Finality, LPCUWC

Goodbye, till next time.

10:30 pm 

Hey there. I have come to the conclusion that I’m ridiculous when it comes to keeping this blog alive.  Six months and more indeed and quite frankly, difficult for me to believe. Although I cannot keep up with the passing of time, it is finally time for me to conclude on the chapter named 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane. No longer will I be filling in forms with that address that holds a wealth of memories, no longer will I be referring to my residence as “that school in China”, nor will I be able to use the farness of LPCUWC as an excuse for holding meetings in Kowloon Tong rather than on Hong Kong Island. The time has finally come to say goodbye. I realized, though, I have been speaking of this as a “moment to come”, now that it is finally here, I am profoundly lost for words. 
The last five months can be succinctly summarized with “overwhelming, unanticipated and rife”. Now to the concision:

January:

January saw the end of university application season and the joy of becoming “best friends” with the “Submit” button. The thought of no more UCAS/Common App or Hong Kong portals shined gleefully – well at least for the next three months. January did not hold much deviation from the last of workloads and the impeding IOCs. It was also that time of the year when Challenge Day took place, it was time to recruit UWC’s Class of 2020 and just the sound of the made me feel old. Like always, it was a special event to me that I never failed to take part in. It serves as a reminder to me of my two-year-long journey, where it all began and the reason so many individuals want to be a part of this special mission. To those that are unfamiliar, Challenge Day is the second round of the selection process in applying to LPCUWC/any UWC. The day provides you an opportunity to engage in daily college life and your fit in both the environment and the UWC mission. It is one of the best opportunities for prospective candidates to receive a full picture of what their life at LPCUWC will look like. Challenge Day sees over 100 alumni volunteers, Year 1 and Year 2 helpers and the Director of Admissions (Kate Kam) running the day. The event is definitely not possible without all hands on deck in running the activities, encouraging interaction and getting to know the candidates on a personal level to see their fit in the school. I saw myself facilitating one of the Challenge Day groups alongside my second year from last year (Kento Sakata HK/Japan ’17). It was an eventful day that saw us engross in a range of activities, speak to alumni and to gain a better understanding of future UWC students.
January saw the second last cultural evening of the year, CLACE (Caribbean Latin American Cultural Evening) come to life. It was certainly as a beautiful evening filled with laughter, music and an abundance of food. It was an incredibly special day for all my Latin American and Caribbean friends as we saw a fusion of disparate cultures in coming together and piecing a show that represented their continent and islands around the region.

February:

By the end of February was when I saw myself sigh in relief of all that went on that month. Mocks were right around the corner and all the Year 2s were working hard in consolidating our two year’s worth of work. I too was busily immersed in this process until four days into February, I get a call. A call that summarized the deterioration of my maternal grandmother’s health and her hospitalization in the Intensive Care Unit for over two weeks. The latter of which was untold to me so that I would be able to continue revising for mocks without any disorder. Unfortunately, there was a point where her health only worsened and I had made the decision to fly to India to visit her with the thought of the worst case scenario. To those that know me well would know that I have always grown up with both sets of my grandparents all my life and to the extent at which I was close to them. The news was something that I took to heart and felt it was right to take the time to spend with my grandmother knowing that the time given to us is finite. Flying down to India meant I had to miss all of my mock exams which took me a while to process considering the amount of time I had put into the process of preparing for it. Nevertheless, I felt that the decision I made was correct and upon arriving was very happy to spend time with my family. This was so important to my grandmother and I was glad I could make it.

March – April:

Let’s just say IB took up most of this time. However, we had our annual service trip at school. This time I chose to go on SOS Lipa in the Philippines. The SOS Children’s Villages focuses on supporting children without parental care and families at risk. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience where I understood the meaning of true love beyond families and the type of relationships you form with people. The children there left a mark in my life with the immense grit they possessed and how determined they were to conquer their dreams despite their background.
Most importantly, they built a family and I think that was what mattered most.

May:

GRADUATION FOR THE CLASS OF 2018. The day was FINALLY here. It was genuinely overwhelming to this the end was hitting us. I think all my friends will remember me as the student that came late for the graduation ceremony. I had another award ceremony concurrently and therefore I could only make it to a later point in time within the graduation ceremony. Since the names are called block-wise and I live in block 2, I missed the moment my name was called. I will vividly remember the sheer panic of messages I received from all my friends during those two hours – all those “WHERE ARE YOU?”, “DID YOU JUST MISS YOUR GRADUATION?!?” and “SNEHAA HOW TF ARE YOU LATE TO GRAD TOO?” will always be remembered. But, my name was recalled during block 4 hence I still had the opportunity to go up on stage and still collect my certificate. An eventful day indeed.
I would like to take this time to thank everyone that has been with me throughout my journey. A special thank you to my parents for providing this life-changing opportunity to take up a challenge and witness the world in the span of 20 months, I genuinely couldn’t have done it without the both of you. To the Class of 2018, you’re all changemakers and I cannot wait to see all that you’ll get up. Being one of your class representatives’ is a genuine honor and I look forward to seeing all of you in 10 years. I wish you all the luck, love and happiness your way.
June composed of a wonderful and fulfilling break I took with my parents to the Los Angeles and South America of which I will write a separate post for. I thank you for allowing me to capture my experiences and memories through this blog and if you have taken the time to read it, I truly appreciate it.
All the love.
Snehaa
Advertisements
Finality, LPCUWC

Christmas (how to procrastinate during university application season)

2:27 am (yes, it’s a long post)

