Harvey Koo (Hong Kong, AC09-11), Laura Brouwer (The Netherlands, AC09-11)
A known fact: those friendly off-the-counter prescriptions that seemingly cure every single ailment known to man also have the coincident tendency of imparting interesting side-effects. Interestingly, the aftereffects of a Model United Nations are of a comparable nature. Trust us, both are difficult to stop once they start, and almost always they cause the victim to combust in shame.
In the case of post-MUN, you find a barely noticeable yet soon irresistible inclination to speak in third person, which for interested parties in need for a bigger ego. Furthermore, in everyday conversation you find a talent for eloquence that you never even realized you possessed, when you ‘express your concern’ for an impending economic assignment, ‘urging immediate action’, and ‘realizing’ that this concern ‘has been reiterated’ since September and finally ‘condemn with regret’ anyone but you. Obviously, the symptoms above correspond with speech, but lo and behold your limbs are also affected. In particular, you find yourself reaching for that piece of paper (plaque) deeming you as someone important, but when people interrupt, you are not only scandalized, but are forced to take solace to the only similar object you can find in the near vicinity in the dining hall: a salt dispenser. Continue reading
Gabriel Burgazzi (AC, Venezuela 09-11)
High crime rate and insecurity levels, growing inflation, water and energy shortages, strong depreciation of our national currency, disinvestment–and the list doesn’t stop there. How can a president administer a country so poorly and still have such strong popular support? To understand this we must go back, not 11 years (when Chavez came to power) but more than 200 years. Continue reading
Jonathan Chun Wai Kwok (Hong-Kong, AC 09-11)
For years we have been discussing UWC values at our own colleges, we argue that there are too many teaching hours, we condemn those nations which violate human rights, we share our culture via some activities, we discuss how to keep peace by debating and we try our very best to convince people to dive into the pool of saving the environment. Although we are still facing many uncertainties, we should be grateful to have such amazing opportunities, living in a safe and stable environment that allows us to express ourselves freely. Continue reading
Jonathan Hadad (Israel, AC 09-11), Dani Goral (Israel, UWC-USA 09-11), Asar Goldberg (Israel, UWC-Norway 09-11)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Middle East is far from reaching a long term solution. The Israeli army still has control over land promised for a Palestinian country in the future. There are also illegal settlements, supported by the Israeli government, where about half a million Israelis are living today. Strong hatred and fear have been present for decades in both sides, along with racism, religious bigotry and ignorance.
In the different colleges of the UWC, this conflict has had a much stronger presence in Israeli students lives. Living in the same house with our “enemies” and hearing the horror stories of the condition of living and violations of human rights are strong enough to doubt our support in our own country. This is never easy, as Palestinian voices are never heard in Israel. We also all have to, by law, go back to Israel after we finish our UWC experience and get recruited to the army. Normal Israelis our age would normally get reinforced and taught about how positive the impact of the army is to our country, Israel, which as Jews is supposed to be our only hope to survive in the world. These are the ideas that are preached at school, at home and in the media in Israel. Throughout our lives we are taught that Israel’s military actions were always defensive, that compared to other countries we have “the most humane military force”, ignoring the complete oxymoron.
We are never surprised when Israel is criticized and attacked for its actions, but sometimes criticizing Israel’s actions is interpreted by many Israelis as doubting the Jewish people’s right to exist, bringing back the memories of history lessons about the holocaust. The letters below were originally written in Hebrew by Israeli students to their friends back home to try to explain what they were going through as Israelis while Israel was criticized at the college. Continue reading
Lin Alexandra Mortensgaard (Denmark, AC 09-11)
Iris Vrioni, student at Atlantic College, is telling United Words about her homeland Albania. Many people know little about Albania, therefore United Words asked Iris for an interview about her Country.
UW: If you should describe your country in a few sentences what would you say?
