Мой первый год в UWC Dilijan

My first year at UWC Dilijan was incredible. It is hard to believe that one year has passed, though I am grateful that I have another one ahead of me.

I have studied in English before, so the educational system was not too much of a shock for me, but the IB is by far more difficult than anything I have ever studied before. Thankfully though, UWC Dilijan is full of teachers who are extremely passionate about their subject, and that makes a world of difference when it comes to learning.

If I’m honest, I was dreading sharing a room with three other people before I came, and the thought of living with 200 other students scared me a little. However, I was surprised with the ease at which I adapted to residential life, and now, in summer, I actually miss living with so many people! My roommates were amazing- I had one from Turkey, one from India, and one from Syria, so it was truly a multicultural experience.

At UWC, the idea that friendships between young people are stronger than the politics of their respective countries really does hold true. Sometimes I had to stop and just remind myself what an international environment I was actually living in- you start seeing people as people and not as countries.

Living at UWC, everything is intensified. The highs and the lows are all magnified, and so sometimes it can be a little emotionally exhausting. In my opinion though, it’s all worth it. I wouldn’t trade my first year at UWC for anything.

Outside of class, I joined lots (perhaps too many) of CASs, which are basically after school clubs. My favorites were TEDDYx, inspired by TED, where we organized events for students and teachers to speak about what they were passionate about; MUN, which ultimately culminated in a Model United Nations trip to Turkey; and Global Affairs, where we met once a week to discuss contemporary world issues, listening to students from around the world who were actually affected by them.

Another exciting aspect of the UWC experience is project weeks. Our first project week was arranged for us, as an introduction to Armenia. I travelled to Vayk, a town in the south of Armenia, with a group of other first years, and two teachers, where we got to see beautiful old monasteries, meet local kids, and speak with a Peace Corps volunteer living there. Project weeks for me illustrated amazing Armenian hospitality, as there were always locals eager to share dried fruit, lavash, and stories. My second project week was to Mount Aragats. We climbed to the southern summit in snowshoes, though it was already May, and barely got down in time to escape a blizzard. That was definitely a nerve-wracking project week, which was quite physically challenging as well, but it was still a valuable experience that I had with a group of really great people.

Aside from Project Weeks, there are many opportunities to be outdoors, and explore Armenia. We often have the chance to go hiking in the beautiful nature surrounding our campus, and there are free cultural trips arranged by school on long weekends to other towns in Armenia.

I think that many prospective Russian students think that Armenia is too similar to home, and too close to be exciting. However, I would like to say that that proved entirely false in my first year in Dilijan. Armenia, while in some ways similar to Russia, has its own culture, traditions, foods, and particularities, and I am still fascinated with the country. UWC Dilijan is located in a beautiful location, and it is a privilege to share the experience with so many other interesting students.  I have made some of my best friends at UWC Dilijan, and I was initially struck by how kind and open everyone is. I remember the first couple days of last year, I hid in my room, thinking that it was a mistake that I was there- that I wasn’t adventurous enough for UWC, or brave enough to live in another country without my family. Now, UWC Dilijan is a second home for me, and I cannot wait to come back in August. I’m very excited to meet all the first years and see all of my friends (2nd years now!) after summer.

Now off to work on IAs, and my EE…and enjoy the sunshine of course!

Ekaterina,

UWC Dilijan College’17

 

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