Hello. Yes, yet again, three months have passed since I last wrote about my return to 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane. Amazing how, since then, the Term 3 I was anticipating has come to an end and I’m almost through my last Christmas break before graduation. I genuinely did not expect “the last two years” of my high school to flash as quick as it has been. I attempted to make use of my third term wisely, yet I was swamped with internal assessments, extended essay draft, and tests, but I’m incredibly proud to have pulled through it all. The past three months have been nothing but pure joy from getting to know my roommates, other first years and rekindling friendships. It is crazy how much has changed in just one year – transitioning from a first year to a second year has placed many things into perspectives for me.  
This term was packed with several activities from African Cultural Evening to European Cultural Evening. Both of which did not fail to impress, cultural evenings are a sole reminder as to my reason to move schools and to be exposed to a profound sense of diversity that cannot be matched anywhere else. I was proud to be able to see my friends work so hard in piecing together a night for us to remember and to celebrate our differences – encapsulating the true spirit of a United World College. On the side note, SAT season came to a close with subject tests in November followed by a final SAT 1 in December. It was a wonderful feeling to have wrapped the term with standardized testing to validate our ability to qualify for universities in the US (as if the IB wasn’t hard enough). This term, I enjoyed having “me” time, something I felt like I missed during the previous terms (not that it was a bad thing). It made me reflect holistically about my transition within my academics and as a person, how far I’ve come. I’m guessing you can call it one of those “mid-reflections” you face as my UWC journey is coming to an end.
December has surprisingly been the month that has been the quickest. It seemed like just yesterday when I was smiling as I could “finally” submit my UC applications and here I am pushing through my Common App university portal as I strive to complete my pending supplements that are a testament to my “true” character. Apart from ECE, this month was/is the final push for second years with final submissions to coursework, consisted of final catch-ups before the Christmas break and a wonderful bowling block activity! If there’s one person I’ve gotten to know well, that would have to be my Universities Guidance Counselor, Ariel Lau. It is Ariel’s first year at the college as our universities counselor and I didn’t know her as well in the beginning. After several sessions with her to finalize my university list, to me, she became a friend, a mentor and someone I started to look up to. I believe it is a common notion to say that Ariel has become more of a friend to most of us second years than just an “LPC staff”. Her credentials, assuring, kind-personality and ability to resonate with us make the process of applying to university less stressful. All-in-all, I’m very grateful to have met her and would like to use this post as an opportunity to thank her for listening to my lame yet entertaining stories, my “consultation” slots that turn into me ranting and constantly having to see her to convince myself that I will be “okay”.
Looking back now, Term 3 was far from what I had expected it to be. As usual, there was always something new going on, reminding me every day as to why I am here with 200 kids from around the globe.
Weird to think Christmas is almost coming to a close! Last week, Mark (Fiji ’18), Sam (HK ’18), Wisdom (Ghana ’19), Ahmed (Yemen ’18) and Vibushita (Sri Lanka ’19 – who I hosted for the break) were over for dinner. We were blessed with Chef Ahmed’s cooking, Biriyani – our all-time favorite and dish of significance. It was nice catching up with them and hearing about their Christmas break with their respective host families and time at the youth hostel. On December 26th, some of us, LPCers were invited to Gloria (HK ’17) and Crystal’s (HK ’18) house for a Christmas dinner. Gloria graduated in 2017 from LPC and moved to the US for college. She was one of the second years I’ve had fond memories of and it was lovely catching up with her. The night ended with us (Disal, Vibu, Kad, Koye, Shrav, and Oti) being stranded in Sai Kung with no transportation within our vicinity. Thanks to Shrav’s brilliant navigational skills, we found Koye and Oti a ride to Mong Kok back to their youth hostel and the rest of us ended up at HKUST to find our respective transport from there onwards.
Looking forward, I’m unsure if I’m ready for my one final ride of high school. Moving to LPC has changed my perspective and expectations of the last two years of high school in general. It has transformed from what teenagers believe to be “daunting”, “stressful” and “full of breakdowns” to one that was, yes, “stressful”, “fun” and “unforgettable”. I believe it was this way because of the people I found myself with. A little tribute to those that kept me sane during Term 3. Eternal love for you all.
Starting with roommates tolerating my rants, annoying alarms and my commendable ability to continue having something to say and for never actively making the effort to get bubble tea for myself. Chloe (Thailand ’18), Camilla, (Italy/Ethiopia ’19) and Queenia (HK ’19) will forever be an irreplaceable part of my memory. Thank you for always bringing me bubble tea and food.
Crystal Kwan (HK ’18) – for always reminding me that there was Spanish homework and with me always reminding her about English. Forever will you be my partner in crime during 12 am cram sessions and hating on Katharina Blum. As she loses her honor, I’ve lost my patience.
Afraz Hassan (Bangladesh ’18) & Kagan Yanik (Turkey ’18) – for being able to show me what true friendship means and always opening the door for me precisely when “inter-dorming” begins. I mean, who follows rules, anyway? It is always a pleasure to binge watch tv shows with you or to have genuine conversations.
Nadia Rahimatpure (UAE ’18) – for always being online at oddly hours at night/early morning and keeping me company by always asking me if I have food. I find you in my room for the most random of reasons but it always ends up with an interesting conversation.
Jasmine Chan (HK ’18) – for a friendship that goes way back in time. Thank you for always reminding me to wake up for an ESS morning block and being my closet provider. Your clothes always have a reason to find their way to my pile of awful mess. Thanks for laughing at my unmatched sense of humor and my receding gum that is yet to be fixed.
Justin Yeung (HK ’18) & Stephanie Leung (HK ’18) – for always being my right-hand in Math SL. Without the two of you, I don’t think I could ever comprehend the unpredictability of Math. Thank you for making Math seem more fun than it actually is. To the final four months of Scottish Kahoot, fighting over textbooks and roasting each other.
Gabriel Chan (HK ’18) – for making me lose the bet we had and making me wait for 2 hours in line for Ichiran. Oh, and of course, teaching me Math. If it weren’t for Math, I doubt we’d be the good friends we are. I may not say it that much but thank you for always being there. We will make it and you will somehow buy me dinner.
Sam Hui (HK ’18) – for everything. “I will miss you” means nothing as it cannot encompass the year and a half. To more fence-side conversations. Nothing can come between good friends, not even the Director of Student Welfare.
Guillermo Rodriguez (Venezuela ’18) – for just always making sure we catch up regardless of the time and day. Thanks for always calling me “extra af”, you are truly a brother I never had.  It is always reassuring speaking to you and always gives me a calm feeling. I will never forget your inability to change soap from one bottle to another. Te quiero mucho, hermano.
Vimukthi Sylvester (Sri Lanka ’19) – for letting me always steal your paper and impeccable ability to sleep through everything. Tutor group would never be the same without you. I look forward to spending more time with you next term. My carpet will forever be your second bed.
Trevor’s fan club (my tutor group) – for making me look forward to Wednesdays every two weeks. It has never been mundane with you bunch. You are all a very special part of my LPC memory.  To more inside jokes and teaching Trevor 21st century slang.
Maryse Chan (HK ’18) – though I didn’t spend much time with you this term, I don’t think there’s been a day where we never messaged each other. Thank you for being a “Common Application buddy” as we attempted to be productive and ended up cursing the rigged university system in place. (Oh, thank you, Ken, too)
Lambo Sivasubramanian (Sri Lanka ’18) – though I barely saw you this term, your smile always makes my day. You help me keep in touch with my root with me elating you with you “Americanized” Tamil. You’re always laughing at my ability to whine about anything and for that I thank you. (We’ll get into uni, don’t worry HAHA).
Elijah Samson (Cayman ’19) – thought I forgot you? HA. Save the best for the last? When are you not in my room? Or when was I not in yours? Thank you for being a constant support and always being there to listen, whatever it may be. I could never have pulled through without your (100%) real shade and for always keeping everything real. Remember, our Subway is still pending. It’s also time to buy your own CANA book. My love to Nicole.
Inevitably, there are so many more people who I found myself spending time with and for that, I thank you. 3/4 down, with one-fourth of unlocked mystery left to be open. LPC, I’m ready for one final ride. Thank you for so far would be an understatement. Until next time.
LPCUWC, Summer 2017

