Jack Lewis, Wales (AC 08-10)
I was asked to write an article and it has taken me a long time to find a subject. I needed something topical, that would interest people and that I knew all about. So I came to the conclusion, what don’t you know? This posed a new set of problems. Being in a college where most people know mostly anything about everything meant finding something which most people know relatively little about, has issues. So, I decided to go back to basics, and was struck by a thought. I am willing to bet good money that you don’t know very much about Wales, except that it’s full of sheep and it rains a lot. Which based on AC is a fair assumption. However, this is nation proud of itself and I feel that it is consequently my duty to pass on some Welshness to you.
Our national emblem is the dragon, and our passion will always be for rugby. We are proud to speak the oldest language in Europe, containing the longest word in the world, Llanfairpwllgwyngellgorgerechgwyndrobochllandysyliogogogoch. That is most definitely not a joke and I would spell it phonetically but this article has a word limit. If you wish to hear it pronounced, come and find me and bring an umbrella.
We are, unfortunately, not a country – we’re a principality. It is a proven fact that should we ever become independent from Great Britain, we would be the poorest country in Europe. We have the highest teen pregnancy rates in the whole of the European Union. In my year in school, 5 girls got pregnant; all of whom kept their children so that they would receive child benefit support (money), and the youngest was 13 years old. Within the last week, in the Valleys of South Wales, a nine year old boy found himself lying bleeding, in the street after being attacked with a knife. His assailant was 13. Do you see where I am going with this?
When surveyed 45% of people in Wales felt that they were at risk of gun crime and over 20% of men surveyed claimed that they knew exactly where to get illegal firearms from. When logging on to the BBC Wales website, the first three news stories were, and I quote, “Body from missing model hunt found,” followed by “missing mum and son, 11, found,” and finally, “man, 30, arrested over explosives.” The theme continues.
I am proud to be Welsh. I will always be proud to have been born and bred amongst these people. You may look at them and make a comment about the fact that they are chavs or that they look dodgy and I will lose my temper because you will never understand what it is like to live here. Surrounded by drama, pain and suffering I have grown as a person and more than anything I want you to understand how angry it makes me being at this college. I am surrounded by people who daily make fun of this nation in which they live and I want dearly for you to understand where you are. I do not feel like I deserve my place at this college on occasions because I know that there are people in this country that should have the opportunity to apply to such an establishment but they never will.
I am not writing an article with which I wish to scare people – I am merely sending out a plea. Atlantic College was set up all those years ago with the idea of helping people. We will travel all over the world petitioning, building orphanages and saving lives, all of which is phenomenal. But next time you want to save the globe I want you to stop for a moment and think. You live in this country; you will spend two years of your life here. You may visit our national capital, drink our drinks, eat our food but spare a thought I beg of you. Before you leave, aim to do something for the local community, because it needs it more than you can ever know. Thank you for reading my outburst.
– United World College Student Magazine –