劉騏安 英國UWC 畢業年度2022
First term in Atlantic College has come to an end, even though some friends and I felt as if everything has just begun.
While I was writing down this passage, it was a cold afternoon in Wales, and I was sitting on the bed, meanwhile holding my laptop and listening to music...
Unlike most people, I am one of the few transfer students. Therefore, I have experienced UWC Changshu and understand UWC values, lifestyle, cultural differences and so on before coming to Atlantic college. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to attend two different schools. However, from a relatively simple, academic-focused campus with a majority of Asians, to an environment where the atmosphere is slightly more wild, with more parties, and a majority of European students, this transition requires not only adjusting one’s routine, the way of socializing, and eventually learning how to say goodbye with the others. This is often the most heartbreaking time for UWC students, because the separation may only last for a few weeks or months yet often evolves into decades or even a whole lifetime. However, perhaps being pressured by the two year period, the relationships between people are stimulated and grow tremendously even facing cultural barriers, ultimately creating our very own memory.
The end of first term signifies that a quarter of my UWC journey has passed. In another term, we will have to say goodbye to our second years; eventually when the two years are over, we will not only say goodbye to each other but also to the first years who have just entered the school. As Long Yingtai once said: "The relation between parents and children merely means that the fate among you is just constantly saying goodbye to each other." Not only parents, but also people we’ve met since birth, including those in primary school, middle school, high school, or someone by a meaningful encounter in a journey, will come to the time when we have to let go of every person.
In this semester, I’ve experienced and learned a lot, especially realizing how the students possess unlimited potential. Compared with high schools back home, UWC offers more chances for students to take initiative. For example, there were multiple student-led large-scale activities in the first term. What impressed me most is the MENA Conference. The purpose of this is to let students as well as teachers to understand modern events, cultures, and current issues in the Mideast and Northern Africa. It is a large-scale conference gathered by many student-led workshops. In a school with students all over the world, there are also students from MENA who shared personal stories. I am deeply touched by every single word of theirs, because in a world where Western culture is more of a mainstream viewpoint, including various social media, newspapers and magazines, we rarely have the opportunity to listen to ideas and perspectives from a local person. While thinking of what they had been through in their lives, I felt extremely fortunate to be able to grow in Taiwan: a comfortable home free from war. I was once chatting with a friend, he told me that sounds of explosions and gunfire are normal back in where he lived. He also wishes to settle his family in the US in the future. Looking back at myself, what I need to worry about so far is nothing but to study and keep a healthy daily routine. I can't help but express my astonishment that there are parts of world so different from where I was born and raised.
A friend once said in a chat, “Think about this, guys! It is so amazing that we can understand each other although all of us come from different places." Indeed, we all grew up experiencing diverse cultures and religions in different environments. Yet in this quiet moment when everyone is cuddling together on the sofa, noticing we are all different but somehow the same and united, we can still communicate, have fun, chat, and laugh together, as if there was a magical force connecting everyone. However, what shall we do after people gathered together to learn and understand each other? This will be the question to sort out. Since life in UWC is like an instant flash in front of me, if no time was taken to digest and reflect on everything that has happened, nothing will be left but a blank void.
One of the most frequently said words from UWC students, "UWC is by no means a Utopia," which, in fact, is true. If a person is constantly happy, they will never realize what happiness is. Moreover, they will never understand how they truly feel; because how would they ever feel joy if there’s no sadness?
I often think that during these two years, we may not remember what we’d learned in global politics or mathematics; but in our minds we can vaguely recall the afternoon when lying on the grass with some friends, star gazing with a small group of people and talking about our dreams, screaming together anxiously with a friend when preparing for oral presentations, or even some words mentioned in a chat with a friend. Eventually after the two years, these trivial memories will be preserved deep down in my heart, and they will come to my mind occasionally when I am struggling to sleep. These sweet memories will make me fall asleep in peace, and with a lovely smile.