Second Year, Second Chances

3:25 pm 

Good afternoon, from a rainy, windy yet warm Typhoon 8 Sunday in Hong Kong. I swear I meant to post more often and to fuel this blog with more sustained life than I have recently had. Two months have flown, whimsically. So much has happened since I last wrote, so behold.
After a long and lovely Summer break, I returned back to the depths of 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane to complete my final year of high school. Every time, I repeat the previous sentence, it leaves me slightly dazed to think that some of the most memorable years are my life are soon coming to an end. Moving back to school felt right. It felt like I was back to where I belonged and I was excited for the year ahead. Walking around the school and being greeted by the same friendly and this time, familiar faces left me all smiles on my first day of the second year. This year, I had to separate from my beautiful trio with Audrey and Alejandra and moved into the next room 2/306 with Chloe, from Thailand. 2/306 was an incredibly special room to me, as I have several complacent memories of it from last year. And what better way to spend it in Ashwin’s (my second year’s) corner. I still remember setting up my room and feeling very nostalgic. Ashwin’s room in general played a very big role in my first year from coming to 2/306 for advice, food, long night chats or whenever I’m locked out and I will never forget the genuine 8 people (coughs) that lived in that room. Afterall, it was Block 2’s dayroom! It was still a dry feeling coming back to campus and only seeing half of the school there, yet it made me realize that there were things to move onto and shoes to fill in.
Popular to contrary belief, Fortnight felt like a blessing to us. For those that are unaware of what Fortnight is, it is the two week period in which us second years spend on campus together. It is also two weeks before our first years (Year 12’s) arrive from all around the globe, yet again. I was slightly sceptical and nervous as to how Fortnight would turn out to be as you enter the phase of feeling different emotions that can be sporadic. However, in the end, the fourteen days were well spent being productive, bonding as a year group and catching up with everyone. I have to agree, it was one of the busiest weeks I have encountered since I arrived at LPC as we had several deadlines and upcoming tests that we were required to study for. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my co-years that I hadn’t seen in over three months and it was a wonderful feeling to hear about different Summer break stories by these individuals. It took me a while to settle back into my routine having been on break for so long. One of the best things about being in a UWC is about gaining that cultural understanding amongst one another and these two weeks allowed me to immerse in an experience I intend to through the lens of my peers and that helped in aiding my learning experience here.
The two weeks flew by very quickly and before we knew it ourselves, the beginning of September arrived. This was an arrival of the first years week that all of us were waiting for. From over ten trips to the airport, cleaning our rooms, preparing welcome shows – the Senioritis finally hit us hard. The campus of 120 students slowly started increasing until it hit the double. It was an overwhelming moment considering that the feeling of familiarity was slowly drifting away. Soon most of the conversations revolved around “IKEA, moving in, endless introductions, canteen table conversations and an introduction to the LPC culture and impeccable lifestyle”. The campus was abuzz again and we were a complete family and that was a very wholesome feeling. As much as I was a having a great time, the difficulty of remembering names were back too and I forgot how it had been one year since my last official introduction on campus to students. Regardless, I genuinely loved meeting the new first years and learning about them, their background and expectations in the two years to come. I particularly enjoyed working with MESCA for the International Cafe Evening With our countless last-minute rehearsals, we were still able to pull out something that was memorable, fun and truly captured our cultural group. And what an honour would it be to be able to see Afraz AND Kagan dance? Like this literally, would never happen. Dressing up and attending ICE dinner took me way back to last year when I was able to interact with several new faces. I think the saddest aspect of being at LPC is the fact that time is incredibly precious. Not because we don’t have enough time to complete our work, rather we don’t have enough time to spend amongst ourselves. Two years inevitably may sound like a long time, yet you realize how quickly it passes by.
The end of ICE lead to Orientation Week and while us second years were in joy to have the week off, we felt this week gave us the opportunity to form a relationship between both year groups. Like last year, a range of activities were happening and it reminded me of sitting on one of the roofs thinking I was dreaming as everything was coming into shape.
And like that October has arrived. Everyone is well-settled, into the UWC routine and classes have started. I claimed Chanelle’s first year from the Cayman Islands because he is my true spirit animal (S/O to Elijah Samson). Genuinely he is a blessing sent to me, I have not been able to resonate with anyone on such a level. As I mentioned numerous times, if anyone can get me to shut up, it’s Elijah.
Third term for me has been stressful, yet understanding that being here is a privilege has made me approach it positively. Halloween season is underway and Diwali is this week – I’m looking forward as to how this week unravels. Will update you with upcoming adventures and more.
Some random, hazy thoughts/sharing:
– I completed my first EE draft and handed it in on Friday (the feeling of pure joy)
– I love rainy season, to me, it means more staying in and enjoying the comfort of my bed
– I love naps
– I’m ready for Halloween
– Excited for this year to unravel
– I want to have more beautiful conversations with new and beautiful people
– Not ready for school tomorrow
Till next time,
Snehaa

