Vaani Aryaki

UWC attended: Mahindra United World College of India
Class Year: Class of 2023

A majority of my childhood was spent in Faridabad- an industrial city in the National Capital Region of India. However, when I was 10 years old, my family moved to the Netherlands for a year. Even though everything from food to weather to our new apartment was contrastingly different- I had to learn how to adapt to a new environment. It was during this time I learned that change is essential for growth. Fortunately, despite countless cultural differences, values associated with making friends and expressing kindness remain consistent across the globe. I learned that no matter where you go in the world if you truly take some time to understand a place’s context and cultural history, you can find a way to assimilate.


After returning to India, I found myself dissatisfied the standard educational system that provided limited avenues for students to voice their opinions. I yearned to be part of a community where students were both consumers and creators of their unique educational experiences. This desire for independence and autonomy is what led me to Mahindra United World College of India. For the first time ever, I was offered space to think critically and become more articulate in my expressions through varied student-led activities. At MUWCI, every student was a leader in their own right and actively engaged in discussions on how to support, empower and collaborate with members of communities that surround ours. This I believe is in line with how L&C envisions its ‘Pioneers’ to strive for collective growth.


One of the many reasons why I was drawn to Lewis and Clark was because of the school’s focus on sustainable living practices. I think a community that is defined by its environmentally conscious norms will allow me to be more mindful of my presence and purpose on this planet. My recent independent study at UWC was about the economic measure of privatization and its ineffectiveness to reduce the negative impact of mining in Faridabad. At Lewis and Clark, I hope to explore the dynamic relationship between economics and environmental studies from an academic lens to deepen my understanding of issues happening back home.


To my readers: I find it challenging to present my story to you- a story that explains how and why LC happened and what I intend to achieve here. This story is a work in progress and I’m just as excited as you are to find out what happens next. At the very least, I hope that I can begin to live a balanced lifestyle that helps me accomplish both personal and academic growth at Lewis and Clark. That said, what I can express with full confidence is this: I am someone who loves taking naps, going on jogs, painting portraits, making desserts and consuming said desserts. No matter where the story takes me, I’m definitely going to be chasing desserts.