Born: Manila, Philippines
Lived in: Philippines, Canada and USA
Andrea was born and raised in Manila, Philippines and is very proud of that fact. Like most youth on the island, she fondly talks about “climbing coconut trees ‘til sunset, ganging up in groups playing patintero (a game similar to hopscotch) , throwing stones, tripping, falling, and eating fried fish and rice with my own bare hands.”
Andrea’s parents enrolled her at an all-girls Catholic school where she studied for 13 years. Wearing her school uniform 5 times a week became extremely monotonous, according to Andrea, but the rest of her Catholic education was a long march toward becoming the quintessential Renaissance woman. In those years, she involved herself actively in clubs and organizations—especially those dedicated to environmental awareness and conservation. She took major responsibilities within and outside the school and involved herself in community service and other spiritual functions.
Throughout Andrea’s secondary schooling, her interests changed drastically from one end of the spectrum to another; but surprisingly, her exploration led her to art. Through tinkering with the computer, she discovered that what she truly loved was to express herself through art, poetry, and design. Consequently, she wanted more and it felt as if her life at home had suddenly become too small for her.
Andrea was filled with a nagging desire to go beyond the life that her school offered. She wanted to explore other intellects, roam other lands, and learn what was out there in the big world. She dreamed of going to an art school in another country. Despite her high hopes, the Philippine economy was still in the doldrums and it was impossible for her parents to support her anywhere else but at home. She faced the fact that she could not pursue that dream—at least not yet!
While Andrea reconciled the fact that it was not yet time for such drastic changes, a scholarship opportunity came out of nowhere. After a grueling selection process, she was able to attain a United World College scholarship to Lester B. Pearson College in British Columbia, Canada. When she was notified of her acceptance, Andrea knew that she had to change the course of her life.
Her United World College experience, Andrea claims, has “allowed her “to come to terms with my own adventurous spirit.” She explored a lot of her academic options through the International Baccalaureate program especially in the arts and philosophy. From the time that she attended UWC, she has “swum with Philippine whale sharks, hiked the Pacific Coast trail of British Columbia, and bungee-jumped in Costa Rica.” She has learned another language and roomed with a Nigerian, an Italian, a Canadian, a Mexican, a “Newfie,” (a person from Newfoundland), and a Peruvian. “I have talked to Burmese and Sudanese refugees and to an Iraqi who witnessed the War on Terror” She is proud to say that she has also distinguished the Scottish, Northern Irish, Southern Irish, and English accents from each other. From knowing only females, she suddenly found herself living with 20 boys on the upper floor. Suddenly, she said, “the world felt so big and yet so small. It feels as if I have discovered, in a little more than a year, what it would take a lifetime to learn.”
In applying for another school, she was searching for a small, welcoming environment where she could explore & discover her options, voice her views without fear, and share her culture and what she learned at Pearson UWC College. She also claims that she “dared not lose sight of the Pacific Ocean.” All of this said, she remarked that Lewis & Clark seemed to fit all these criteria. With the new enhanced UWC scholarship that Lewis & Clark offers, she is able to continue fulfilling her hopes of getting a good education.
Andrea is currently starting the next chapter of her life at Lewis & Clark College. In truth, she says that she is still puzzled as to how her interests will coalesce in the future. She says that she would like to help her country rise from the difficulties it has gone through over the past years. Asked what she would like have as a career, she said that it would be either “a National Geographic photo-journalist documenting the magic of the untouched mountainous provinces of the Philippines” or an “art director of a beautiful production” or “an environmental design director, developing a new sustainable technology for fast food packaging.” She claims that there are many other professions that she imagines herself to be involved in but she says that what she truly wants is simple. She wants people to see what she sees and feel what she feels when she views the world in utter amazement. “I want to make a difference—big or small— that will somehow make the world a better place to live in and a better place overall.”