Sara Santos

Sara Pacheco Lobato dos Santos

UWC attended: United World College Changshu (China)
Class Year: Class of 2024

UWC feels like an experience that hardly fits into the span of only two years. The UWC spirit is quite difficult to put into words or to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced them. And moving away from home to such a distant place wasn’t something that I expected but UWC and its spirit made up two unbelievable years of my life.

I come from the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital. I’d lived there all my life and had been interested in the arts ever since I can remember. Having gone to UWC at such an important stage of maturity in life highly enhanced my growth as an individual and I’ll forever be grateful for that. I absolutely loved living in China and getting to know a culture completely different from my own. I got the chance to study art and theatre, which were subjects I absolutely loved, and at the same time got to explore new ones.

As fellow UWCers will understand, the UWC spirit and experience is made of its people. Ones that went from strangers to family in a noticeably short period of time. I learned so much by living with students and faculty from the most varied backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. I made friendships for life and was so lucky to be able to live through both hardships and happiness with my best friends. It was heartbreaking when my experience was cut short due to the COVID pandemic, and even more when I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to campus and friends. As the saying goes “never take anything for granted”, and now that I have literally lived that lesson, I’ll take it with me wherever I go.

When I was applying to college, I was looking for something similar to the tight-knit community that I experienced in UWC combined with the Liberal Arts curriculum that would allow me to explore new subjects while doing the ones I already love. Lewis and Clark seemed to be able to offer this, and its values went pretty much hand in hand with the ones I lived at UWC. L&C’s combination of a natural setting while close to a city was definitely very appealing, as well as the large range of study abroad programs offered.

Academically, I’m still not sure what I’ll be majoring in. But that makes me eager to try new things and explore how they can be combined with my big passion for Art. In my free time, I like to be with friends and family. I really enjoy the outdoors and strolling around the city and am very excited to get to know Portland. I love drawing, painting, watching movies and series, and listening to music (I sometimes try and pick up the guitar). Traveling is a big thing now and UWC really sparked in me the enthusiasm to visit new places and experience different cultures.

Coming to L&C I’m excited to live in and explore a new country while growing and being involved in a new community. I hope that at Lewis and Clark I’ll be able to have a new and different experience from UWC, but still one that I can love as much.