradition and made viscious by the expectations of my parents, of my extended family, my friends, my community, my enitre country. I wish that I am able to live up to the hopes of all these.

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