Wednesday 22 January 2014

Family visit & Home

Long time since last post but this was saved and only now I'm having chance to upload it.

So at the end of the October was the first time I saw my parents and granparents since coming to UWCM. It was so strange and yet so comforting to be around the pople who I consider home. They came to the City after very long drive from Wales and stayed in a nearby hotel where I stayed with them for a night. 

Seeing them for after the longest period I had ever gone without seeing them was emotional to say the least. I will never forget seeing my mums face and seeing her break down into tears. To hear their accents was so surreal as I hadn't heard a strong Welsh accent in person and had to concentrate on what they said in order to understand them.

Showing them around my new home made me feel so grown up. They fell in love with the City just I had when I first explored it. Staying in an hotel and not being surrounded by masses of teenagers made me feel like I had left the UWC bubble and gone back to another world where things were a lot calmer and if I do say so, maybe a little more boring. 

One of the best things about their stay was introducing them to my new family.  Everyone was treated to a little bit of Jonesy's cooking thanks to my mother and gran as well as getting to know them all. My peers and family developed a mutual fondness of each to her and grandpa made a substantial impact on the boys of the boarding house who were now up to date with all the welsh jokes to know.

Saying goodbye to them was weird but I didn't have to wait long at all to see them again as 2 weeks later while giving presentations on UWC I visited home and surprised my brother for his birthday. Seeing the tiny village and small house I grew up in was a crazy experience yet made me miss home even more. By this time I thought I would be used to homesickness, but, it comes and goes with a pace that is out of control. I also attended a local party where I met up with all my old school friends which reminded me why Wales is always home to me.

Returning back to Maastricht made me reflect on what I consider home. I used to think that it was the small house in the tiny Valley, but in reality its just the place where my family are. But, the family doesn't have to be biological as I now consider myself to have two families, the Welsh ones who raised me and my UWCM boarding family which I love just as much. It made me see how lucky I am to have such luck to have two families to call my own and made me appreicate the UWC experience so much more.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Kosovo Project Week

Kosovo Project week

This October 6 students from UWC Maastricht traveled to the newborn country of Kosovo. My team were were Agnesa, Erik, Hadil,  Zoe, Annika and I. We traveled to Agnesa’s hometown of Fushë Kosova. During the week we had two projects to do. One in a Roma center in the town we stayed in and the other teaching English in a primary school in Janjevë. It was a truly amazing trip that opened all of our eyes to things we had never seen or experienced before.

In the school we taught the children in primary school ranging from ages 7 until 14. Their English was very basic so we decided to teach them some English in a fun and interactive way. We taught all the classes the song ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’, which the children thoroughly enjoyed. We had a culture day where we shared our cultures with the children. We showed our flags, spoke in our languages, sang songs and showed our skills. We also had a day of dialogue, with the topics of women in society and peace. We also made the children write letters to the students at UWCM.

The second of our projects was working in a Roma center in Fushë Kosova. This was the really eye-opening part of our trip. The most amazing part of this was visiting one of the family’s houses. The house was approximately 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters and was a single room. This room was the home to 2 adults and their 6 children. This house had no electricity or running water. The children had only one set of clothes and the family has less than one pair of shoes per person so shared shoes.  This house looked like it was in the middle of a rubbish tip as it had a walkway up to it which was pieces of tin and wood piled together. This was something that most of us had never seen before so touched us that this families spirits were still up regardless of their situation.
In the actual Roma centre we worked with the children and the women. With the children we did an art project in order to make their run down centre look a bit more homely. We made a big poster which consisted of the handprints of the UWC students and roma children in the shape of a tree. For them this was a special experience as they never get to do this and meet people outside of the roma community. The women showed us how they make their income though making soap and bags which they then sell which for most of them was their only source of income. All six of us bought some products.
I think I speak on behalf of the whole group that this was an unforgettable and life changing trip that changed our perceptions on life and made us so much more grateful for what we have and realize how lucky we are. We are planning to do some fundraising at school in order to fund the project to build the family we visited a new house to live in which will make their standard of living much better and easier.

Monday 30 September 2013

The start of travelling.. Belgium!

So this weekend I went to Belgium (and Brussels) for the first time. I went with a crew of Maastrichters - T'kia from Trinidad, Jose from Peru, our host Nelson from Belgium and the ever faithful roomie Thato. So we stayed at Nelsons house at Mechelen which is about a 40 minute train ride to Brussels. After finally arriving to nelsons house after missing 2 trains and having a mishap with train ticket prices his mother made one of my favourite dishes ever - Macaroni Cheese! So we setteled down early and watched a movie! On Saturday we visited the capital. What a City Brussels is! It is so beautiful...the architecture is absolutely incredible. We saw many of the sites including the Palace and the Manneken Pis (which is tiny). Oh and the best part...the waffles! The liege are my favourite, the brussels waffels taste like air, but the Liege are just so delicious. Our host family - The Hensmans were so lovely and Nelsons mum's food was so much better than boarding house food...but there's hardly any competition really. We also visited Antwerp on Sunday, our visit was very rushed as we had to get back to school by a certain time, but I will definitely visit again! There are just so many shops and cool places to hang out. We visited a tiny funky cafe and Thato and I had bubble tea for the first time (Pineapple and yoghurt flavour). We also visited a small market, where I had the shock of my life when you could buy a rabbit or a tortoise for less than an umbrella. The weekend was awesome, just expensive and stressful!

