Johann Maradiaga-Rivas

UWC attended: Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific (Canada)

I was born in a really warm city in the south of Honduras, in the heart of Central America. I grew up surrounded by my family and lots of friends, learning to share whatever I had with whoever needed it in the small city of Choluteca. Throughout my childhood, I was always really curious about everything. That curiosity constantly made me ask many questions concerning life, science, religion, technology and so on. At the same time, it made me stand out from my friends; sometimes in a not so good way (I seemed a bit skeptical at times), other times in a very positive way since I was able to understand things better by getting answers.  So, my imagination was able to fly and many dreams appeared in my life.

Since a very young age, a lot of responsibility had been placed on me, yet it has always been a learning experience in each case. In primary school, I led the student council, a first for me, and that was an interesting new experience. I kept on doing those sorts of activities in middle and high school because my classmates and teachers thought that I had an ability to make others listen and work together.

Apart from all that curiosity, responsibility, friendship and other values, I have always had an interest in subjects such as math, the sciences and the environment.  All of these interests have made me a versatile person. However, despite these characteristics, I had a fairly closed view of other things— life outside my city, humanity, and international cultures.  Perhaps this was because of my own culture was a fairly closed and conservative one.

I was in my senior year in high school in Honduras when I had the opportunity to go to study at Lester B. Pearson United World College (UWC) of the Pacific and make one of my dreams come true—to study abroad. Life at Pearson UWC was something completely new for me and something I needed to assimilate, accept and adapt to over time. Nevertheless, it ended up being the most amazing experience I have ever had in my life, but not the last one for sure. The experience helped me find myself, grow as a person, learn how to manage my time and how to make myself more comfortable in strange situations. It also helped me strengthen my beliefs and improve them without changing my compromising my views.  Living with 200 students from around the world at Pearson UWC changed my life and increased my awareness about other countries’ issues. I now better identify with international issues because those issues may involve one of my friends from around the globe.

Leading outdoor activities at the Pearson UWC, as well as being an active member of the first aid team, made me more responsible and conscious regarding myself and others.  The experience increased my team work skills by improving my sense of leadership. Moreover, with the overwhelming schedule at Pearson, which included classes, activities, and my social and personal life, time management and organization became essential components of my daily life.  I feel very proud that I developed such useful skills there.

Talking to one of my Pearson UWC friends, we agreed that we were really lucky to have been chosen to go to Pearson UWC. “Not everyone has the opportunity to live this tremendous experience” my friend said.  Now, I consider it our responsibility to share with the rest of the world all the knowledge we learned at our wonderful school. That knowledge includes people, cultures, environment, sustainability, respect, challenges and so on. I have high expectations for my time at Lewis & Clark. It’s my sincere hope that L&C will allow me to continue learning about life and the world and that I can overcome all challenges and have a positive impact on other people.