UWC for a brighter tomorrow

United World Colleges (UWC) is making great strides as more people join what evolved into a global movement that strengthens and educates.

29 January 2019 | Education

Elizabeth Joseph





Finding a university or any tertiary institution that can help build your future, can prove rather stressful. United World Colleges (UWC) makes it easy.

UWC is a global educational movement with the mission to "make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”, and can be a great first step to a fruitful future.

Inspired by the pioneering educationalist Kurt Hahn, UWC was founded in 1962, with the aim to promote peace.

Today, 17 UWC schools offer an inimitable educational experience to students from over 155 nationalities on four continents.

While four of the schools educate children and young people aged two to 19, most UWC schools focus on the 16 to 19 age group and teach an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).

Most UWC students are selected through its system of national committees, which operate in 159 countries and territories since 2018.

The majority of selected students pursuing the IBDP at a UWC school or college receive financial assistance from UWC. This may be because of certain financial constraints.

Every year students from all over the world are chosen and Uapingena Kandjoze (UK), who is currently in Swaziland, is on her UWC journey.

The Zone (TZ) caught up with Kandjoze and spoke about some of her experiences, as well as some of her expectations.

TZ: Tell us about yourself.

UK: My name is Uapingena Kandjoze I’m 18 and I would generally describe myself as outgoing and bubbly.

TZ: How did you hear about United World Colleges?

UK: I first heard about UWC from family members like my cousins and sister who have also attended different UWC schools.

TZ: Which college are you attending?

UK: Currently I’m a student at UWCSA Waterford Kamhlaba in the Kingdom of Eswatini.

TZ: Tell us briefly about your experiences at UWC so far?

UK: So far I can only speak about my experiences from my first year, which have certainly been interesting and entertaining. My UWC experience has been filled with so many different surprises, socialising with many different people, which always leads to plenty of laughter and smiles.

TZ: How do UWC schools compare to Namibian schools, with respect to levels of difficulty, exposure, culture, sport and community service activities, as well as the available resources etc?

UK: I have been so much more exposed to the world and learned about the differences between all of our cultures, which only adds more to my learning experience in class. Due to the IB syllabus, the level of difficulty is much higher and one will receive a very well-rounded education involving activities, community service and culture.

TZ: What schools are similar to UWC schools?

UK: Schools like St Paul’s and St George’s are almost similar in terms of the way they teach their students to be more independent, and also in terms of their community involvement.

TZ: Do UWC schools prepare you adequately for tertiary education and future career paths?

That is one of their main goals, which can be seen from the manner in which the students are taught. That coupled with the heavy workload produces independent students that are more than ready for tertiary education.

TZ: What is the distinguishing edge that UWC schools provide their students with?

UK: The way the curriculum is set up gives you the keys to success and infinite pools of knowledge and independency, without actually giving it to you directly. They make you find your own way to the key through many trials and tribulations, but at the end of it, you will reap the rewards of knowledge and success.

TZ: How did you cope with the responsibility of looking after yourself in a foreign setting at such a vulnerable young age?

UK: It took a while to cope with the many responsibilities that just dropped into my lap out of nowhere. In my first year I did not look after myself very well; I was always more focused on other people’s wellbeing, making sure that I attend all the events and my extracurricular activities all the time and making friends; and also trying to cope with the stresses of school by myself. But all that taught me valuable lessons and I changed all of the bad habits in term three; only then I did I begin to cope with taking care of myself.

TZ: Could you manage to lead a balanced life?

UK: In the beginning (first term of school) I sort of lost touch with myself in the midst of all the different people, the events and the school, and it took a while for me to find myself again; but now I can happily say that I am managing quite well.

TZ: How did your exposure to people from completely different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds help shape your identity in the world?

UK: It helped me tremendously to cement my own ideals and perspectives on controversial issues and topics; this is a result of having copious arguments and debates on many topics.

Why do you recommend studying at UWC?

Of course if you have the means to study at one of the colleges you should take the opportunity. As I was once told by a UWC graduate, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity which creates memories that will stay with you for a long time.

TZ: What advice can you give a person planning to attend a UWC school?

UK: The best advice that I can think of is to buckle up, because you are about to embark on the ride of your life, but do not begin your experience with any preconceived notions as any UWC will utterly surprise you.

Applications close on the 15 February 2019. Please visit [email protected] for more information.

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