Ela Pencl

UWC attended: United World College of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Class Year: Class of 2021

As cliché as it sounds, it’s valuable to realize when one has the desire to understand themselves, then moving and travelling should be the minimum one does to achieve that. When you travel and join a new environment with a different educational system, your mind expands to unrecognizable forms, embracing limits you thought were unreachable.

This especially works well when it happens at a young age of 17. And so it began at United World College in Mostar two years ago where, I ought to say, my life started developing with uncertainty, yet filled with opportunities. Yes, certainly with uncertainty because many things I know now, I fully understood just after I finished my UWC experience. That’s the beautiful thing about it, I’d say.

Lewis & Clark College is the new experience where I’m heading to. It was by far my dream choice, so whenever I catch myself thinking about it being reality, I couldn’t be more proud and thankful for being given such a beautiful opportunity in my future education. The academics, variety of clubs to creatively express myself and the location itself, in the wonderful town of Portland, are just some of the many reasons I chose LC during my application time in winter.

I’ll possibly continue with the majors I’m planning to study – Music and Psychology, as these were my main interests during both my UWC and high school years. When I say ‘possibly’, it’s because Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is still a thing, right? Or at least to say that I do enjoy it very much!

It will be a pleasure to explore Portland, the people, music, coffee shops and its weirdness. But besides this, it will be quite amusing introducing bits of my own culture to the people. Bosnia and Herzegovina may be a little heart-shaped piece of land, but along with its shape, it does represent a bundle of warm-heartedness through its citizens and mesmerizing nature.

In the next four years I cannot say what I expect because my thoughts and plans change and adapt pretty quickly along with the new things I learn and treasure - even without me realizing it! (The subconscious mind is indeed a great thing.) And yet I will say with great certainty that I’m ready for the journey. Ready to meet and discover a new self of me, in hopes to come back to my hometown in the best alternated version of myself, along with the same wish as I have now – to improve our mental health care system.

And so, after sharing these thoughts with you beautiful readers, I greet you, Portland.