 

Summer 2017

Thanjavur – the city of Art & Architecture

10:02 pm EST

Jenny Han in the book The Summer I Turned Pretty once said “Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.” I don’t think I can agree more. As much as I aspired to keep this blog alive during the Summer, I was trapped in impending electricity shortage, culminating my life choices and immersed in an experience that lies beyond technology. Shortly as Summer has started coming to end, I’ve started to realise the fast paced nature of the notion of “time”. July 18 marked my last day in Kenya, the first part of my Summer trip this year. Arriving at Hong Kong Airport made me realise how it feels to feel empty, sad yet fulfilled after having contributed to a cause so special. I made sure to keep track of my entire journey with extensive detail to cherish this piece of memory, years to come. I plan write an entry summarising the trip in the short future – stay tuned to this.
Meanwhile, what am I doing now and where am I? If some of my social media hasn’t been self explanatory, I’ve been in the Southern part of India for the last three days. Within these few days, I’ve had the honour of sitting by my 75 year old grandmother and listen to stories that date back to the 1980’s during my mother’s childhood. All of which filled me with warmth as I was able to understand the kind, hardworking, appreciating nature of my mother since a young age. Recalling the tedious essence of living in an extended family with her sister-in-law, husband, her in-laws and finally her immediate sisters prompted me to thinking how the concept of family has unfolded over time. It also made me grasp the fact that this might possibly be the last time I’ll be able to hear these stories from this same 75 year old. The saying “Life is too short to be overthinking” is posed as an overrated saying. Yet, the saying embraces itself with a strong element of truth that as a teenager we fail to acknowledge. I’ve always avoided the thought of “attachment” because I feared losing someone close to me. Overtime, I found myself growing to appreciate the people around me more and more – those that I’d generally push away. Not because I didn’t care about them or that they weren’t of importance, it was being consumed in the ideal world that “everyone will be around for a long time” or that there is a always a next time.
I vividly remember Peter Moll’s (CEO & Founder of Stand Up Shout Out, an organization in Kenya) words during his impromptu speech — “There are no leaders of tomorrow, there are only leaders of today.” This is because we use the excuse of “tomorrow” to push our tasks back – whether it be your IA, extended essay, meeting up with your friend, finishing up chores or talking on the phone with a distant family member or wanting to bring about change. The melancholy of the assumption of there being a tomorrow is that there mostly isn’t time tomorrow. This statement distinctly stuck to me and will for the rest of time to come. The last the three days made me understand that being around all these elderly people in my life is nothing but a short lived aspect, just like life’s many ones. This made me hold onto every account I’ve encountered in these last three days    very tightly.
Although this Summer I only get to stay with both my grandparents for two days each, within this short spam of time, I’ve learnt to value the gifted opportunities and value the element of time. Whether it was spending hours chatting with my paternal grandmother in the backyard or endlessly attempting to teach my maternal grandfather on how to navigate through the daily lives of teenage social media such as Facebook. All of which have been momentous. Along with this comes the ability to share my aspirations and my plans for my future – giving me the clarity of thought and confidence in the sense of direction I plan to head.
Yesterday [Aug 7], I had the opportunity to visit the Brihadeeswarar Temple also known as the great “Thanjavur Temple”. Being born here, it’s been one of the most iconic places I’ve visited tenuously the last thirteen years. It is a Hindu temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the largest temples in India and is an example of Dravidian architecture during the Chola period. Built by Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 CE, the temple turned 1000 years old. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Great Living Chola Temples“. The temple stands amidst fortified walls that were probably added in the 16th century.
Ironically, only now did I get the chance to learn about the cultural significance of this beautiful architecture that plays a pivotal role in the shaping of South India culture. My grandparents accompanying me allowed me to learn more about the history of Thanjavur – the city where I was born since they’ve lived here for more than fifty years. This was true mesmerisation. My two days here are coming to a near end and I’m looking forward to what is yet to come. Like the good old saying “Every memory matters” (sorry I enjoy quoting).
Till then, warm greetings from Thanjavur city – known for it’s blissful art and intricate architecture. Lots of love.
Summer 2017

What is UWC? What does it mean to me?

5:42 pm

Ever since I got back home for the summer, I’ve had the chance to reunite with old friends, meet family friends, and attend numerous gatherings. Dozens of gatherings later, I noticed a striking similarity between all of them. I was posed with these three questions wherever I went (literally no matter where):
  1. What is UWC?

