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International Students and Scholars

Can Altunkaynak

Class of 2021

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UWC Dilijan is a school that gives you the possibility of discovering what lies within people’s hearts, as well as the magic in small details. I, as a Turkish person, have discovered that people are more than politics and that we can create connections with the power of the lights in our chests. It is a very important journey to take for a Turkish person considering the common history of the two nations.

Furthermore, it was a joy for me to study theatre in UWC Dilijan as well as Russian, which would not be the same if I had attended any other UWC School. The teacher you have is quite important in theatre, and we had an amazing one. Also, UWC Dilijan is the only UWC that offers Russian ab initio as far as I know, and people generally speak Russian rather than English outside of the school, so you really learn to get through the language barrier and understand each other, which was quite important for me.

Lewis and Clark is a college that has an understanding of a community, and after UWC, this is especially more important because you want the school you are studying to have a character rather than being some building where you just come and go for a high GPA. Also, I felt like I would be able to improve myself better in a city like Portland if I study theatre and anthropology because cities always have new stories to tell you as well as new opportunities. Essentially, what made me choose Lewis & Clark was the character and community it had, the interesting classes it offered as well as the open-minded city it was situated in.

I want to study Anthropology and Theatre. Self-expression was always important to me, and became even more important after UWC where I said to myself that I want to create impact in life through arts. Of course, this required me to understand people. Thus, I hope that I will discover different aspects of the human being by studying anthropology and use the knowledge I will have to create impact that will touch people’s hearts through theatre. It is more or less like learning a theory, putting it into context and showing it to the whole world so that they can interpret it and create change within themselves through the impact you had earlier created.

I am a language geek and I love to dance. For me, learning a new language is like creating a new person who can see things from a different perspective; someone who can truly understand what others mean rather than someone who can only make sense of what people seem to say. Dancing, in my personal opinion, is simply letting the energies of the universe pass through my body so that I can express my emotions through transforming them into movement. That is why I dance all the time, even when I am standing in a line.

When considering something interesting to share about myself, as a philosophy student in IB, I will go ahead and say: “I guess it really depends on what people deem interesting.” However, to answer this question casually, I will say that there was not much in my life that was really interesting per se, like doing bungee jumping, but I guess what makes me interesting is what I think of life and what I find in small details rather than what I do with it. So, I can say that I am generally a very out-of-the-box person.

I don’t know my academic interests yet, because I really like to know anything in general. Anything that can give me a different perspective about the human being intrigues me because it has something different that I have not learned before.

I haven’t travelled much to other countries. I have first been to UK to learn English in a summer camp in the beginning of high school. Then, I have been to Romania twice; first for an archaeological camp and the second for another camp that aims to discover something more in education. I will also go to the same camp in France this summer about education. I have studied in UWC Dilijan so I have been to Georgia and Armenia. Last but not the least, I have travelled to Greece and Bulgaria with my family several times.

Travelling to other countries became a thing for me in high school. When I was growing up, I never went abroad and the only language I constantly heard was Turkish until the age of 14. I guess it is because Turkey is a big country, and has lots of cultures within it due to the history of the Anatolian peninsula.

I always believed that we should have an existentialist journey in life rather than a determinist one, because things would not excite us and would lose their meanings if we knew what would come next. Human nature goes against this due to survival instinct by creating comfort zones, but this is rather conformist. Thus, people tend to create concepts and put everything into shapes which steers us away from reality and blocks our self-development.

Thus, at this point what I can hope to accomplish at Lewis & Clark is only to get to know myself better and to see those things around me that are yet to come. Then, I will try to create my impact with the tools I will have. I must clarify at this point that one should neither aim to change anyone nor to give direction to their lives, because an external change is never voluntary and thus not beneficial, but rather to inspire them by creating an impact so that they can change THEMSELVES.

United World College

United World College of Dilijan (Armenia)