Anja is a dual citizen of the USA and Norway, having been born to an American father, a professor, and a Norwegian mother, an elementary school teacher. Anja grew up in Norway with her sister and brother, except for a one year “California experience” when she was thirteen.
When asked how she became interested in the United World Colleges, Anja says, “For as long as I can remember I have been active in civil rights organizations such as ‘Changemakers,’ ‘Development Founders,’ and ‘SOS Racism.’ My mentor in ‘Changemakers’ happened to be a former UWC graduate from Waterford UWC of Southern Africa. She got me interested with her stories. Also, I wanted to do something productive with my life and that would make a positive change.”
As she looks back on her time at Waterford UWC of Southern Africa in Swaziland, Anja says realistically, “It was challenging, but I have never ever regretted going there. It was a unique experience. That region of Africa is the complete opposite of Norway. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the people. The courage and hope that I saw in the people had a great impact on me.”
At Waterford UWC Anja started looking at universities around the world. She really was not sure that she wanted to study in the US. But, she started looking at some schools on the UWC scholarship list and she was intrigued by Lewis & Clark. “I liked the location, the size, and the academic reputation of the school. I also liked the idea of living in the Pacific Northwest where I would have easy access to skiing, hiking, and all types of outdoor activities.” Anja’s aunt and uncle, who live in Washington, visited L&C to take a look. “They told me that L&C had a beautiful campus and that they had heard only good things about the school.”
When asked about Lewis & Clark, Anja says, “I like it. Of course there are postives and negatives about anywhere you are in the world. Anja is not too happy about having to take core courses such as math and Exploration and Discovery. “When I was in the IB program I had to take certain courses and I was hoping to avoid that in college. I have learned that as part of the liberal arts in any US school, there are still categories of courses that I have to take before I graduate. But, I like the campus and the people. I feel welcome and comfortable. I am living in Akin, the Multicultural Hall, and I feel that I always have people there that I can relate to.”
Interestingly, before making her decision to attend L&C, Anja had an email from a former Waterford UWC classmate, Keletso Maine. Both Keletso and Anja had been applying to US colleges and Keletso mentioned that she had decided to go to Lewis & Clark. They made a pact to room together. “Keletso and I are very different, but I am so happy we are living together. Because of the UWC experience, we have a lot in common and it is fun and comforting to have a friend who understands the experience. Because we get along so well, we actually are more at ease at integrating ourselves into the L&C community. It’s great!”
One interesting fact about Anja is that she is playing rugby on the men’s rugby team!! “I am the only girl on the team, but the guys don’t seem to mind.” Anja began playing rugby (on the women’s team) in Swaziland, but she is happy that she can continue to play at L&C. She went on to explain, “We are just playing tag rugby so far. We aren’t tackling yet.”
Anja has not thought a lot about her career yet, but she says, “I want a job that has something to do with development or global concerns.”