Alumni Defne and Augustine coming back to UWCM to help with Outroduction

July 13, 2022

Defne Tekin, UWCM 2021, and Augustine Nthenge, UWC RBC 2016

Can you please briefly introduce yourself?

D: My name is Defne and I come from Turkey. I graduated from UWC Maastricht in 2021, and I am currently a student at Smith College, in the US.
A: My name is Augustine and I graduated from UWC Robert Bosch College in 2016. Afterward, I came back to the Netherlands to pursue a Bachelor’s in Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Currently, I lead the IB’s Global Alumni and Community Relations from our office here in the Hague.

Why did you get involved in the Outroduction?

A: ​​I got involved with the Outroduction because I wanted to ease the anxiety that the students were feeling about leaving the UWC bubble by showing them that it’s possible to reintegrate into the real world. My aim was to give them practical tips that I wish someone had given me when I was leaving the comfortable UWC bubble I created back in 2016. The tips that I got in my final year were amazing, but there are other things that I learned after I graduated that I wanted to share with them. I love giving back to the movement because it really set me up for the next step in my life. For example, it made me a resilient individual because of all the adversities I had to overcome during my time at UWC. I became more emotionally intelligent and got to experience so many cool things at such a young age.

How did you support the Outroduction? What was the workshop about? How did it go?

D: I supported Outroduction by preparing a workshop on US Colleges & Universities. I presented it along with some other alumni. My contribution was pre-recorded but based on the feedback I think it went well!
A:Together with Sofia, Xinge, Alicja and many other graduates, we prepared a workshop about building your social bubble after UWC. We gave the soon-to-be graduates practical tips on how to transition from UWC into the ‘real world’, the difficulties and challenges that they were going to face and the ways the movement set them up to handle them.
We know each student is unique and didn’t want to assume that they would go straight to university. That’s why we included tips on how to make your gap year meaningful, how to make friends at the workplace etc. I talked about my experience with the transition from UWC to the University of Amsterdam, the benefits of going to university without your UWC friends and how to make friends in the workplace.
The workshop went really well and the students gave us great feedback. We were once in their shoes and could relate to how they were feeling, which made it easy for them to be vulnerable with us. Some even said that it was their favourite workshop of the day and wanted to stay in touch with us afterwards, which made us really happy.

Would you recommend other alumni to get involved with the Outroduction next year?

D: Yes, definitely! It’s a great way to stay connected with the UWC movement and your peers. It was a humbling experience to be able to share my experiences and attempts at transitioning into life after UWC. In my case, this has meant talking about what it has been like to study at a liberal arts college in the US following my UWC education.
A: Absolutely, it’s one of the best ways to give back to the UWC community and as an alum you are the perfect person to calm the anxiety that the students are feeling. Leaving the UWC bubble is really tough because the community you have built over the last two years has allowed you to be your authentic self. Therefore, a lot of people tend to think that they will never find a community like the one they had at UWC and that’s a hard thing to think about.
That’s why this is a perfect opportunity for you to put their mind at ease and let them know that they will be okay transitioning into the ‘real world’. Will it be an easy process? No, but the most important thing for them to know is that they are not alone. They are joining a global community of over 60,000 alumni who are always ready to help them at any instance and that’s a feeling that never gets old.

Are there any other ways in which you give back to the UWC movement?

A:Yes, every year I always volunteer to be part of the Dutch national committee selection process. This year, I was asked to purely observe how the candidates interact with each other in group settings and activities during the first selection weekend. Furthermore, I was also asked to be part of the interviewing panel during the second selection weekend. Later in June, I will give the new cohort a presentation about the Diploma Programme and my aim is to dispel all the myths they might have about the program. I will also give them my advice on how they can juggle their UWC aspirations with the demands of the DP and ensure that they make the most out of their two years.