Anonymous (UWCiM 2011)
When I returned this year to Mostar I did not find just my old friends, our amazing firstyears, but also empty rooms. I found rooms where my secondyears used to live filling up with strange people who have nothing to do with UWC. Velic is the building where languages, history and psychology were taught last year. This year, I had my World lit class in the Biology lab.
The story of UWCiM is quite complicated. The school was planned to be a three year project of UWC AD and it was the first college built in a post-conflict society. After three years, when everyone saw that the school can really help and change something, it became a real UWC. Unfortunately, our enrollment dropped last year due to economic recession shrinking the class of 2011 to 53 people. The class of 2012 was expected to have normal numbers but in the end it was even smaller than the class of 2011. And we can be happy about this number. When I was talking to my co-years from other colleges in May they were surprised that we still exist. The worst was when we were told that we won’t have any firsties. Now we are happy for every single one of them. Another change was the lack of scholarships which meant that most of the students have to pay, through the national committee (or not).
At this point I am starting to question the whole UWC network. New schools are being opened like the one in Maastricht. A new school is being built in Spain. In the meanwhile somewhere behind is Mostar is desperately crying for help. Maybe this would not be right to ask but why are schools being built in countries like the Netherlands? Yes, I know that the Dutch network invested a lot of money into other UWCs, like Mostar. But wouldn´t it be better to establish strong UWCs and later on build new ones? And perhaps focus on countries which are struggling?
There is almost no contact between UWCs. No official network connecting our schools. Last year there was an exchange between UWCiM and UWCAD. Last year, the headmaster of AD rejected our students coming to UWCAD after project week with UWCADers here in Mostar. We provided them with accommodation and help. We could not offer a lot but we gave what we had. We do not blame the students; we do not blame the school, but is this really the UWC? What is the UWC? Just another trendy brand?
With this article I am not trying to insult any other UWC and I am sorry if I offended anyone, I am just calling for help. Our secondyears and our staff were told that our class won’t exist and after few terrible weeks of struggling they got us. The staff together with the third-years and the whole administration fought for us. Thanks to them I am in a UWC. The same happened the year before. In the end we got our firsties. But I do not want it to happen again. Who wants to be at the surviving school?
Some people even think that UWCiM does not exist anymore. But we will survive. And if not I am scared that we would take the whole UWC with us.
-United World Colleges Student Magazine-