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UWC Maastricht students visit the Berlin UWC International Office

28 February 2020

This week, the UWC International Office in Berlin was thrilled to receive a visit from a group of 5 UWC Maastricht students: Lia from Italy, Anna from Belgium and Argentina, Tabea from Germany, Atiya from Kenya and Janne from the Netherlands and Australia. The group were visiting Berlin on project week as part of a cultural exploration focused on how political and historical factors in Berlin intersect and shaped the capital, and decided to use the opportunity to drop in on the new UWC International office: 

Visiting the UWC International Office and understanding why the city was chosen as the new location for the office seemed to be an interesting addition to our research. Furthermore, we wanted to get a better understanding of the different bodies of the UWC movement, to get different perspectives as to how we could potentially contribute to our unique community.

We caught up with the students to ask them the following questions: 

What were your expectations of visiting the UWC International Office vs the reality? 

We did not exactly know what to expect, as none of us had a clear picture of what the International Office is or does. We were welcomed warmly, and given the chance to ask our questions to the people working in the office in a “circle-setting”, which really helped the conversation! We experienced a familiar atmosphere and a lot of openness: the International Office is more approachable than it seems, as it is made up of people and it is not just a “distant institution”. A lot of people don't really know what the International Office does or how important it actually is, but we learned that it plays a very important role in the movement and helps keep everything together. We also realised how much students could get involved and be in contact with the International Office

Why do you think that more UWC International Office and student interaction is important? How do you think we, as a whole movement, can make that happen? 

“UWC is a diverse and complex movement, where finding common ground and building connections becomes important if we want to all proceed in the same direction. In such circumstances, having more contact and dialogue between students and the International Office, two fundamental components of the movement, is vital. Also, in order for the students to fully understand and grasp the importance of the International Office and what it does, interactions are necessary. Additionally, knowing what possibilities for students are out there to get more involved in the movement rather than merely being part of the school and its initiatives would be very beneficial for both parties involved. Some ways to increase the interactions between students and the International Office might be addressing some “impact stories” specifically to the current students, and in general advertising more internship/volunteering opportunities for students at the International Office. Moreover, it might be interesting to create groups of students in each School/College that are in contact with the International Office and with each other: these groups, bridges between the International Office and student body, could be responsible for Instagram takeovers/lives and for finding effective ways to share the UWC International newsletter and updates with their communities.

The UWC International Office in Berlin and In London is always open to visitors, please don’t hesitate to drop by if you are ever in the area!