Veerle Koops, Grade 12
My name is Veerle, I am 17 years old and currently an IB student at UWC East Africa, in Tanzania. This summer I am travelling in East Africa with my friend Roos.
In East-African cities, along with many other things, chapati is sold everywhere. It’s streetfood and cheap, and I have recently discovered a great, great love for it. In my Swahili class, my teacher once told a story about when she herself was in secondary school. She got up everyday at 3AM to make chapati, so that they could be sold during the day. This way she was able to financially help her family. My Tanzanian Swahili teacher is the most hardworking person I know, and that statement carries weight for me. When I am in town, stories like that are common, stories that would not be and are not common in the Western world, which I grew up in and have experienced from the privileged position of a Dutch nationality, and in the past have perceived as ‘normal’.
Some people thrive in the morning, some at night. Being a UWC student, you learn how to be both. Naturally I am most definitely a night person, I like being awake when no one else is and doing my work during that time is efficient for me. However, the curriculum of IB that I am currently following is demanding and I have needed to change my ways: continuously having to be on top of my game is only possible for me if I implement habits that I’ll sustain for a period of time, such as getting up early or staying up late. exercising in the afternoon or exercising at night, having time for personal pursuits or not. The other side of my UWC life, means taking the night ferry to Bukoba this July, so that from Bukoba Roos and I could take buses to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. I had never been in Rwanda before, or any other African country for that matter, apart from Tanzania.
Just now, these two paragraphs, separately and combined, can sum up my UWC experience, without the 1000 things and stories that hide behind and in between those lessons.