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International Students and Scholars

Tobias Varntoft

Class of 2021

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” is a quote which inspired me to apply to UWC in the first place. But first, let’s go a few years back. I was born and raised on the country side of Denmark, which basically meant I was surrounded by people with the same ideals and viewpoints of the world, and I slowly started to adapt to these values. The older I got, the more I realized these set values did not fit me as a person, and I craved an escape which then ended up being UWC. And it was the best decision I have ever made.

Even though I have already graduated, I still vividly remember all the moments I shared with beautiful people from all over the world. I cannot pinpoint one moment that I enjoyed the most, but if I had to pick two moments or experiences I value the most, then it must be the small moments with my friends and the self-growth / self-discovery I experienced in the two years. To be able to be in a room with people from four different continents, who speak four different languages and have four completely different approaches to life is a privilege. And the self-growth I have gone through in the two years of UWC is beyond words. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be and it made my plans more concise.

I was very unfamiliar with the whole concept of American universities, and when I started searching for the different universities, Lewis and Clark provided such a good insight and support for me as an international student. I vividly remember the essay I had to write for the application to Lewis and Clark, and they mentioned concepts such as sustainability, entrepreneurial thinking, and international engagement, which are all concepts that my life revolves around and it caught my attention. I also loved the focus on international students as a part of their education since I think it is important to diversify people to, in the end, unify people.

I have not yet decided on my major for Lewis and Clark, but luckily I have a few semesters to experiment in those majors I feel interested in. I have always been passionate for the theater and acting, but at the same time I have lately drawn interest in education, international affairs, and economics. Luckily, I do not have to pick yet, but I have time to explore all the different courses before I should decide which one I want. The reason for these courses is the impact I can provide for other people. The joy I give to people by acting. The knowledge I can pass on to people by studying education.

I love extra curriculars. It is an excuse to do something out of the box and it challenges the bubble you are in. When I went to UWC, I decided to try out things I had never done before, such as teaching, dancing, ultimate frisbee and musical theater. Hopefully at Lewis and Clark I will be able to challenge myself even further. I also did taekwondo for eight years and achieved the black belt right before I went to UWC.

Before UWC, I never traveled. Due to my parents’ financial situation, we never traveled. The only traveling we did was when we visited half of my family in Belgium. UWC gave me the opportunity to travel around Europe and I have been eternally grateful for this opportunity. To be able to independently travel to other countries is such a great feeling. I hiked in the French Alps, went kayaking in a Swiss lake, explored Budapest, and worked at a refugee camp in Berlin. When I go to Lewis and Clark it will be my first time outside of Europe and I am nervous, but at the same time I am excited to explore more of this world.

I hope to accomplish some stability at Lewis and Clark. My life has been a rollercoaster in the recent years, and I hope that at Lewis and Clark I can achieve some academic stability as well as a personal stability. I also hope that I can accomplish something worth being remembered. When you are surrounded by so many people in one school, it is easy to be forgotten, but I hope I can make a big enough change to be remembered for at least a while.

United World College

United World College Robert Bosch College (Germany)