Hanadi Dreca

Hanadi Dreca

UWC attended: United World College of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Class Year: Class of 2024

For as long as I could remember, my parents always taught me to be proud of who I am and where I come from, but to also appreciate and respect the diverse culture around me. Coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country mostly known for the terror that took place in the early 90s, sometimes it was hard to fully understand the beauty and weight of the burden that comes within it. Growing up, I always wondered about the factors that influence one’s identity and how it shapes the way we see the world around us. This way of thinking encouraged me to spark various conversations with my peers and realize how communication is not only the key of understanding, but also an opening for the common, middle ground of agreement. Similarly, this ground of agreement, that my country longs for so much, sometimes seemed like it would be solved during hours of long conversation among teenagers where they were open enough to listen and share their experiences, too. In a sense, I realized that in order for me to reach someone’s hand, I had to outstretch mine, too.

The mission of the UWC movement matched with my ideals and I knew that I wanted to experience the diversity offered by its unique “world”. An aspect I enjoyed the most during the time I’ve spent in UWC Mostar were the hands I mentioned. Hands that were outstretched for endless opportunities, hands that were always ready to offer their warmth and even hands that needed a little nudge in order to be reached. Throughout life, all of those hands, I’ve felt and held, imprinted their mark on me. They each left me with something valuable from the person I met. And that way I will never forget them, nor anything that makes them who they are.

UWC in a sense pushed me forward and challenged me daily to set my goals and interests. I always enjoyed exploring History and Anthropology as subjects because they allowed me to fully grasp how past, culture and society shape our present selves. But with the time I’ve spent thinking about my future, I realized that politics played a major role during my education and also had its way to intertwine with my daily life. This is one of the reasons I decided to explore and learn more about it through subjects like International Relations or Political Science.

I decided to attend Lewis & Clark College mainly because I believe it will allow me to develop and push forward throughout many aspects, besides academic excellence. When I first heard about the closeness of the community and variety of activities that take place within, I knew it would benefit me the similar way it did during my time at the UWC. Besides the academic interests I’ve mentioned, I always had a spot in my heart for music and art. I play the piano, and had a unique opportunity, that in a sense came out of nowhere, to experience playing in a band and meet new people through music. Upon my research I realized that Lewis and Clark also offers opportunities that would allow me to branch out in this aspect of myself, as well, and it made my decision to move to Portland easier.

Just as I think about moving to a new environment I can’t help but to feel excited for all the unknown experiences and situations that will help me grow as a person. I hope that during my stay in Lewis & Clark College I manage to accomplish my academic interests, get to hold and meet new pairs of hands and actively participate in a community that already proved itself to be welcoming.