“Never be afraid of change, look where it has gotten me” Story of Elina Sargsyan (Armenia, UWCD’19)
  • Stories of Alumni

Being a UWCD student

Being a UWCD student taught me a wide spectrum of things that contributed and still contribute to my development. Until this day I am so grateful for how it has shaped me, emotionally, intellectually, socially, morally and spiritually. All the happy moments, all the challenges, mistakes, successes have been so valuable. 

My experience as a student in UWCD was certainly challenging, however the benefits and the impact of those were inevitable. What made it most valuable in my opinion was living and sharing our intimate spaces with people from all over the world. This kind of opportunity does not occur every day and when it does, one should always embrace it. The very first moments I remember are arriving on campus and seeing all the colors of the world, in the people and the flags they were holding up. I was able to learn and experience each culture in a way I could never by just reading and travelling. I learnt about people’s memories, traditions, cultures, families, and stories. Every flag has its own story and its own beauty.

Studying in Armenia

Being an Armenian and at the same time an international student allowed me to support my international friends in adjusting both to a cultural and to a multicultural environment. It was a whole other challenge to represent my country and help people adjust. I was involved in a lot of CAS projects and was a co-creator and a leader for some. I used my nationality and my ability to speak Armenian in making the projects more effective and efficient. Some examples include Dilinglish, Beginner’s Football for girls, Fuller House, etc. 

At the same time I was adjusting too. It was hard to be away from the people and the things I call home. It was hard to balance academics, social life and my extra-curricular activities. However, you end up appreciating time and gaining the ability to balance and prioritize. You end up loving all things you call home by sharing it with the new home you are in. These are the kind of skills that will be needed throughout life. 

“Discovering the possibility of change”

UWCD provided me with amazing connections, friendships and memories. The teachers become mentors not only in their subject matter but also in life. They were patient and supportive at times of challenge. I still remember spending all my time in the biology and chemistry labs, I have cried, laughed, learnt and explored in those labs. I still remember all the advice my teachers gave me and how they supported me, held me up and gave me strength throughout and after the IB. Moreover, the house parents and everyone you live with become family. I am forever grateful for the strong bonds I have made throughout my experience and I can say with certainty that some of the friendships I have made in UWC will be forever. 

UWCD thought me and helped me discover the possibility of change, it made me more open to things I have never tried before, and things that are not in my comfort zone. It taught me ways to reach my full potential, it helped me gain my sense of self and broadened my mind. Coming from a strict Armenian educational system, I always thought I would continue what my parents started and become a doctor. I never questioned it before. I still remember the words of my biology teacher in my head, he told me and kept emphasizing to do what feels right and what I really want to do. You don’t need to understand it at an early age; self-discovery is a life-long process with no falls, just lessons and assets. I am grateful for having family, teachers and friends that made this process possible and helped me throughout. 

Transition to university

Transition from UWCD to university can be very challenging, it is hard to let go of the UWC life into the world. However, it is important to keep all memories, lessons, values and skills gained in UWC and use them for a smoother transition. It is important to remember that your journey is not done, it is ongoing. It is important to remember that you are continuing your process of your development in order to reach a certain goal. Never give up on the UWC spirit you have when transitioning, keep it deep rooted and start embracing the new page of your long book. 

Life after UWCD: healing through the means of art

I am currently a sophomore at St Olaf College, Minnesota. I am majoring in Psychology and Dance, hoping to combine both in my future and pursue a career in Dance/Movement Therapy. I would never come to this if not for my family, UWC and for the people included in my adventure. Dancing empowers me to see myself deeply and to self-express. In my space I feel most vulnerable, strong, and complex. Through the combination of the study of the human being and dance, I want to be able to provide an environment for people to express themselves, their history, and of course heal through the means of art. 

“Never be afraid of change”

Words cannot express how grateful I am for what UWC gave me. One advice I have for current and future generations is to not be afraid, to experience every single part of your journey. You have time! You have time to study, to explore Dilijan, explore Armenia with its neighboring countries, to learn languages, to learn about other’s cultures, to give back, to have fun and make endless connections. It is something you will hold on to forever and it is only worth it. Don’t be afraid of the future, take all opportunities provided for you. Lastly, never be afraid of change, look where it has gotten me. 

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"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.