"Applying my knowledge to benefit the community I find myself in"
  • Stories of Alumni

Our alumnus Emilio Rosas Gutierrez (Mexico, UWCD'21) was awarded the Woodruff Scholarship from Emory University in Atlanta, USA, where he plans to major in art history or linguistics. During his two years in Dilijan, Emilio founded the mindfulness club at school, served on the Student and Community Councils and Sustainability Committee and was a facilitator for Dilijan Community Center’s art workshops with children. Read about Emilio's experience of living and learning at UWCD and his definition of success in the story below.

"In reflecting about my time at UWCD, I find it impossible to summarize the 2 years, or even each of my 4 terms, in a single word. However, there is a common thread that unites the vastly different experiences that I had there: growth.

I came to Armenia with a firm conviction that, regardless of the challenges I knew I would face, I would take in all that our host country had to offer. I pursued this mission starting with my first term, in which some of my memorable experiences were formed. The many outdoor trips I joined exposed me to indescribably beautiful landscapes, such as the Project Week I spent hiking through the mountains of Vayots Dzor. In this trip, I also encountered the hospitality of the Armenian people and made lasting friendships with my hiking mates during riveting visits to historic sites and warm nights spent by the bonfire.

I became involved with several clubs during my first year, including getting elected to the Student Council. My fellow representatives came from places ranging from Malaysia to Sweden, and with months of sorting through our community’s most pressing issues, they became some of my closest friends. However, nothing could have prepared me for the challenges of the following year. March 17th, 2020, marked my experience as the day I had to leave Armenia through tears and promises to see each other again soon. After succeeding to secure my trip back to Dilijan in September, the war that broke out in Artsakh once again tested our community in unforeseeable ways.

In the face of adversity, we remained steadfast in our duty to serve our peers and hosts as best as we could. Whether by boosting morale while dispersed around the world, supporting donations for those who fled Artsakh and settled in Dilijan, or just being a source of strength for those facing the grief of war – 2020 affected our community in ways we couldn’t have predicted, yet we all entered the new year as more resilient and compassionate individuals.

The transition to 4th term came with new challenges. IB assessments were due and university applications were coming up. Fortunately, my wonderful teachers, mentors, and our university counselor were unrelenting supporters in my journey. The writing-intensive IB program was a great advantage: I was able to write about my background, perspectives, and hopes for my future career eloquently and effectively. What’s more, the unique and global-minded point of view that I shared in my applications wouldn’t have solidified if it weren’t from my character-building experiences at UWCD.

In the end, we all saw our efforts come to fruition. A year after the pandemic hit, I received the news of where I would be going after graduation. I was generously awarded the Woodruff Scholarship from Emory University in Atlanta, USA. It was the challenges I faced at UWCD, and the growth that resulted from them, which positioned me as an example of the type of person my scholarship is awarded to: leaders of forceful and unselfish character, impressive academic and communications skills, and the potential to enrich the lives of their peers. UWCD taught me to pursue my own definition of success: applying my knowledge to benefit whatever community I find myself in; I believe this virtue resonated with Emory, whose mission is “to create, preserve, teach, and apply knowledge in the service of humanity”. Today, I am thankful for the growth that UWCD awarded me. The path I walked in Dilijan led me to being presented with exciting opportunities as I begin to explore the humanities at university."

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