Have you ever heard about a small country, where snow leopards live, eagles fly and wherever you look, you will see mountains and glaciers? Have you ever heard about bilingual nomads, who used to live in yurts centuries ago? Have you ever heard of a post- Soviet state, where people changed 3 out of 5 presidents through revolutions over 30 years (once they managed to do it in 4 hours) as they saw a threat to democracy?
That’s Kyrgyz Republic located in Central Asia and where I come from!
My name is Orungul Sagynbaeva, and I was honored to be the first generation Kyrgyz student in UWC attending UWCSA Waterford Kamhlaba in Eswatini. My UWC story starts long before the National Committee was established in Kyrgyzstan in 2017. I was 12 when I first discovered these schools on the internet while exploring potential universities, making big plans for the future and was impressed by UWC history and its mission. I cannot explain my feelings when I saw an announcement in Facebook that Kyrgyzstan joined the movement 4 years later and we were finally able to apply.
The two years that I spent in UWCSA were probably the most colorful and eye-opening years in my life. The thing that I loved the most was the community of people who were eager to change the world, find solutions for global issues and were engaged with so many incredible projects, activities, and events. I feel happy to have met so many people from all over the planet, that made me feel like a real global citizen and know that whenever I decide to visit one country, I will always have friends to visit there.
My background of being raised in the city surrounded by fascinating nature and studying in a diverse and hyperactive community with rigorous academics made me look for a similar place during my college search, and I saw Lewis and Clark as the perfect fit. Moreover, I recognized immediately that L&C is THAT PLACE when I read its motto because of its similarity to my life motto of a life-long explorer, learner who works together with a team.
When it comes to my academic interests, my personal background played a crucial role in deciding a potential major. Witnessing revolutions as the cause of several political, economic issues in Kyrgyzstan and enjoying Global Politics IB classes so much, I am thinking about majoring in International Affairs at L&C. However, I am open to other options too. So, I would love to explore other subjects such as Economics, computer science, environmental studies and might end up double majoring.
Besides academics, I am actually a very versatile person. First of all, although I am a beginner, I love playing chess, reading about chess history and watching documentaries about world champions. Second of all, I have been a dancer for 11 years now. (Interesting fact: the first foreign country I visited was Australia. Our dance group of 10 people performed Kyrgyz and Turkish national dances in Sydney Opera House at an International Festival of Language and Culture in 2016). Third of all, I started playing volleyball at UWC and was happy to take part in tournaments in South Africa and Mozambique. Also, I like reading books, playing musical instruments, debating, hiking, swimming, exercising and just exploring new activities. I hope I can continue some of them at L&C, but I would also like to try new ones too and continue leading an active life.
Finally, it is hard for me to choose one thing that I hope to accomplish at L&C. In fact, I chose L&C as a place to spend my next four years as I could see that I would accomplish many things there and thrive in all intellectual, social, and professional aspects of life.