Interview with alum Tomasz Bazant
November 8, 2021
My name is Tomasz Bazant, I am Polish and I graduated from UWCM in 2016. When I think back to my time at UWCM, I remember idealistic, hard-working youth that learned from each other in a supportive environment full of devoted staff members. I could not have hoped for better educators. Huge thank you to all the teachers and staff members!
One memory from my time at UWC particularly stuck with me. During Eastern European Culture Week we put together a play about communism for the final culture show. I have never acted before, but the very active organizers of the play needed more actors for their synchronized group choreography, so I thought to myself ‘why not’ and volunteered. Our rehearsals were fun, but the real deal for me was the premiere. Towards the end of the play, I experienced a truly magical moment. When the music came to a grand conclusion and our troupe froze in triumphal poses after throwing off the shackles of communism, the audience broke into applause. I felt ecstatic. For me, the enthusiastic applause meant that our cultural message was truly and deeply listened to, understood, and appreciated by peers from all over the world. I have never felt so good sharing myself before, and probably ever since. This was probably my most ‘UWC’ moment from Maastricht.
After my two years at UWC Maastricht, I attended University of Rochester (UR), where I originally focused on Economics. I ended up with a triple major, adding International Relations and Russian Language. In Fall 2018, together with my co-year Seda, I attended Semester At Sea (SAS) – a study abroad program. In short: while en route to your next country/travel destination, you take courses on board a ship. Both my time at UR and SAS were generously made possible by Shelby Davis. Some UWCers might not know that applying for a Davis UWC Scholarship for Semester At Sea is possible not only by being nominated in your second year of UWC, but also independently, when already attending university. If you are reading this, are still in college, and are interested to learn more, please feel free to contact me via the platform UWC Maastricht Connect.
For a number of years I volunteered for the Polish UWC National Committee in the area of finance. I carried out internal money transfers, composed monthly reports to accounting, helped to plan our budget, and prepared financial reports on an endowment fund deposited at UWC International. In August 2021, I became an official Board Member of the NC and I will continue and expand my role in the area of finances.
In my professional life, I work as a consultant and I help to advise small to mid-sized banks and credit unions in the US. I am in the Contract Negotiations practice area, where we negotiate with technology vendors on behalf of financial institutions. I also work internally in something called Knowledge Center, where we standardize internal processes and develop new business tools to increase project efficiency. I hope to keep developing in my job and give back to the UWC movement and other nonprofits. As Shelby Davis’ family saying goes: ‘learn, earn, return’. In my consulting work,
My advice to all the other UWC alumni would be that if you are in college, apply for a Davis UWC Scholarship for Semester At Sea! And my advice to younger self – study more, listen more, argue less! 🙂