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What it’s Like to Attend a UWC Short Course

10 May 2021

UWC short courses advance the UWC mission by bringing UWC education to a wider audience than UWC schools and colleges alone can reach. They are a great tool for engagement across the UWC movement: often run by UWC schools, colleges and national committees, short courses and summer programmes encourage leadership, collaboration and alumni involvement. An increasing number of UWC short course alumni go on to run their own short courses and educate the next generation of changemakers in line with UWC values. 

Year on year, UWC short course alumni report significant learnings from their respective courses, across fields such as the environment, diversity, peace and conflict, migration and cultural understanding. In addition, they repeatedly report developing their soft skills and their awareness of the world and their place in it: such as critical thinking, understanding the power which they possess as individuals, exploring life outside of their comfort zone, and generally expanding their horizons.

But don’t just take it from us - hear from UWC short course alumni below!


Much like our schools and colleges, UWC short courses offer some scholarship funding and are committed to educating a deliberately diverse group of young people. Why not apply now, and experience the transformational educational experience of a UWC short course?

For a full list of 2022 UWC short courses, click here.

Katy (England/Spain)
ActionxChange, Spain

“I have never felt so happy with a group of people. I feel like I am really doing something with my life, and that feeling is something I do not usually have. The people I have met here are really spectacular, and with some of them I have formed some unbreakable friendships. The facilitators are incredible people, and they opened my eyes and made me feel capable of something greater.”

Matilde (Italy)
International Biosphere Stewardship Programme, Indonesia

“I came here to challenge myself, to try to get out of my comfort zone, to learn more about how to take care of the world that surrounds us and most of all because I wanted to learn how to make change. During these 10 super intense, but also super fun days, I have learnt this and much more! You are always completely surrounded by amazing nature, tall trees, animals of all kinds and a blue, blue sea that creates magic and a serene atmosphere. 

I have been taught to appreciate everything I have, to observe, to hear… I have been taught to love nature, to live and learn from people with completely different traditions and backgrounds, to live in the moment. I learned about the biosphere, the rainforest, animals and plants, environmental issues and Indonesian culture - not by studying in a book, but by seeing things, talking to the locals, learning from the experts in their field.”

Rawan (Egypt)
Building and Crossing Bridges, Belgium

“I always really wanted to study international affairs in university. After experiencing the short course, I am more eager to learn and to be an advocate for those who need it, in crises that do not receive as much attention. I do not want to live in this community for two weeks only: I think that every single participant should go back and create their own UWC community in their own school and surroundings. I feel responsible somehow to pass down the knowledge I learned here.”

Sanaa (Finland)
Building and Crossing Bridges, Belgium

“I would say that it has been a life-changing experience. The great facilitators and the workshops have helped me learn so much and to broaden my horizon. I thought I was open-minded before coming here, but this short course has really raised the bar. I feel like I will be able to use all the information I got here quite well in the future.”

Syuen (Malaysia)
UWC Maastricht alumna; Facilitator at Architects for Diversity, Malaysia

“As a recent graduate from UWC Maastricht in May 2018, I couldn't think of a better way to close my chapter as a UWC student, begin my new adventure as an alum and continue my journey as a global changemaker than be part of a UWC short course. It only made sense to me to take the lessons I’ve learned back home. 

In seven days, I had the privilege of learning more about what life was like for different individuals in Malaysia, and how it differed immensely according to aspects of their identity alone, beyond what I already knew from being born and raised in the country.

Being a part of the short course reminded me of the essence of a UWC education and why it means so much to me. It also solidified my role as an alum who has had the life-changing privilege of being a UWC student. It’s been truly an honour to pay my UWC education forward and to give back to my home country, Malaysia, by taking a small step to inspire change in my own country and, hopefully, cause a ripple effect for a better future.”

Varvara (Russia/Spain)
ActionxChange, Spain

“This camp is one of the best things that has happened in my life, because now I have so many people who care about me, who accept me the way I am - and I am making so many unforgettable memories every moment.”


Anonymous Participant
Connecting with the Mediterranean, Lebanon 

“These really great [course leaders] know what they’re doing. They are extremely creative in designing the workshops and running them. They are really great influencers and knew how to teach us new concepts and expose us to different ideas, which I can only imagine is a hard task considering how different everyone is in their backgrounds and learning methods.”

Hippolyte (France)
Together for Development, eSwatini

"This short course has been eye-opening for me. I have learnt the values and the advantages of being with other international students. But most of all, I’ve learnt not to reduce one culture, one experience, only one country to a single story, but rather to understand the aspects and perspectives that make it up."

Bénie (Rwanda)
Umoja, Tanzania

“The world is made beautiful by its people. What do you think would happen if they all worked together, united? The Umoja Short Course gave me the answer! Community, environment and nations need me and you, no matter which skin colour, country, race, or tribe we might be from, because with "UNITY" we can do much more!”


Paula (Spain)
(Re)defining Equality, Austria

“You don’t understand the word equality until you have lived with people from 22 different nationalities and love every single one of them as if they were your own family."