Iris Vrioni: Albania is a small country, yet it has a very long and beautiful coast-line. 70% of the landscape is covered in mountains, which makes the landscape look rough and wild. There are many small villages and very few big cities. Continue reading
Harvey Koo (Hong-Kong, AC 09-11)
The earthquakes in Haiti claimed between 100,000 to 200,000 lives, according to the president of Haiti Rene Preval, and left over 1.5 million homeless. Regardless of where the actual casualty number lies on this spectrum, these earthquakes are a legitimate disaster. The aftermath? An entire world reeling in its debris.
So while international bodies and NGOs scramble to provide all the aid they could muster, a similar campaign was launched in UWCs all over the world. In Atlantic College for example, the response was also lightning quick. Within two weeks, I found myself pacing along the streets of a nearby community raising funds. Indeed, everywhere I looked; students traded perennial college clothing of hoodies, of sweaters and jackets and changed into fluorescent yellow security vests in hopes of attracting more attention. And even then our efforts were easily matched by the altruism that people generally have. Raising money for Haiti was surprisingly easy. In retrospect, had I not experienced this event myself, I would have missed groups of people dropping coins and notes – seemingly without much hesitation at all. However, the thing that stands out most for me personally was seeing my roommate among this munificent crowd. Never mind the fact that he has worried all week about an impending deadline on his World Literature, in his words, ‘Yes, it’s due tomorrow, but now I need to do something else.’ This ardor is one of many examples that explain the privilege I often feel being a part of Atlantic College. Continue reading
Jonathan C.W. Kwok (Hong Kong, AC 09-11)
Since induction period, the voices regarding Tibetan issues or saying “You don’t regard Tibet as a country!?” at AC had been driven out despite some ongoing activities. Apparently, the international pressure heading China had also been declining at the same time recently.
In the Chinese Communist party, they tend to create many terminologies that do not actually make any sense. For example, Socialist with Chinese characteristics i.e. explaining all capitalist system with communist wordings; “Not forming any allies but co-operate tightly with other countries” i.e. the military drill of Shanghai Co-operation Association; Great development in varies aspect including human rights since the liberation under the principal of unity i.e. a national flag standing beside the cross in the biggest church of Beijing. But this time, “American President Barack Obama should be especially sympathetic to China’s opposition to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence, as a black president who lauded Abraham Lincoln for helping abolish slavery” can be regarded as one of the few sensible official argument. Continue reading
Merle Mueler-Knapp (Germany, AC08-10), Gala von Nettelbladt (Germany, AC 08-10)
Chemistry Practical at 3 a.m.
In the sea at midnight. Continue reading
Merle Mueller-Knapp (Germany, AC 08-10), Gala von Nettelbladt (Germany, AC 08-10)
Chemielaborbericht um 3 Uhr morgens.
Im Meer um Mitternacht. Continue reading
William Holt (USA, AC 09-11)
It seems to me that introversion at Atlantic College (and thus introverts as well) are criminally undervalued. Now, I make no contention with socializing or with keeping active in the company of others; in fact, I believe that these are essential components to personal health and happiness. Emotional growth through such interaction is one of the most profound things that one can take away from these two years and I strongly feel that I have already benefitted. But what must be dispelled is the misconception that introversion in this environment–and in any environment for that matter–is something to be rejected. Western cultures constantly misjudge the merits of solitude; to set oneself apart from the collective is to be seen as socially inept, as someone whose personality is maladjusted and unhealthy. Introversion is instead something to foster, something to celebrate. To know oneself is to gain the most vital knowledge one can have. Continue reading
Dylan Hitchcock- Lopez (USA, AC 08-10)
The first thing any Chilean will tell you upon arriving in their country is to watch out for Chileans. According to Chileans, Chileans are very dangerous. They will- they say -rob you blind and leave you to die in the gutter without a moments hesitation. Indeed, It might have even been as dangerous as they said, only every Chilean I met was so busy trying to look out for me that they hardly had time to do me bodily harm. The greatest heist I suffered in my entire five weeks in their fair country was the extra gringo surcharge of a hundred pesos (about ten pence) or so on the odd pack of roasted peanuts. I had never been warned so heftily about the dangers of a country, and yet I had never felt so safe in any metropolis as I did in the dirty, polluted streets and shantytowns of Santiago, swept along with the tide of its seven million inhabitants as I tried to do my little bit for humanity. How could I have anticipated how what paltry glimmers of idealism I may have dragged with me across the Atlantic paled in comparison with the veracity of that which they already possessed. Whatever I might have had to give the people of Chile when I stumbled onto their soil after 48 hours, three continents, and an ocean’s worth of travel, it was nothing next to what I took back with me on the return trip. Continue reading
|Carolin Steindel (Switzerland, AC 08-10)
Switzerland- a country known for its banks, mountains and chocolate. It is considered a peaceful place, hardly ever mentioned in the news and politically absolutely uninteresting. It is considered the “country of neutrality “, always managing to keep out of every conflict or scandal – apparently.
