- Stories of Students
Zac Merida is a graduating student from the Philippines who holds the distinction of being the first Filipino ever to attend UWC Dilijan. He was admitted to the college as one of one hundred students selected worldwide for the Davis-UWC Dare to Dream Scholarship. In his first year in UWC Dilijan, he was elected as co-chair of the college's Student Council. Zac has been very active as a student and appreciated all the opportunities he was given, participating in numerous projects outside the classroom — from the school's town halls and webinars to leading the "My Aurora Hero" competition and speaking at the EdHeroes Forum this weekend. Here is how Zac describes his experience at UWC Dilijan.
❝Throughout my journey here at UWC Dilijan, I have time and again encountered a humanistic spirit that I couldn’t have conceived to be possible just a few years ago. UWC Dilijan’s community cuts across every possible demographic, creating a microcosm of the world within the 8 hectares of our campus.
I have befriended people who come from extreme hardship and people who have never known poverty. I have heard the perspectives of classmates whose national identity is the subject of political tension and classmates whose family members play crucial roles in influencing global affairs. I have shared living quarters with students who believe in creeds different from mine, but share my profound respect and admiration for spirituality just the same. These people have evolved from peers and acquaintances to lifelong friends and family for whom I would do anything.
Contrary to the narrative of polarisation which has taken the world by storm, I have spent these formative years of mine immersing myself in a narrative of humanisation. Bearing witness to the way we come together on the basis of our greatest common factor, our abiding faith in global peace and a sustainable future, UWC has shown me the power of humanitarian ideals to triumph over prejudice in the creation of a more harmonious world awaiting us.
Recently, I had the opportunity to share this outlook that I acquired at the college as a panelist at the EdHeroes Forum on Education in 2021. In an age of border closures and self-isolation, it was my great privilege to reiterate the importance of thinking about education not merely as a matter of academic mastery but as a journey of social connection. Sharing the floor with world-renowned pioneers in pedagogy as a student who still has much to learn is a testament to the type of opportunity that attending this institution has afforded me. This along with the numerous other memories I have made in my time at the college has been and always will be the subject of my sincere and profound gratitude.❞