In other news I've swapped my history to geography because the course looks far more interesting. And....I've decided (after my parents) agreeing that for my project week I'm going to Kosovo! 

Thursday 26 September 2013

Arrival of the final roomie and starting classes

  Okay so I haven't posted in a while but life here is so hectic. So last week Victorija (from Lithuania) arrived...finally! We're now a full room and the difference that just ne person makes to a room is huge, totally not what I expected. But it's so much better being in a room with 3 as the duties are shared. But, not only that, you have a third sister, plus the bunk bed felt empty without her! So she arrived late at night Sundos, Thato and I stayed up for her. Thato and I thought it would be a better introduction if we were wearing onesies! So when Elvis brought Victorija to our floor we probably gave her the shock of her life by running, screaming and shouting at her and towards her! We wanted her to feel instantly at home so I made her bed and made a little welcome home sign. Last night we hsd our first roomies night. Me and Thato cooked Tuna pasta and we sat (in the traditional Omanie way) on the floor and ate!

A snap from our first complete roomies night in

Okay so the other news is...I've started IB classes...dun dun dun!! But so far they're not too bad (I will definitely regret saying that!) But my subject package (at the moment) is Higher Level Biology, Chemistry and English Language/Literature and then Standard Level Maths, History and Spanish ab. The size of the text books surprised me the most, the teachers even advise not to bring them to class even from the boarding house as they are too heavy. So school life in general is going really well at the moment. I'm now starting my CAS activites, for my creativity I'm part of the gender commission, for my action I'm doing African dance which is so much fun even though I'm really bad and for my service (you have to do in college and out of college), I'm doing service learning ambassador for year 8 and my out of college service is yet to be decided.  So my plans for autumn break are still up in the air at the moment but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

With the people and the UWC  I'm loving every minute! The people here are all so lovely and so interesting in different ways. My roommates are awesome! I'm very very close to Thato and she's now like a sister which is crazy because I've only known her a couple of weeks but the socialising here is so intense, you are constantly surrounded by people which is a totally new concept for me. My bath mates are also crazy! But, I love them. One of my other really close friends, Maria, is my bath mate. My floor is the perfect floor for me, we're like a little family within the boarders (even though we don't always keep our kitchen clean).

That's all I have time for as I have chemistry homework,

Saturday 14 September 2013

Intro Week

So today is Saturday the 14th of September, I have been here 9 days and the intro week is now over. I think I'm finally starting to realise and get used to the fact that at UWC you're constantly surrounded by people. It's so different to my life back in Wales. The socialising over the last week has been non-stop but seeing the strong bonds that I already have with some people is weird considering I've only known them a week. One of the biggest things I was anxious about before coming is my roommates - whether I'd get on with them or not. But, I've got to know them the last week and I absolutely love them. Our third roommate Victorija from Lithuania (who will be my bunk bed buddy) is set to arrive on Wednesday, so finally we will be a full room. I am sleeping on the bottom of a bunk bed - its cosy. I have one notice board that I have started to cover with gifts from friends and family and photos from home. Until now I haven't experienced home sickness which I am very surprised about.

The Intro week was a pretty chilled one with activities and presentations. For the academic side of things we had the academic fair which consisted of having presentations from the teachers of all 6 of the IB requirement subjects letting us know what the IB in their subject is like. Then once we had time to think about or subject package we had our academic interviews which just consisted a head of a department going through our subject package for us and checking it met the IB criteria.

But the more important part of Intro week (at least for me) was the socialising and the second years planned many activities and games in order for us to get to know our co years and second years. Some of the activities that were planned were a talent show, sports morning, speed socialising, roomies night (where Sundos cooked Pizza) and trips to the city and the supermarket.

The campus and the city are so beautiful. The school has already picked up the name of the Island as it is indeed a tiny island as its surrounded by a small moat. Already rumours have started about throwing people in on their birthdays but its not the cleanest of moats. The only problem with the campus that has been highlighted so far is the fact that the boarding students live in two separate buildings with half the students in each, and after check-in we are not allowed to the other building which is creating a divide between the students, but along with the residence mentors we are all trying to figure out some kind of solution.

I've got to dash for brunch now, Selina x

Saturday 7 September 2013

Touching down in The Netherlands

I'm sorry that I didn't put up a post straight away when I got here but they didn't have any Internet until today. So it's now the 7th September so I have been here 2 days. I really like it here its a beautiful campus and the city is great. I'm roommates with Sundos from Oman and Thto from South Africa. I was met at the airport by a bunch of second years and some of my co years! I flew for the first time on my own, but I actually enjoyed it, it was quite easy. I went to Maastricht city for the first time today, it's a really long walk but it was so worth it.

Friday 30 August 2013


So I was going to write all about the interview process but after thinking about it, it may spoil the fun for any applicants for the future if they know what's coming. So when I first found out that I has secured a place at UWC Maastricht it was around 105 days until September 5th, when myself and my new Danish friend (and co-year) Tina Esmail started counting. She was my first co- year that I (sort of) met. Now on the 30th August it's only 6 days away. Today is the day of my leaving gathering. For some odd reason the nerves still haven't hit me and the whole UWC thing doesn't seem real; well I'm in for a shock next Thursday. I will try o write a post before I leave the UK and then follow it up with one once I have landed. But now the real countdown begins... UWC....lets have you!

Peace, Selina x