Leda Santic Photo

Leda Šantić

UWC attended: United World College of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Class Year: Class of 2026

My name is Leda Šantić, and I’m a graduate of the UWC in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina - to which I moved a few years prior, making me a home student! Part of the specificity of the home student experience in an institution which places a large emphasis on the idea of students living together for the duration of their schooling definitely made the whole two years more special; even though one could assume I’d missed out on a lot of the greater point of the College, aside from academics, the chance to meet so many fantastic people from varying backgrounds and become part of their lives, and witness their newfound independence in a country or city outside of their own, and witnessing the way in which they interacted with their surroundings (much like I did when I first came to town) was immensely enriching. This semi-observant quality of my time at the UWC presented me with two additional gifts: a) an increased excitement for an insider’s view of the experience of moving away from home and living with my peers (i.e. university!); and b), a greater appreciation for a class I signed up for blindly in order to fill out my schedule, IB Anthropology.

Each passing school day provided me with a chance to provide some practice to the theoretical approaches we took toward observing communities and cosmological diversity; studying this subject with the various intertwining real-world contexts which manifested themselves through my experiences at the school in mind helped me create a framework through which to look at my life, both as an individual and a member of a community. This whirlpool, within which I allowed myself to get immersed with grand enthusiasm, resulted in a desire to travel further down the same road in the future. I went into college searches with a focus on sociocultural anthropology and the humanities in mind, and Lewis and Clark immediately stood out as attractive for numerous reasons. I knew that I would definitely have some familiar faces to see, certainly, but I was also drawn to the College by attaining further knowledge about the opportunities presented by the department of my preferred major (as well as the space allowed for interdisciplinary and otherwise directed development!), Portland’s reputation as a multicultural hub, and, allowing some room for superficiality (or a subconscious spirituality, a poet’s inherent pathetic quality), a state of being enamored with its natural treasures. Additionally, the stellar opportunities offered to international students - specifically, in my situation, as a low-income international student - of which I became more aware through the application process and following my acceptance and admission, illustrated the emphasis LC places on the accessibility of high-quality education in the humanities. For these reasons, from the very beginning of the application process, an immense and unfamiliar comfort enveloped me in terms of my future, so long as I knew I had the opportunity to place it within the context of this college.

Even now, this optimistic wind hasn’t loosened its grip, and the more I learn about the ripeness of LC, in terms of the opportunities it offers as the site of further engagement with both the self and the world around me, the more excitement I feel about the prospects provided by the future as a whole. Some non-academic interests I see as being potent for development in these surroundings are definitely literature and poetry, as well as music - the latter being something that I do not personally actively participate in (rather enjoying the finished products), it’s hard to imagine a better place to finally learn to play an instrument, considering Portland’s vast artistic history. Furthermore, my previous experience as a Youth Exchange and Study Program exchange student in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which I found myself similarly enamored with, definitely informs the enthusiasm I place on the prospective personal growth I will be able to delve into through the ideal of independence granted by the grand concept of moving away for college, as an older and relatively wisened individual. Though I’m not definitely certain of the direction my education (in terms of academic interests) or general experience will take, for this reason, I see LC as the perfect place to make the site of these wanderings of the soul - the needle guiding the movements of the thread to make a piece of embroidery, which I’m certain, for this reason, will wind up looking fantastic.