Presentation of UWC Dilijan at the International School of Kazan

On 8 December, teachers from UWC Dilijan met up with high school seniors from Tatarstan and their parents at the International school of Kazan.

Two of the college's teachers, Scott Benzenberg and Yaroslav Zabavskiy, gave a presentation about the college, which opened in 2014 in Dilijan (Armenia). The school has 198 students from 72 countries around the world. The teachers talked about the UWC system, which nurtures students who are active, outgoing and who respond to the challenges of society, about the children from Tatarstan who study at UWC in Singapore and Italy, and about the fact that its possible to apply for a place at the college until 15 December 2016.

In his presentation, Scott Benzenberg, the school's English Literature teacher, talked about the importance of having the right atmosphere in order to promote learning and allow students to develop themselves. "The atmosphere makes it possible to take a risk and try something new. It happens, when the students work together, united by a common purpose". The atmosphere is created by the teachers, who in today's schools are increasingly becoming mentors and trainers, motivating students and helping them to meet challenges", said Scott.

Yaroslav Zabavskiy, the head of the Art Department, said that it's through engaging in creative work that UWC students learn to think creatively and discover in themselves previously unused resources. "UWC Dilijan has a strong art department: we have music, theatre and visual arts – sculpture, photography, fine arts. These are very important subjects, and during the learning process you can spend hours in the library and make hundreds of sketches before actually create a piece of work", said Yaroslav Zabavskiy.

Yaroslav, who himself studied at UWC Atlantic, fielded a question from a Kazan schoolchild who was interested in how well you needed to do at school in order to enter a UWC college. "This is a question I asked myself, will I be able to get in? When I met with some UWC graduates, I was told that if I do okay at an average Russian school, then everything will be fine. I studied at a normal school in the outskirts of Moscow, I didn't get top marks but I was able to get in. Initially you might think that studying, for example, Biology in English will be difficult, but actually it's perfectly doable".

The teachers also explained that UWC Dilijan students get a two-month summer holiday, three weeks in winter, and also there are two weeks put aside for projects each academic year. Each student has their own individual timetable. Students are able to receive visits from friends and relatives, and the campus has a modern medical centre with highly qualified doctors.

One of the meeting's attendees asked a question about whether it was possible to observe their religion at the school. "At our school there are children from all over the world, and practically every religion that exists on the planet is represented there. The school has special places where you can practice your religious observance. The teachers are completely understanding about this. For example, if a student is unable to attend a class because of their religion, then this is something which is treated respectfully", explained Yaroslav Zabavskiy.

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