My first term at Waterford has come to an end, and in a day and a half, I’ll be on my way to Johannesburg and from thereon home. This seems like a good time to reflect on some first impressions of Swaziland and of UWC.
When I was told I’d been offered a spot at UWC in Swaziland, I had only a vague idea of what life might be like here. Swaziland is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the highest HIV and AIDS prevalence on the planet. However, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a more peaceful and welcoming culture.
I was told not to get disappointed if my experience didn’t turn out to be exactly as I expected it to. It didn’t. Yet, I’m far from disappointed. I love Waterford, and I’ll be forever thankful to my sponsors and my parents for giving me this opportunity. What’s so good about this place? I’ll give you a few examples.
- Everybody does something. Every individual in this school does something that is particularly interesting. In fact, there are so many clubs, activities and events to take part in that it’s physically impossible to participate in all of them.
- There is support for initiative. A couple of weeks ago, there was a school concert by the choir and some bands, and the assembly hall was packed. Not only was it a good concert – the excitement surrounding the concert was amazing, in and of itself. These sort of things happen regularly. Another noteworthy event was the theatre performances produced by the IB2s at the school. They made me want to take up acting again.
- Waterford challenges you, in all aspects of life. Firstly, the IB is rigorous, and the effort needed to achieve a good score is substantial. Secondly, having all these opportunities for extra curricular activities will force you to excel in your areas of interest. Thirdly, the community service opportunities at this school are plentiful. You can work with everything from puppies or recycling to government hospitals or local entrepreneurship. Fourthly, the social and cultural setting of the school is different from anything anyone who comes here is used to, simply because you won’t find the same combination of people anywhere else in the world. You will need to adapt, and respect others.
With all these things to to, naturally, UWC is tiering, and I look forward to a month of relaxation with friends and family.