Hi, my name is Arina. I am 19 years old, coming from a Russian-Ukrainian family. It is pretty challenging to give a coherent and succinct description of your life, especially when you can not go home because of the ongoing war. I grew up in a very intellectual family, where an excellent and high-quality education was always valued. My father won the regional chess championships and knew several languages. My mother received two diplomas at the same time - engineering and business. So there were high expectations of me. That was one of my biggest fears - not meeting the expectations of my parents and relatives. I always studied hard and tried to be that “straight-A” student without flaws and be the best at everything.
However, my life was divided into “before” and “after” my enrollment at UWC Robert Bosch College in 2020. After I had passed a series of competitions and won the nomination to study in Germany, a severe conflict broke out in my family for the first time. I was in my senior year then, and at the same time, I was preparing to go to a medical university, which is considered very prestigious at home. People still live with the Soviet prejudice that you have to go straight to university and nothing else after graduation. Gap years are abnormal for people back home as well as going to college. In our system, there is a big difference between colleges and universities - those who do poorly in their state exams go to colleges and cannot get a bachelor’s level there, only the basics so that they can go to university later. So, it was a shock for my family that I decided to go to a college abroad instead of a state university. I had my reasons for that - I’ve always been interested in ecology and environmental protection, but we hardly ever have such programs at universities, and it’s not a popular major.
Consequently, I had no choice but to go into medicine. UWC, on the other hand, in the long run, gave me a chance to study what I like and what I’ve always wanted to do. It was a thrilling decision for me to go and study abroad alone for the first time. I convinced my family to let me go on my journey early in my 17 years. I do not regret it, as the past two years in Germany gave me a strong boost for my personal and career growth. In the International Baccalaureate program, I combined music and science - studying ecology as a separate subject and playing guitar in my spare time in a college rock band. I have met amazing people from over 90 countries, and I am eternally grateful to my parents and the national committee that made it possible. I also learned that I do not always have to be perfect to meet someone’s expectations and that our imperfections make us unique.
Thanks to the freedom of choice that UWC Robert Bosch gave me, I found a vector in which I want to move forward in my life. In my Environmental Systems and Societies classes, I had many opportunities to try my hand at lab experiments and Fieldwork. In addition, we did volunteer work and helped a local environmental company, Bachpaten Freiburg, to indicate local water pollution and reforest areas.
Thus, I reached the point where I wanted to get an Environmental Sciences major. Several of my close friends from UWC went to Lewis & Clark College, so I relied on the feedback from real people when choosing my future college. After their first year at LC, my friends were thrilled with the college, the professors, the facilities, and the state as a whole. It all shaped my vision of this college as my dream school. As a very social person, the community plays a huge role for me, and I can claim that LC has no problem with that!
I look forward to coming on campus! I look at this college with lots of hope in my eyes - to meet friends who will be with me for the next four exciting years and stay with me for the rest of my life.