  2. Why did you decide to move? / Why leave South Island School?

  3. What makes Li Po Chun United World College or any other UWC different from other schools?

When I first decided to apply to the UWC movement, I wasn’t close to aware of the fact that Li Po Chun United World College was foreign to the buzzing city of Hong Kong. I was constantly under the impression it was well-known (which it is, in most parts of the world, ironically, except in Hong Kong). Later when accepted, I remember seeing the baffled looks on the faces of my friends, family and mainly several Indian aunties. All of whom curiously searched up the terms “UWC”, “Ma On Shan” and “Li Po Chun”. I can remember the three questions above ringing regularly in my ears the following months. One year later, people persistently ask me the same three questions.
I want to share with you, the story of a sixteen year old South Indian girl who decided at the age of 12 that she would be attending a United World College. I share with you a journey, a challenge, a learning experience (bound by my experiences and only mine) – one that was not always smooth, but will also remain an integral part to the person I’m shaped (still shaping, would say!) into, today.

Where did it all start?

I was 11 years old then. My best friend’s mother was a social worker who spent majority of her time working with providing equal opportunities to ethnic minorities children in Hong Kong and exposing them to a world that most of us live in (something they were sheld away from). She was a very inspiring woman and it was an honour to always be around her.
One particular day, LPCUWC was hosting a day camp – specifically for ethnic minority children in Hong Kong. She was looking for a few of us to help facilitate the younger kids (since there were so many) that were going, so my best friend and I decided to help her mum out. That was my first time at 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane. Although I was just 11, I realized I had stumbled upon a world that was completely different from the one that I was growing up in. LPC was a school that emphasised not only academia but on indispensable values that shape students into mindful people. This struck me very hard. Living in Asia all my life had made me realise the significance of numbers and using that as a foundation to base someone’s ability. It was the constant feeling of never being good enough, whether you were a high achievers or on average.
These students were not only inclusive but also open-minded and caring. They had the ability to use their experiences to recreate a special bond with one another to give back to people who might not have the same. It was also the day when I figured out that there was a country called Bosnia that existed (hehehe Amina). That was when my dream started. That was when I decided no matter what, 5 years later, this would be my future home.

What is UWC?

I’m only going to offer a brief overview since all of it can be found on the UWC website itself. The United World Colleges is a global education movement that makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.
They now have 17 schools and colleges on 4 continents. The educational concept itself was founded by Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist who believed that education was more than just about attaining grades and getting into top universities, rather it was “preparation for life” and that “education should help students to develop resilience and ability to experience both failure and success”. He was inspired through World War II.
“UWC students are selected domestically, in more than 155 countries, through UWC’s unique national committee system. Selection is based on demonstrated promise and potential.” The most important part of this ideology is that “education should be independent of the student’s socioeconomic means“. An aspect I can take pride in because this has given me the ability to go to school with refugees, people from conflict nations and minority groups – all of whom possessing incredible talents.

Why did you decide to move? / Why leave South Island School?

Throughout my life, I’ve always been a person who enjoyed challenging myself. Monotony; one word that I can never stand. I always found a thrill in trying something new and to delve into new adventures. I embrace adrenaline rush with both arms. Simply put – this was a fascinating opportunity, leaving me with no choice but to grab it. As an individual, I have always appreciated the process of nurturing, open-mindedness, values and diversity. This put UWC and I on the same pedestal since they embody the same.
Moving to LPCUWC had absolutely nothing to do with any problem, difficulties or my experience at South Island School. In fact, if it weren’t for the strong foundation I received during my 7 years there, I would have never been able to get into a UWC. South Island School echoes many strong values and academic experiences that will take an individual far in life, however 7 years later, something was still missing, gaps were to be filled.

What makes LPCUWC or any UWC different from any other school?

Diversity – a key element of UWCs. Speaking within the context of LPC, 56% of students are from overseas – making it one of the most diverse schools in Hong Kong. You learn so much from these people whom you call your friends, community and everything for two years. Status or socioeconomic means have no hinderance within the community – this is a factor you won’t find in other places. I believe this element has allowed the movement to bring together such culturally different students with disparate mindsets from around the world – all of whom you can learn something from and not discriminate.
Trust me when I say you won’t need new channels such as the BBC or the CNN to ponder upon what’s going on around the world, a knock on your neighbours door for an update on their country will serve the same purpose!
Moreover, the genuinely accepting environment has allowed people to be themselves and this is an aspect that has always been a posing problem for people growing up. Everyone is tied down because of what society believes as right or wrong, UWCs challenge this motive in having belief in ones’ opinion and respecting that. Essentially, everyone is right (just in their own way). Plus, there is no one to please, except yourself (and maybe your parents).
LPCUWC wholeheartedly opens its door to the LGBT+ community and giving a voice to under-represented and mis-represented countries in the public eye.
There is an overwhelming amount of elements that I could address about UWCs or LPCUWC that I’d be more than happy to share with you.
It is important to not be consumed by idealism. Like ALL schools,  UWCs have their own flaws. It is often posed as a dream world but it’s always a rough ride. Like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, these schools aren’t for everyone. You may attend one of them thinking it is going to be like you expected and it may turn out the complete opposite. If you are accepted, do not be overly optimistic, instead, be open-minded and be ready to challenge yourself, your ideals and the opinions of others.

THE TRANSITION:

To be entirely honest, both first and second term were overwhelming. First term being all about introductions, meanwhile second term, all about IB. By October, I was exhausted by repeating the same phrases “Hey, my name is Snehaa, I’m from Hong Kong/India”. I felt confronted with obscure feelings: walking into a room filled with special people who had so much to share, being able to feel secure within the community, and also feeling like an outsider (ALL at the same time).
By the end of the first month, I no longer felt special. I no longer felt like I had something worthy to share and I no longer feel indifferent. Several times, I’d envy the captivating stories of my peers about their home countries. I’d envy that I no longer had something worthy of sharing or of one’s interest. You’d enter class or Quan Cai assuming you were excelled in the subject or activity. “After all, you were the best at it in your old school, right?”.
YOU are wrong – there is always someone better and also within a 10 cm radius. BUT it wasn’t a race OR about who was best. Rather it was THE LEARNING PROCESS. This made me feel integrated. I was always able to takeaway and give back. This made me feel like a valuable member of the community. With that – I’m looking forward for another year of challenges, questionings, bubble tea runs and occasional confinements in the library.
Rest assured, it will be an experience that is worthwhile (has been so far). If you made it to the end of this post and would like to know more, I’d be more than delighted to share with you my experiences, hardships, learning experiences and more. Feel free to email me at snehaa18@lpcuwc.edu.hk or PM me.

