- Stories of Alumni
Ani is our first-generation alumna from Armenia. After UWCD, Ani completed her studies at King’s College London and was determined to return to Armenia to use her skills and experience to benefit her country. She currently works at the National Democratic Institute as the Program Officer of the women’s empowerment team.
What was your student life like in UWCD?
As a first cohort of graduates and as an Armenian, my UWCD experience has been different both in exciting and challenging ways. Just like my peers, I came to a school which was new and yet had so much to offer. As an Armenian student, I felt the responsibility of being a good hostess and introducing everyone to our country and culture. I remember being so excited when my international friends began learning elementary Armenian words and learned to love Armenia as much as I do. At the same time, it was hard to be a student at a school which was just learning to stand on its feet. There were a lot of challenges both academically, and personally, however I would not have changed my experience for the world! I got to make lasting friendships from all over the globe and create traditions, some of which UWCD continues to uphold to this day.
What was special about UWC experience with teachers, in the classroom and CAS?
Unlike the educational system in most of the schools back home, IB is very grounded in real life. In that, IB allowed me to gain some transferable and soft skills such as research, analysis and communication, which are invaluable for any 21st century professional. Having supportive teachers, who I could reach out to at any time felt very reassuring and gave me more confidence in my academic life. The CAS projects, on the other hand, gave me an opportunity to become a developed individual in a number of directions, challenge myself by trying new things such as MUN, and continue pursuing my hobbies such as dancing. The combination of strong academics and exposure to extracurricular activities ultimately made it possible for me to get accepted to a top university and continue my active involvement in all aspects of university life. For instance, I used my CAS format knowledge to co-fund the Armenian Society at King’s College London, which continues to function today.
How was the transition from UWCD to university?
While I expected a similar experience to that of UWC when starting university, certain aspects were different. Firstly, as a student in London I did not live at a boarding house, which meant I was more isolated compared to the tight-knit community I was used to at UWCD. This pushed me to become more independent and self-sufficient. However, living among international students and away from home at UWCD was a useful experience for me ahead of starting university life.
What are you doing now?
After completing my studies at King’s College London, I was determined to return to Armenia and use my skills and experience to benefit my country. I currently work at the National Democratic Institute as the Program Officer of the women’s empowerment team, where I get to share and utilise my knowledge on politics and gender studies which I have learned at the university.
How did UWCD form you as a person?
UWC exposed me to challenges and opportunities which make me who I am today – a determined, hard-working and adaptive individual who follows her dreams despite the obstacles. It taught me to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds and be open-minded. I continue my involvement with the UWC community as a member of the National Committee and by collaborating with one of my co-years, Mikayel, in a notebook business, which helps pay for his education in Parson’s Paris.
What are your best/funniest memories from UWC Dilijan?
The best memories I have from UWC are the ones I shared with my friends. From late-night walks to Dolmama, to cultural evening nights and studying for the exams all together, I cherish every moment. I remember how we hid at the library once to finish-up an assignment, and were caught by the guards late at night, when the library was already closed. Luckily, we got away with a warning :)
Which advice would you give to current UWCD students and applicants?
Just be yourself, embrace this wonderful opportunity and try to keep a balance between social life and academic work, so you get to really enjoy this experience. The two years fly by so fast and it is important not to take it for granted and acknowledge the privilege of studying in a diverse and inclusive environment, which could be a huge trampoline on your path to success.