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International Students and Scholars

Bio: Oliver Heinke

Davis United World College Scholar
United World College of Costa Rica

Oliver Heinke

In 2009 I graduated from an international school “United World College Costa Rica”, which was definitely one of the most challenging and amazing experiences I ever had. Before joining UWC Costa Rica I lived in Baños, a little town on the border between the high lands and the Amazon region in Ecuador. On September 1999 the Tungurahua volcano erupted. My home town of Baños was evacuated; 20,000 people had to look for new places to live, find new jobs and try to live.  A year later everyone was allowed to return home With time we got used to the volcano and even though sometimes it awakes again, we have learned to deal with it.  

Baños is surrounded by mountains and rivers, which makes it one of the most popular tourist places in Ecuador.  Baños is well known for the infinite number of sports it offers like climbing, rafting, cycling and many others. This is the place where I grew up making these sports a vital part of my life.

Nature has always been a key point for me when deciding where to go and what to do. I mostly lived in the countryside where I always had the opportunity to learn and experience new things. Living far from big cities helped me develop a unique mentality and to enjoy a healthier childhood.

Though my parents are from Germany, I feel as though I have Latino blood running through my veins because Ecuador is the country where I grew up. Having both nationalities is a lot of fun. I can choose my nationality accordingly and I am never untruthful.  Being German/ Ecuadorian I had the opportunity to grow up with two different cultures and mentalities, which tremendously influenced the development of my ideology/personality.

 Right after UWC I got into Lewis & Clark College, a wonderful college in an awesome city (Portland). The weather and the North American society were the first things I had to get used to. Now that is not a big deal anymore. The international community at L&C is quite big and diverse. This is one of the various positive aspects about studying and living here.

 Being at Lewis & Clark it is almost impossible not to take part in activities, clubs, talks and lectures. The opportunities I have found at L&C are many.  Being a German/Latino guy I took part in the German/Spanish clubs where I was able to transmit and share my various cultural experiences with American students. Being one of the few German/Spanish speakers I was asked to work for the foreign language department. I made translations of German movies into English, and I worked as a speaking partner for student studying Spanish. I was also an English tutor for international students. I work at the Bon Appétit, the cafeteria, which is not just a good way to make money, but also a wonderful opportunity to meet new people.

My future plans at L&C are taking part in a study abroad program and trying to take better advantage of all the academic, social and cultural opportunities the school offers. Also Portland is a place where one can have a lot of fun and learn many new things. Portland is a very popular spot for many national and international artists, so there are concerts and shows 24/7.  The natural features of Portland are ideal for sports and outdoor activities. Therefore I spend my weekends climbing, cycling and every once in a while I go to a concert down town.