 

 

Summer 2017

3 weeks of Summer has passed already?!

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer”

Albert Camus

3:47 pm

No deep posts with heavy feelings this time, I promise (we’ll save that for the later part of summer).
~ in the comfort of my bed, while many are at school ~
 —
Where has the time flown? It has already been three weeks since I came home. My anxiety and persistent checking of the calendar and the time has made me realise that time is ticking away. I know I may have said this repeatedly throughout my previous posts, but it feels like yesterday I repacked all my bags, trudged up ten floors up the lift with hefty bags, boxes and with a security guard staring at me with an appalling expression. Funny thinking about it now. I’ve started missing school lately, it was hectic, but there was always something to do and that genuinely kept me going. Whether it was the late night conversations, asking Memo to lower the volume of his loud Venezuelan music or asking Ashwin to help me solve Math problems – just two months ago, all of this was alive.
So what have I been up to the last three weeks? To be completely honest, my life hasn’t gotten any exciting since I last wrote a post. I’ve enjoyed having a lot of “me” time – something I lacked off during my time at school. Whether it was being able to snuggle in my bed reading about Huxley’s conditioning of people in order to recreate a happier society or engrossing myself studying Phillips Curve for Economics – I have truly commemorated the last few weeks. I reconciled with my love for nature and being able to walk by the seashore every night; an aspect of home that I really missed. It’s also safe to say that I’ve been putting my Spotify Premium to good use (finally) after barely being able to listen to audible music [mock exam struggles]. Most of all, I had great laughs looking at everyone’s snapchats to see what my friends have been up to the last few weeks whether it be school or Grad trips. Speaking of grad trips…I was genuinely wondering if anyone went elsewhere apart from Koh Samui, Thailand (haha). Nevertheless, seems like a blast from what I’ve seen so far.
I also reminisced my childhood and had the chance to go to Disneyland last Friday after nearly two years. I was absolutely ecstatic. It had changed so much since I had last gone and it was almost like going to Disneyland for the first time. It’s truly as they say, “a whole new world”. It made me realize that Disneyland is one of those places where regardless of your age, you’ll find an aspect of the park that brings a smile to your face just because you find your strong connection with this one aspect even if it’s not directly in relation with your childhood. This was a factor I found so delighting and without a doubt it’ll have a place in my heart. It was nice to know I grew up with these characters and it gave me the chance to walk down the memory lane when I use to binge watch Lion King or the  await the Beast turn into a charming Prince in Beauty and the Beast.
Yesterday [June 11], I got to meet up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years! Cherian and I spent a good chunk of our childhood with each other since we have countless mutual friends and also happened to be family friends. It was always fun being around him when I was younger until he moved to Singapore, four years ago. He’s in Hong Kong for a few  days and had just graduated. It was lovely catching up with him. For starters, I could barely recognise his post-pubescent voice. We met up at a family friend’s house for lunch and later headed out to Causeway Bay (the “city center” as he called it). The poor guy was deprived of urban areas after living in a relatively more rural area in Singapore. Like always, it was great to catch up over bubble tea, garlic noodles, chocolate milk and whatnot. What I found most fascinating was how much are lives had change within the span of 4 years. It was hilarious to hear his Koh Sa stories too. As he spoke of post-IB I took a moment to think how it would feel to graduate and be able to escape the wrath of IB (soooooon!).
Till then – bye for now!
LPCUWC

The End (of Year 1)..

 

