Davis United World College Scholar
Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific (Canada)
To be absolutely honest, I never once thought, in all my years growing up in Fiji, that I would one day leave my beloved island nation to pursue an education overseas.
I was born in the Republic of the Fiji Islands in the capital city of Suva. I hail from the chiefly village of Ucunivanua in the district of Verata in the province of Tailevu. I spent 8 years attending a primary school in the capital city and the next 5 years in an all boys boarding school called Queen Victoria School. It was at this boarding school that I received my secondary education and learned to interact with students from different backgrounds. What impressed me most was how my school’s education was geared toward nurturing and preparing young men for a life of service and leadership for the nation.
My experience at Queen Victoria School exposed me not only to students of different backgrounds, but also of different upbringings and different opinions. And it was also through the system of discipline there that I learned to appreciate the value of hard work and team work.
The first time I heard about Lester B Pearson UWC College, I was a senior at my high school and co-leader of the student body. What attracted me most to UWC was its sense of idealism and its embrace of internationalism. I thought it wonderful that there were such schools offering an outstanding education to students from all corners of the world regardless of their ethnicity, sex, religion, political view and financial status. I applied, and much to my surprise, was chosen to represent my country at Lester B Pearson UWC in Canada. I felt deeply honored but well aware of the expectations that my family, teachers, friends and country had of me. With this in mind, I set out to make the most of my experience at Pearson UWC. Looking back, I am thankful that I took hold of such an opportunity.
Attending Lester B Pearson UWC was by far my best educational experience. The experience broadened my views, made me proud of my nationality, and instilled in me a sense of humility that was brought about by my respect for the other 199 students from around the world. At first, I was overwhelmed by almost everything at Pearson UWC. The students were amazing, interesting in their own unique ways. The teachers were highly qualified and showed concern not only for my academic progress, but also for my well being in general. In Pearson’s small community of 200 students, I never once felt alone. Every UWC student brought something unique and this created an amazing network of sharing amongst the students and faculty. Together we shared ideas, opinions and cultures.
I entered Pearson UWC with my own narrow views on world issues, but after spending two years with students whose countries are actively involved in those issues, my knowledge and understanding increased. Pearson UWC gave me the opportunity to hear and understand the opinions of students from various countries. By having a Palestinian roommate and an Israeli friend, I learned much more about Middle East conflicts than I could ever gain from the media. Learning more about these students’ cultures and listening to their opinions has made me more conscious of world issues. Now, if there is an issue involving a country like Poland for instance, I will show more concern to that issue due to the friendships I established.
All that Pearson UWC has offered me has been a blessing, and I will be forever grateful. But what I am most thankful for are the friendships that I formed with students there. I now have good friends from countries like Kazakhstan, Zambia, Honduras, Iraq, Swaziland, Lesotho, Ghana, Egypt, Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Japan, Burkina Faso, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and many more.
Now that one amazing chapter in my life has closed, I am looking forward to the opening of the next one. I will certainly apply everything I have learned so far in this new environment and hope to make many new friends. I look very forward to developing myself in the volunteer service aspect of Lewis & Clark College and am also keen on sharing my cultural knowledge with the L&C community. It is my sincere hope that my time at Lewis & College will be a joyful and memorable learning experience not only for myself but for the College as well.
I’m looking forward to an interesting four-year journey!