Vinaya Bharam

UWC attended: United World College Maastricht (Netherlands)
Class Year: Class of 2019

I am one of the few people who have experienced two UWC lives. I went to UWC Mahindra for a year and then to UWC Maastricht for two years. Coming from a rural and financially unstable background, getting into UWC was a golden opportunity for me.

In 2012 I was selected for the Pre-IB program where I spent a year at UWC Mahindra campus in India. This was my first time living without my parents and living with people from all around the world. I was scared to interact with people since I was lacking English speaking skills and confidence. Once I decided to come out of my comfort zone, I improved my English and become much more confident. That year was fundamental to my academic and social growth. After passing the Indian National committee selection process I was admitted to UWC Maastricht in The Netherlands. While I was a bit more confident, this was my first time living outside India. I was very homesick in the beginning and I could not adjust to the weather, the food and the culture. I struggled in academics in the first semester. As time passed I became more and more comfortable in the community. All the conferences, culture weeks and numerous other events made my UWC experience memorable. In these two years, I made some lifelong friendships and learned from some of the best teachers in the world. The UWC Maastricht community shaped me into a better person.

The UWC values are not just words on websites, books, or brochures; they are applied in daily life at UWCM. We celebrated some Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali which did not make me miss home on these occasions. This is one of the few places where an Israeli and a Palestinian establish a committee to build peace in Israel. A Moroccan is roommates with a Western Saharan and become very close friends. Those late night discussions on current affairs or “how to make the world a better place” was just a normal part of UWC life. These were my favorite moments of the two years. I cannot believe the two years have ended and I won’t be able to see my friends and teachers every day. The UWC experience is what you make of it. It is up to you to continue it and follow the UWC values even after UWC. The day I left UWC Maastricht, I decided to keep UWC inside me and live the UWC Life forever. I will always cherish the memories of the two years of UWC because they were truly the best two years of my life.

The Lewis & Clark College community will give me an opportunity to live my UWC experience since there are many international students. The overseas program is very good at Lewis and Clark which will provide me with an opportunity to travel around the world. I will also be able to do community service. I think I might major in International Affairs because Lewis and Clark has a good program. Also, how international affairs and relations work really interests me. I also like Economics a lot because it is related to our lives. I am thinking of doing an Economics minor.

I love to dance and I was the leader of the Bollywood club in UWC Maastricht. I choreographed Bollywood dances and taught 50 UWC Maastricht students. In these two years, I got to travel in Europe. I have been to Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Portugal. After coming back from each country I have realized how different European countries are from each other.

I am very excited to attend Lewis and Clark because I know it is a great college. I will not only improve academically but also as a person.