10.48 pm
Setting – Home Sweet Home (finally!)
Brace yourself for a long, reflective and feelsy post.
The last few days have officially come to an end. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve been overwhelmed by a roller coaster of emotions. Before I go into the nitty-gritty of it, allow me to process the actions of these past few days. Thursday May 18 concluded the IB exams for all students across the world and I can just imagine the rush of emotions that my second years might have felt. I genuinely wonder how the feeling of concluding the writing of your future on multiple pieces paper feels like.
Friday May 19 saw us being invited by our head of house – Wendy Liu Hayes (Head of House Block 2) to the Head of House drinks and snacks. She has put in immense effort in terms of preparing the food they turned out to be absolutely mouth-watering (refer to the image(s)). It was our final time gathering as an entire block along with our respective tutors to commemorate the year and offer a conclusion the Year 2’s UWC chapter. It was heartwarming because as a block, both first and second years were very well-connected. It was lovely to gather as a block for “One Last Time” – an iconic saying that little did I know, I’d be hearing multiple times a day for the next couple of days following Friday.
On Friday, we also had our final special dinner as a whole school bidding our farewells to two teachers – Amy Clark (Teacher of Geography & Global Politics) and Debbie Chan (my Year 1 Math teacher!). I had the honour of getting to know both women beyond a “student-teacher” relationship. Amy was the teacher in charge of my China Week trip back in November 2016 – typing it out now, it feels like months ago. Her charisma and ability to extend her help throughout the trip was an aspect that I admired most about her. Aside that, I’ve heard she’s an amazing teacher even though she doesn’t teach me. Debbie on the other hand, is someone I have bonded throughout the year. Maths SL being my least favorite of subjects had always made me encounter a plethora of difficulties. Debbie was there for me throughout the Year 1 journey whether it was providing external help, providing advice to use further resources or just make me feel better. I truly appreciated her unlike many others because her perseverance to help her students prevailed strongly throughout my time with her. Almost all her lessons were of vivid memory to me because of her charismatic personality. It’s inevitable that I will miss her genuinely and her sassy antiques – grateful to her for pushing me harder and motivating me throughout the year. I bid her farewell and wish her the best of luck for her future. [Side note: all these feels are finally hitting me like a truck as I write this]. Special Dinner made me sense a strong community that I was part for so long, yet I only realized the speciality of it. This was followed by us receiving our Yearbooks and proceeding to sign it with an abundance of messages to last an eternity.
Saturday May 20 – the day had finally arrived. The official graduation day. I was excited yet weary of the fact that my time with my second years was lapsing – and that too, very quickly! It was an emotional day that saw the arrival of parents, siblings and friends from around t the world at 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane commemorating the graduation of their children, friends and sisters/brothers. There was a pre-drinks gathering the courtyard and diversity shined bright as every, exquisite Hungarian national costumes and Costa Rica sombrero. All of which encapsulated this little bubble and made it special. Following the pre-drinks, we hailed onto our buses that drove us to up to Chinese University of Hong Kong – The Shaw College lecture theatre (a bigger venue) to watch the people who welcomed us with open arms receive their UWC Diploma. I was particularly proud to see specific individuals (also known as Trisha Kibugi, Ashwin Nair, Shravan Ramaswamy, Rachel Lin, Olivia Thierly, Priscilla Lam (roomie) & Smriti Roy) receive their diploma. These were people who shaped my first year experience and it would have not been the same without their presence. A day I will remember for a very long time.
Sunday May 21 – [FINAL CAFE & MUSIC NIGHT] Yes, you read that right. After 9 months of talent, it was time to take a final bow for “One Last Time”. This time, I decided to “actually” perform because it had been long since I was under the spotlight. Who better to ask than a “desi enthusiast” herself – Trisha was happy to dance alongside me and that meant the world to me. We danced to a fusion of songs. It felt right to be back on stage (not literally) after a while. What better way than to top it up with a barbecue dinner preceded by more Yearbook signing and heavy feelings. I still remember staying the courtyard till 2:35 am to get all the pages in my Yearbook signed by the second years. These late nights/early morning memories that made everything complete. Oh, we also had our final tutor brunch that morning. Trevor and the rest of us headed down to Jaspas in Sai Kung for an ambrosial breakfast that was throughly enjoyed with the entire tutor group.
Monday May 22 sped by as Clearance Day. We quite literally spent the entire day packing everything. It took me hours of packing to compress 9 months of my life into one suitcase and multiple black packing bags. As the room got emptier, so did my heart. The farewells started from this day on and waiting at the gate with a bunch of lovely people filled with endless tears felt odd and almost unfamiliar to me. I spent the early morning playing Mafia in Block 4 with eight friendly faces and had a conversation till 3 am with Haibah. He’s one of those special people who you meet once in a lifetime. Calm, mature, reassuring, and to me felt like an older brother. May 22 – marked one of my favorite days at LPCUWC.
Nearing the end of the last few days, I did not entirely process the fact that my second years were leaving. It was only when I was standing at the gate myself did I realize that reality was taking shape, ends were nearing, people were ready to fly to sixty different countries. I was honoured to have crossed paths with some of these incredible people who I never thought I’d meet. Goodbye after goodbye, Tuesday May 23 reminded me that it was my turn to leave. At 2:30 pm, Audrey, Stephanie and I were greeted by beautiful souls at the gate greeting us off. Some faces that we will see in 3 months time, others, not for a long time. Once again an eerie feeling.
Yet, I was almost equally longing to go home. Most of all, I was ecstatic to see what my second years will be up to in a few days, months and years time. It fills me with great happiness. I believe goodbyes aren’t forever, they’re merely an “I will miss you” till we meet again. With that being said, if you are one of my second years’ or even a part of the Class of 2017 anywhere – I wish you the best of luck with all your future endeavors and that the world is being place at your doorstep, it’s up to you to choose the path to take.
Thank you for everything. You will be dearly missed. With love and luck for today, tomorrow and the future ahead.
Snehaa Senthamilselvan Easwari [ HK/IND Class of 2018 ]
LPCUWC

Two weeks left…

2.09 am

[And] just like that two weeks of sleep deprivation, intense revision and the lack of social life have flown by. I find it extraordinary to reminisce the fact that just a little over two weeks ago, along with the rest of my co-years, I stressed about the thought of exams.

Now, here I am, finally able to give myself the opportunity to reflect upon the last few weeks.

Firstly, some hazy yet recurring thoughts for myself and others:

