Hongyi Jiang

UWC attended: United World College Maastricht
Class Year: Class of 2019

Sometimes a question like “why is UWC such a unique school” can get annoying. I admit it.

My defense is that there is just so much I could tell about what is a UWC experience. I could never finish half of my points about my UWC life to a stranger next to me during a 3-hour train ride, so I guess I should not try to write all that 3-hour conversation down here in case it gets utterly long. But leave out all the details about how I ended up in UWC Maastricht and how I fell in love with the place, I would just sum up my past two years with one word: confidence. I think most people who went to UWC will notice that the support within our community is truly amazing. Whenever someone comes up with an idea or initiative, there will show up a number of followers who are willing to contribute to the plan. Failure exists but it is good to know that there will be some support around. And this gives many of us the confidence to try, to step into the bigger world with determination that it is ok to believe in people. And this confidence also gives us the courage to change the surrounding communities and even the world. And many others would surely offer different definitions about what a UWC education is like, but for me, I really think I should choose the word confidence.

It was a heartache to leave my beloved Netherlands behind, a land that witnessed all my UWC life and changes. But I am glad that my next stop would be beautiful Portland. But more importantly, another exciting college-L&C.

There are certainly many reasons why I am so passionate about studying at Lewis & Clark. The unique academic nature that Lewis & Clark embraces is what attracted me first. I was actively looking for a college that fulfills my extensive academic interests, particularly in filmmaking and media. Taking the International Baccalaureate Visual Arts course has enabled me to attain better understandings in visual expression and has driven me to develop independent projects in the studio. What I have learnt from class, including analytical skills, arouses my curiosity to explore more academically. On a personal side, I am curious about what else I am capable of. I have seen so many people who focused on a narrow academic area in college but committed to another one later in their lives. This has made me aware of how life is full of variables, and I would never know the possibility of my becoming something unless I had a chance to try it first. This is why I am also searching for a liberal arts education. And also why I think L&C would be a perfect place to continue my self-discovery journey.

Speaking of journeys-since I’m done talking about UWC and L&C for now-I am passionate about traveling. I’ve never considered myself much of a traveler until I started to live in the Netherlands two years ago (thanks to UWC again). The convenience of having a EU residential card gave me the motive to visit many European countries. The interesting thing is I actually discovered that I have a very good sense of direction. Since we all traveled in a cheap and self-directed way, my travel partners always like to take me as an automatic compass. Even though this is a joke, do count me in if you need someone to guide the way, I’d be happy to join in.

Now that I am back in my sweet hometown Changshu, China, I am already excited about all the wonderful adventures that will take place in Portland in the very near future. And as I always do, I am living in this moment confidently and willing to see where life takes me.