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UWC Short Courses



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How can you spark a change in your life and the world around you in just a matter of days or weeks?

UWC short courses could be one of the answers you are looking for. Offered around the world since 1987 and - since 2020 - online too, short courses are a transformational opportunity to spread the UWC mission and values even further. 

With courses usually lasting between one to five weeks, you’ll experience the opportunity to:

  • Pursue a passion to progress global peace and sustainability;
  • Work on a campaign, cause or immerse yourself in a new community;
  • Develop your leadership and changemaker skills.

Our short courses offer everything that makes the UWC school experience unique, but without the academic programme. 

On your short course, you will explore, live and share experiences with 30-60 other students from around the world and all sorts of different backgrounds. Together, you’ll have the chance to uncover a range of contemporary socio-political issues, from migration to environmental sustainability, social entrepreneurship to youth leadership - depending on the course you choose. 

Regardless of the theme your short course focuses on, at the heart of all UWC short courses is an experience-based learning methodology. In other words, short courses look nothing like a traditional classroom learning experience but instead adapt to the specific theme, needs of the participants and local context. 

All participants who complete a short course will become UWC alumni and join the international UWC community - and you will leave with new friends, new views, new skills, and a renewed belief that you can change your own life and the lives of those around you. 


"It has been a life-changing experience… I thought I was open-minded before coming here but this short course has really raised the bar."

- Sanaa (Finland)

Read what others had to say about their short course experience

Key information

  • Courses last one to five weeks;
  • Most courses are held June - August, with some also offered in December;
  • Courses can take place in person or online;
  • Places are limited;
  • Age limits vary by course, but we offer programmes for 14 - 20 year olds;
  • There is usually a fee to attend to cover tuition, accommodation, meals and experiences;
  • Some scholarship funding is available on a course-by-course basis;
  • Participants must usually cover their own travel costs, visas and spending money;
  • Each short course has its own admissions process.

If you are interested in participating in a UWC short course please visit Current Short Courses to find out about each of this year’s courses and how to apply.

History of UWC Short Courses 

Since the very first UWC short course took place in Malta in 1978, organisers have been delivering an increasing number of short courses year on year centered around the UWC mission of making education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.

In 2018, as part of the “UWC Strategy: 2018 and Beyond”, ambitious targets were set for UWC short courses to become an even stronger pillar of UWC impact by significantly increasing the number of participants accessing a UWC experience through a UWC short course each year.

These targets were set in recognition of the fact that a UWC education is not and should not be exclusive to UWC schools and colleges. In order to make the UWC mission a reality - a UWC education must be made accessible to as many young people as possible. UWC short courses are a key factor in expanding the reach of UWC and its impact, with all former short course participants graduating to become part of the UWC alumni community of changemakers. 


"You must know that UWC is so much more than two years in a college (I never did that - and I feel just as much of a UWCer as anyone else). I have yet to find a group of people quite like this one - there is a very special energy you can see when UWCers get together. But you must also remember that UWC does not make a person this way – it’s already in you, it just enhances it. There are great, innovative, world-changing people out there, everywhere, that never came into contact with UWC and who are just as valid and worthy as you; and those of us who are given the gift of a UWC experience should do everything we can to spread the UWC mission widely, and encourage other UWCers and non-UWCers alike to make a difference."

- Ines Colaço Fernandes, Peace by Piece UWC Short Course, 2014

UWC Short Course Framework 

The UWC short course framework brings together 5 of the 6 core experiences that make up the UWC educational model: social awareness, personal development, outdoor learning, active participation and service.