But Switzerland has always been good at keeping secrets. It is hardly known, that Switzerland collaborated with the Nazis during the 2nd world war, profiting of the Jewish workforces from the concentration camps. It is also not widely known, that Switzerland might have one of the strongest right wing parties in central Europe.
Its name is SVP Schweizerische Volkspartei, Swiss party for the people, does not sound as shocking as it should. According to Wikipedia it is a “populist, national conservative political party in Switzerland”. Surely true. Conservative in the way as that they pledge to abolish the freedom of religion. National in the way that they fight the Anti-racism law, demanding the right of racist comments. And popular- well the SVP holds 23% of the popular vote. Strangely enough, officially of the 7. Mio people living in Switzerland, 2000 are considered conspicuous in terms of right wing politics, less than 0.03.% but 23% vote for a right wing party. Why most participants of a party claiming that Switzerland should be kept “pure”, are not considered right wing? – Good question. Continue reading
Wonga Andrew Ndopu (South Africa, AC 09-11)
For those who live under rocks and might have missed developments in pop culture in recent history, Mariah Carey has become the artist with the most number-one singles ever after releasing her eighteenth chart-topper, Touch My Body, last year. Divulging this trivia has less to do with the success of the over-achiever-diva and more to do with the theme of the song title which ostensibly explores the expression of love and affection in a physical form. Continue reading
Hannah Friedland (USA, AC 09-11)
I want to see my country throw off the shackles of relatively recent precedents, such as a century of staunch interventionism after an equally extreme century of isolationism, and act not upon the confines of antiquated doctrine but what is right for the people of our country and the world. I want my country to stop its attempt to remake the world in its own image, an image that is still evolving, and remember that lasting political change must come from the people, a truth my country’s founding can attest to. I want my country to challenge its definition of patriotism and learn to redefine its identity in an age when new countries are taking the mantle of superpower. I want my country to see the possible pluralism of being a citizen of America, of the world, of a religion, of a race, of a history other than its own. I want my country to care for its land, to treat it as a national treasure like any other and not as a divine right. I want my country to stop focusing on the differences of parties and remember the uniting miracle that both sides believe in the constitution, a stronger tie than varying interpretations. I want my country to marvel at maps. I want my country to remember that we were once all immigrants. Continue reading
Beth Green (UK, AC 08-10)
As I sit here trying to write my UCAS personal statement, I am finding it hard to explain why I want to study the course. It is horrible to think that in just a few months time someone will be reading these words and judging whether or not I deserve to go to university. I want to study Linguistics, and to be honest I’m not so sure why. I love words, but that doesn’t sound very convincing on a personal statement, does it? I love how in Khmer there is no concept of past, present or future tense, how ‘ph’, ‘gh’ and ‘f’ can sound the same, how in Turkish a pause or hesitation such as ‘umm..’ might cause serious offence, and how a poem could mean a thousand different things depending on who interprets it. How do you put that into 4,000 characters without sounding a bit dramatic? Continue reading