Katerina Solomanjuk

UWC attended: Red Cross Nordic United World College (Norway)
Class Year: Class of 2015

While everybody is eating breakfast I am still laying in my bed turning off the alarm clock for the fifth time and wondering if there is still 5 more minutes to sleep. And yes, I guess I was the only one who ALMOST overslept the IB History exam.

I am Katerina and I was born and raised in a small town which is considered to be the fifth largest Estonian “city.” This should probably make you wonder how big Estonia is if you haven’t really heard much about it. The population of Estonia is only 1.3 million but I am very proud of our Singing Revolution, flatness, Old Town of Tallinn, endless wireless connection, the three Estonians who developed Skype after Swedes founded it, delicious Kalev chocolate and successful electronic voting.

One summer I learned about United World Colleges from a random guy who was a receptionist at a camping site where I was having a youth exchange with some British guys. I actually work there now for the second summer and, as was done once with me, I sometimes share my UWC experience with random people.

Applying to UWC was one of my primary goals for about 4 years. I was also encouraged by another former UWC student to apply and was selected to Red Cross Nordic UWC (RCNUWC) after a tough, but weird and exciting application process.

The funniest thing about UWCs is when you get there you think that you are the selected one and that means the best one. When you graduate you start realizing that there will always be somebody as good as you and that competition is important but not as important as cooperation. I came to think of each of us as tiny details of a huge system which alone are not worth much. However, each of us can make the system and if each and every detail existed on its own there would be no system at all.

RCNUWC taught me to appreciate privacy, to survive long study nights and to pull myself together when everything seemed impossible. I got used to eating Asian noodles and spending hours discussing unexpected topics with my mates. I’ve never climbed the highest point in Norway but I recorded two songs and participated in every show that was put on. I also learned how to handle 12-year old Norwegian kids, teaching them how to drum and singing Bob Dylan together with them. UWC taught me to be responsible for myself but also to care about others. Sometimes I wished there were IB-free days, but nonetheless the classes I was taking were more than enjoyable.

There are many things that seemed attractive at Lewis & Clark. First of all, one of the offered majors is exactly what I wanted to study, which is the foreign languages major. But this is not the only factor. The other things that attract me are the location, the attitude of people I’ve heard lots about and the great music facilities. At L&C, as mentioned above, I want to major in foreign languages and I’ve chosen to study French and Spanish. Learning languages has always been in my sphere of interest and I really want to become a translator. I’ve traveled a lot in Europe and I’ve seen how important it is to be able to communicate with people. I hope to not only benefit myself from learning many languages but to be able to help those who for one or another reason feel difficulties in communicating in other languages.

My other passion is music. I’ve studied in music school since I was 4 and now I play flute as my primary instrument, but I also play keyboard, some guitar and drums. In addition, I sing and write songs. While at L&C I am definitely going to join a wind orchestra but I also hope to make up a band. I love playing jazz on the flute, writing songs that have a weird mix of styles, and listening to and singing Blink-182. Weird taste, huh?

Also, I am interested in taking Philosophy classes and arguing for the theory of existentialism and I hope to continue ballroom dancing, which I had to quit when I was 10.

I’m going to finish by saying that in the next 4 years I hope to accomplish much more than I managed to express in here since the greatest things are those one could never expect to happen.