Lana Parezanin

UWC attended: United World College of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Class Year: Class of 2023

Once upon a time, a genuine love for stories and an immense hatred towards Bosnian nationalistic and opinion-suffocating educational system have brought Lana to UWC in Mostar. It seemed like a fairytale place and she had no idea that she would face three dragons on her way of acquiring the Blue-Square-Hat. The first dragon was waiting for her at the entrance of the school building and it burned off a big chunk of her unpronounceable surname, turning Lana Parežanin into Lana P. Soon she realized that these very people, who came from all over the world and couldn’t pronounce her surname if their lives depended on it, were one of the biggest treasures she would find on her way to the Blue-Square-Hat. They were sources of stories far different from her own, and have given her the Magical Glasses for seeing the world through a hundred new lenses.

The second dragon came with the people who could pronounce Lana P.’s surname, as they’ve been sharing the same birth-country. This was the Dragon Of Unwanted Stories, and it was always accompanied by the people Lana P. was closest to and shared everything with, but the nationality. These were stories of war, with vastly different villains and heroes than Lana P. was taught in her nationalistic educational system. The flame of this dragon burned the pre-set structures in her mind and she had to rebuild her understanding of her national identity. She was a Dragon Of Unwanted Stories to her friends as well, so at least they were on the nerve-wrenching building mission together.

The third dragon was called IB. It was an academic system that kept attacking her and people around her, draining them of life and joy. However, at some moments in which she managed to tame the dragon, the most beautiful things happened: she learned to tell stories with her body through Theatre, expressed her ideas clearly in German, didn’t die in English Language and Literature class as a non-native speaker, stretched her imagination to propose that a researcher could do both methods of fieldwork if they did a heavy plastic surgery in between, in Anthropology.

In the end, she got the Blue-Square-Hat, but she had to return it and the rest of Graduation-Robes to school, which taught her that the journey is what you get to keep in the end.

(In LC, I hope to continue writing this story and meeting new dragons, but with a slightly different twist; I want to focus on technology by majoring in Computer Science. I believe that the accessibility of technology, alongside with its immense storytelling potentials, has the ability to change education that I loathed in my life before UWC. Besides, I’m looking forward to meeting new people and exploring the opportunities that LC has to offer.)