Loes interning at UWCM
June 24, 2021
Loes Gerrits graduated from UWC Maastricht in 2019 and then returned in September 2020 to do an internship as a music teacher. Discover what it was like to return to UWCM in the role of a staff member here.
Please tell us who you are, when you are from, when did you graduate? And what are your strongest memories of your time at UWC Maastricht?
My name is Loes Gerrits, I’m a graduate of UWC Maastricht, from the class of 2019. I’m Dutch, but I grew up in Tanzania, in an international school, so I was very fortunate to have an incredibly diverse upbringing. My former school is now known as the newest addition to the UWC family, UWC East Africa, and I attended this school for the entirety of my education, except for DP. I came to UWC Maastricht because I was in search of a new environment and new people, to be inspired to be the best version of myself I could possibly be. I definitely had my fair share of incredible experiences at UWC Maastricht, both good and bad, as I grew and developed into the person that I am today. One of my strongest memories at UWC Maastricht is the time that the entire school united to prevent the deportation of a fellow student from the Netherlands back to his home country of Afghanistan. We staged protests, wrote letters, collected signatures, and in the end we succeeded. It was a beautiful moment of unity from the entire community, and a wonderful way to see our mission statement come to life.
What have you been up to since graduation? Studies? Projects? Friends? How have you managed the Covid-19 times?
Since graduation, I’ve started studying at Homeschool Zuyd here in Maastricht, following a course of Music in Education. I’m currently in the second year of my studies, and I’m having a wonderful time. Ironically, I didn’t take Music as one of my subjects at UWC Maastricht during my time there, which just goes to show that no matter what, where there’s a will there’s a way and that life never turns out the way you expect. My classes are super interesting and very busy. I’m very lucky to have some of my old UWCM classmates here in Maastricht, who I try and see as often as possible! COVID-19 has been quite a difficult challenge for me, because just like with the rest of the world it has thrown my life a bit upside down. It’s especially difficult right now because we are currently experiencing infections in my campus, meaning that we have to be extra cautious and extra safe. I feel very fortunate that a large portion of my classes are still in person and I hope that won’t change! COVID-19 can put a lot of pressure on me, and everyone around me without even realizing it, because it’s a subconscious stressor. It really helps to talk about with the people around me that I care about, because they’re a wonderful support system. Taking time for yourself is also vitally important.
How did it happen that you are now back at UWC Maastricht as an intern? How has the experience been so far? What is still the same? And what is different? Has anything surprised you?
As a part of my studies, we undertake an internship every year, with a different age group in mind. My course is in Dutch, but since all of my education had previously been in English, I really wanted the experience of teaching in English as well, since I would like to teach internationally in the future. Even though I had only very recently graduated from UWC Maastricht, I was very interested in experiencing the school as an intern and a teacher rather than a student. So far it’s been really interesting to note the differences between being a student and an intern. One of the big differences I’ve noticed is the patterns within the school, the flow between the teachers and the students and every component of the school. It’s also really fascinating to see how much behind the scenes action there is within the school. There are so many underappreciated staff members that as a student I rarely got to meet, or understand their roles. I love that it still feels like the same school that I left, with the same ideals and goals. Every student is there for a reason and is pushed to their best potential.
How else have you been involved with the UWC movement and how do you see yourself involved in the future?
I’ve been involved with the UWC movement by participating in dinners and discussions, working with my fellow alumni and students to try and continue to make the UWC mission statement a reality even after we’ve graduated, helping the next generations to realize their dreams and make a positive impact in the world. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to meet students from several UWC’s including UWC LPC, UWC Dilijan and UWCEA, and their perspectives have been invaluable in shaping my ideas of the world. Together we can make a difference and I’m beyond excited to continue to do so in future. I hope to remain involved within the UWC movement, whether that is through sharing my experiences or helping out current students.
Any piece of wisdom that you now have as a member of staff that you did not have as a student that you would like to share?
Life is unpredictable! This can be both an amazing thing and a terrible thing, but it’s an important one to be aware of. Relationships come and go, and some will stay forever. Students pick their subject packages, often with a career or path in mind, but there’s a good chance that you’ll end up doing something completely different than what you had planned and be very happy, just like me! I originally had a career in medicine in mind when I started UWC, but now I’m an intern as a music teacher! When I was a student at UWC Maastricht I was so stubborn and steadfast in the original path that I chose for myself, but it’s important to be flexible so you can take whatever life throws your way and turn it into the best possible outcome!