Why You Should Study Abroad With United World Colleges
The United World Colleges (UWC) are 17 schools (and counting!) around the world bound by a mission for change.
Before I begin, it may be worth explaining what exactly I am talking about. The UWC are a group of boarding schools with the common mission statement of making education “a force to unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. Their schools span the globe, and include schools in countries such as Swaziland, Thailand and Costa Rica.
Yes, you read right. Boarding schools where high schoolers can study abroad! That means successful applicants get to study abroad for two years, live with students representing over 90 nationalities and finding themselves (or whatever).
Now that you know what UWC is, here are some reasons why you should study abroad with United World Colleges!
- You get to make friends from all over the world.
- You have the chance to travel and see the world.
- You’ll get the opportunity to move away from your (no-so-pesky) parents.
- You get to see the world from a new perspective.
- You might even get to learn a new language!
- You’ll get to try new foods from all over the world.
- You have the possibility of living in a castle (the St. Donat’s Castle is home to UWC Atlantic College), which is basically the same as having a Harry Potter experience.
- Did I mention UWC boasts some notable alumni, including King of the Netherlands and actor Fernando (Juan Pablo Di Pace) on Full House?
Sound too good to be true? Well, before I get into how you can apply to study abroad with UWC, let me first debunk some common myths surrounding the schools. First up, the UWCs are NOT an elite, private boarding college preparatory school.
Okay, fine, maybe they are a private boarding school, but not in the way you think. UWC was created by a man named Kurt Hahn after the Cold War when he envisioned a school that would bring young people together regardless of religion and nationalities in order to learn from each other and contribute to a better and more peaceful world. While UWCers often go on to get their higher education from more selective institutions (such as Yale, Brown, and Amherst, to name a few), their aim is not to prepare students for college in a way that prep schools do.
Secondly, the United World College are not a college.
Well then why the heck is it called a “college” then? I know, I know, I asked the same questions. UWCs teach the IB Diploma Program curriculum which for US-Americans, would be the equivalent last two years of high school. As for why it is called a college? I’m not sure… but it’s probably an European thing (it was founded in Wales, UK).
Only rich people can afford to attend.
On the contrary, the opposite is true. More than half the students at the UWCs around the world receive scholarships, and many get full (such as US-Americans)! And no, this is not a scam!
Now that I have (hopefully) reassured you of all your worries, you might be wondering, how can I apply?
- Each country has their own national committee which can be found here: https://www.uwc.org/national-committees.
- More information on the schools here: https://www.uwc.org/education/uwc-model.
- The individual schools can be browsed here: https://www.uwc.org/education/schools-colleges.
- For US Students: All US students receive a full Shelby Davis merit scholarship to attend and can apply through the national committee linked here: http://www.uwc-usa.org/page.cfm?p=500.
- Each country’s selection process differs but the US process composes of a written application, then a Skype interview, and finally a “Finalist Weekend” at the UWC in the US (New Mexico).
Photo credit: Maya Goldman