This July, CHS sophomore Daniel Hodde attended a summer camp on Vancouver Island, Canada, by United World College (UWC), a collection of 17 prestigious two-year IB schools scattered across the globe: The locations include Japan, Costa Rica, India, South Africa, and Germany. UWC was founded in 1962 in Wales, and both of Hodde’s parents went to UWC in New Mexico, where they met. As a result, Hodde has known about the system of schools for his whole life.
A UWC student applies sophomore or junior year of high school and attends one of the 17 schools worldwide for two years, completing a rigorous IB diploma program and numerous project weeks during which students finish school-funded projects.
Pomona College freshman Zachary Wakefield just completed this rigorous program at the UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg, Germany.
“Our network of schools, the United World Colleges, is truly one of the greatest projects to bring the world to being one world, to being whole,” Wakefield said.
This summer Hodde was inspired to follow in the footsteps of Wakefield, who applied during his sophomore year at CHS before transferring to UWC Robert Bosch College. Hodde, a sophomore, plans on applying this year, just as Wakefield did. One of the reasons he will apply is that he will be exposed to different philosophies from various countries around the world.
“You get different viewpoints and different sides of stories,” Hodde said. “You think in different ways because you’re surrounded by people from all over the world.”
At his camp, Hodde learned about topics in workshops such as leadership, climate justice, indigenous peoples, anti-oppression, colonization, and gender, which echoed what he might learn about during projects at UWC. During the camp sessions, speakers came and talked about each topic. For example, a climate activist came to lead the climate justice workshop. At the camp, there were about 75 participants, 16 youth leaders (counselors), and 15 adults.
At UWC Robert Bosch College, there are only 200 students all of whom live in student houses consisting of 25 students each. According to Wakefield, this small size creates close and trusting friendships. But one thing Wakefield emphasized was the people he lived with.
“My favorite experience was my student house that I lived in my second year,” Wakefield said.
He made friends with many people including a refugee from Afghanistan; someone from Pakistan that had never left his hometown before UWC; a shy, homesick Ugandan that everyone enjoyed spending time with; and a nerdy gamer from Hong Kong. Wakefield and his student house cooked together on Fridays, had movie nights, and even went on a retreat together in the mountains at one point. Wakefield emphasized that if he ever felt in need of conversation, he would go to the common room and there would always be someone there to talk to.
Based off of his experiences at summer camp and what his parents have told him about UWC, Hodde hopes to join a similarly close-knit community and benefit from the opportunities he will gain at UWC if he is accepted into this selective program. Clearly, UWC offers many opportunities for students to grow as people and as citizens of the world, learn about other cultures and gain knowledge academically, and create bonds that will last.