Sitting next to the window in my room in one of the student’s residences at UWC Mostar while reading the question about what I enjoyed most about my experience at UWC Mostar. UWC has changed me into a different person, a person that can be independent, responsible, it helped to create those long-term friendships with the diversity mindset. It made me realized that home can be defined by people not a place. After being stuck in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the pandemic time, I learned more about the people that were surrounding me, they made Mostar feel like home to me during those hard times that were out of our control. Yet I still believe that UWC Mostar was the right place for me and I would not feel the same way at any other UWC. I found inner peace in Mostar and I will be thankful for all those times from the deepest roots in my soul until the last day in my life.
The day I was walking with my host family in Portland, OR back in 2017, I stopped at the gate of LC and I felt the butterflies in my stomach by only looking at the diverse community there. I felt that I really wanted to be there. It felt like a dream that I did not want to wake up from. I had a hope of attending LC one day and that dream came true and the butterflies are back with the hope of keeping up the spirit of the weird Portland.
A couple of years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a genetic disease and she could not handle it. When she was taking her last breaths, I asked her “is everyone going to die the same way?” She told me that I can make life possible for other people. That is one of the reasons why I want to major in biology, however, the second reason I thought about recently after seeing my parents working in the hospitals during the COVID-19 risky times. Considering the fact that right now, me and my parents are in two different countries and the fact that there are no treatments for COVID-19 yet made me always feel insecure about their lives. Therefore, I wanted to work in labs with people with knowledge to destroy those kinds of fears of losing loved ones.
Outside of the academic environment, I love photography, baking and learning languages. UWC helped me a lot when it comes to my interests as during my two years there, I wanted to communicate with the local people from Mostar with their own local language, so I learned Bosnian and I joined the integration commission at UWC Mostar.
I have been to so many places outside of Iraq, but what I recall the most is my US trip with the exchange program called IYLEP (Iraqi young leaders exchange program). I learned more about myself and I improved skills such as leadership and communications skills with the hope to be able to help my country after.
I hope the Lewis and Clark journey will make me discover who I am in a better way, because each day is a new lesson and I am positively ready to learn all those life’s lessons at Portland. Also, at LC I want to explore my academic interests and enjoy the flexibility of being at a liberal arts school.