  1. Undoubtedly, numbers are important. Grades play a significant role in your life. However, there is no need to go out of the way to put your health, mental health and the things you love to do at stake for a bunch of numbers
  2. Numbers nor your university defines you. It’s inevitable in a context like Hong Kong or in any other academically vigorous part of the world that people strive to achieve the best they can. Everyone is caught up on “the best grades, the best school, the best tertiary education and the best job”, rarely do people live in the moment. People are bound by the future and forget the element of the “presence” and how much we take it for granted Ironic coming from me, but, as you may have ceaselessly heard “ten years down the lane, your score out of 45 does not matter”. 
  3. You come first no matter what. No, this isn’t one of those self-centred or narcissistic comments, it’s purely the fact that as human beings we should be obliged to care for ourselves first before render for another. People are lost in the fast paced life we’re challenged with and prioritise every element but ourself and this poses to us a greater harm than good.
  4. It’s “ok” not be “ok”.  Who am I to have an opinion some may say, however, I personally find it comforting to have a strong support system of family, friends and teachers I can heavily rely on at the worst of times. It’s human intuition to tell ourselves we are “ok” when we’re not. The social stigma around mental health care and people’s ignorance towards the issue is an aspect that I’ve never been able to come to terms with. Everyone is special, everyone is deserving to have a place in this world and everyone truly should be able to talk to people regarding their problems without any judgement towards them.
However, it’s surreal to feel that in less than two weeks, I will be back in my home in the comfort of my bed that I rarely slept in even when I was home, the delectable home food I’ve been craving and that I can “actually” go back to India to see my grandparents. The thought of transitioning from a first year to a second year seems intensely daunting – it feels like just yesterday I struggled carrying my bulky, large and red suitcase up three flights of stairs. It’s relieving to have finished the end of year one exams – one of the most anticipated weeks of the year by many! Knowing their significance towards our predicted grades made the entire process of studying a crucial process and I’m glad to have survived through that.
I constantly remind myself that coming to UWC isn’t about just attaining high numbers that merely define your intellectual ability, but the ability to be able to have create a special cultural understanding amongst such a diverse body of students. Having said that, going to UWC is privilege, one that is not granted to everyone. If granted, does not place you on any pedestal that is higher than anyone else. In fact, it pressurises you (in a positive note) to stand by your beliefs and morals. Despite this, when you actually arrive here, you realize that this place simply isn’t for you. For one, I have deduced that even if you are accepted and claimed to be “UWC”, does not entirely ensure that this is the place you belong or that it is a place better than where you’re from.
On a completely irrelevant note, I was grateful to have been able to have dinner yesterday with one of favourite, genuine, down-to-earth second year – Alis Jones. We were able to catch up over the most amazing Korean food I’ve ever had. Many credits to Alis for that. The freedom from exams has completely overtaken us as we indulged ourselves in food and an endless conversation.
I was also able to celebrate with Ashwin [Nair] as he turned 18. He’s someone I’ve had the honour to have known for so long and practically grown up with. Ashwin’s has an immense impact on the type of person I am today and I genuinely treasure our friendship. I’m so happy to have had him as my “second year” here at LPC and as much as I’ll miss him, I know he’ll be close by and that’s entirely reassuring as he’s a gem undoubtedly.
At some point this week, I also found out that I passed my First Aid exam! Surprise, surprise – hopefully no one will be needing second aid (haha). So, I’m quite excited for this role next year!
Looking forward, there is exactly seven days until it’ll be time for me to say countless short goodbyes to the eternal friendships formed with our second years and remind myself that every experience is a honour granted to one – and it’s up to us to make the best of it. In six days, I will see the very unfamiliar faces that welcomed me into this school graduate with their certificates as now very familiar faces. 10 Lok Wo Sha Lane is without a doubt a bubble. A bubble that only less than 50% of Hong Kong has been exposed it. A bubble that entices of endless Cha Sui Bao, take-away sushi and Starbucks runs. However, assuredly, there will always be a home and space for the Li Po Chun United World College Class of 2017.
New beginnings, Random thoughts

Finally, a beginning to a blog?

Ever since the beginning of this academic year, my inner voice would tell me – “It’s time that you record your life experiences”. I vividly recall replying to my inner voice saying “I have no time”. However, over the last nine months, I’ve started to realize the true meaning of time. You may have heard the saying – “You always have time for the things you put first” resonating the thought of priorities.  As an avid writer, I recall having to always wanted to write a blog of my life experiences for keepsake. However, being a seventeen year old, the prolonged battle with the International Baccalaureate never allowed to me do so. Either way, today, I told myself – to new beginnings. Essentially, my way of making time.
Alright. Back to the gist of the blog itself. It has been precisely nine months since I decided to strive for a way to challenge myself by applying for a boarding school. Firstly, never did I think that I would get into one of the United World Colleges, secondly, never did I imagine myself stepping out of my eternal comfort zone – South Island School. Coming to Li Po Chun United World College took a major turn in my life. As much as I strived to start this blog earlier on in the year, I feel this blog will serve as a platform of commemoration and a form of reflection. It’s only when I arrived here did I echo the saying “Time flies by when you’re having fun”. Now the latter part of the quote is highly debatable, but time does fly, that too, quickly – when you’re consumed in an immensely fast paced world. Nine months here has shaped me into a person I never perceived myself to be. Nine months now, I’ve bonded with teenagers from over 60 different countries and across seven diverse continents. Nine months later, I’ve learnt the existence of a Lesotho – a country in Africa. So much has happened in the past nine months that I cannot summarise within one blog entry.
From living with a room mate from Mexico to eating dinner with a Uruguayan to lying on a Kenyan’s bed reminiscing Model United Nation memories – I’ve experienced it all in in the past few months. Two terms have passed and yet I feel overwhelmed by shots of happiness and jars of emptiness. Two terms done. Two terms left. Two out of four. Yet, I’m pondering to find a purpose of me being here, moreover, the purpose of life itself. I’m genuinely grateful to attend a school which quite literally is filled with 58% of students from overseas. Located in the far side of Hong Kong, a bubble within itself known as Wu Kai Sha – a college that most Hong Kongers would be unfamiliar with. Yet being here feels different. Different in both a good and a bad aspect. Anyway, the purpose of the blog you ask? Telling you I have anxiety issues would be an understatement.  Never have I ever lived in the moment, I’m always bound by the future and that is because I’m scared of what is to come. The point is, ten years from now, nothing will be the same. I won’t be the same. My life won’t be the same and nor will this blog I’m scrambling to write. I aspire to (hopefully) be living in the city of my dreams – New York. Hopefully at 27, I’ll have my life together (who am I kidding), and will be able to look back at this blog, at a seventeen year old me and reminisce the childhood I’ve experienced whilst sipping my coffee in a subway on my way to work. The sound of that itself leaves me with numerous goosebumps. Excitement too.
Okay. I’ll admit, the main reason I’ve even brought myself to write this is because I do not want to study for my upcoming Environmental and Systems and Societies quiz (which is tomorrow), nor do I want to study about Central banks being the powerhouse of countries. Education has become a limitation than as to a exploration for students to be engaged learners, but if I were to go on about that – it would be on a whole other post. I sincerely hope through this entry, you’ve gotten a sense of the kind of person I am and my purpose to even spend twenty minutes of my revision time relieving stress through the beauty of words.