Daniela Sofia Galeana Gaspar, Grade 11
UWC ISAK Japan
Many of us experience the fear and excitement that crawls up our necks as we pack, preparing to get on a plane and arrive at UWC. We eat up our values in every single format there is. We stress about IB together and attempt to build ourselves into the person we want to become, but when does this turn into UWC? Well, if I am honest, there is no correct answer. It might be when you walk through the school entrance, UWC day, dinner, while having a conversation, or even on your graduation day. For me, the moment I understood what UWC is about was Spill the tea. At UWC ISAK, we have a tradition, a night to take yourself up the stage and do whatever you want. International Women’s Week had an outstanding closure at ISAK, with the most beautiful Spill the tea. People walked up to share in every way; pieces of art, singing, dancing, and talking. We try to be the best at everything, or at least that is what I did. Coming to UWC, you learn to appreciate when others are better than you and to value your effort, skills, and talent as something more than tools for school. People were not worried about how good of a singer they were, or their playing or their dancing that night. The only thing that mattered was letting their friends appreciate who they were and having fun doing it. To go up there and hearing some of my classmates’ most vulnerable memories helped me understand. Understand where I was. A community where everyone comes from different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds can sound contradicting. What in the world can people so different have in common to create a community? Watching at all those people when walking up to the stage, I turned around to find everyone’s face trying to take in each other’s words, to see what a genuine community is. Not a group of people living in the same houses, but people who bonded through their differences. Entering UWC, we all think we know what to expect. We read and read about our values, but when they turn into music, stories, tears, hugs, and laughs. To experience UWC is to share community, challenge, and find a new perspective to turn into your own.