Personal Growth and Caring for Nature

May 23, 2024

Changing from a small rural town in Brazil to Maastricht started a beautiful transformation in Ana Clara.

When Ana Clara first arrived at UWC Maastricht, many things were different from home, including not only the climate but also society, sustainability, and education. Even though the people speak with more directness in her region, like the Dutch, Ana Clara still had to overcome many cultural differences in the first few months she spent in the Netherlands.

Helping nature

Ever since starting at UWC Maastricht, Ana Clara knew she wanted to put the knowledge she would learn to good use in her region and community back home. One of the ways she did this was through a school project for which she spent a week in France. Together with other students, Ana Clara went to Rouen and worked on an organic farm. As she comes from a family of farmers, she believes that the knowledge she gained in France helped open her vision about organic farming policies in a different part of the world and helped her analyse the farming in her region.

During her time at UWCM, Ana Clara also did a project focussing on her region back home, specifically the Caatinga biome. Her project was made possible through a special program at UWCM and she did it during summer break. The Caatinga biome is a part of nature in Brazil that is only found there and nowhere else in the world. The area is very dry, almost steppe-like. Ana Clara partnered up with the local primary school for her project, to teach the kids in a fun way about the biome and different ways how plants survive, as well as sustainability during agriculture and working on the farms. As most of the parents of those children are, just like her parents, farmers. Through the kids, Ana Clara hopes the new information and techniques will help the farmers and the region!

Adapt and Enjoy

Life at UWC Maastricht was in the beginning not as easy as for other students. Ana Clara came here with only the basic knowledge of English, which made communicating with her peers difficult. Through her own perseverance and dedication, the help of teachers and friends, her English level made big leaps, resulting in being almost fluent in just a few months!

After this, Ana Clara started socialising a lot more, talking with everyone and participating in every event she could, like the Project Week in France! The events were really important for her, not only did she have a lot of fun, it made her life at UWC Maastricht fulfilled, “just the whole experience was really good for me, I felt that if I didn’t do it, my UWC experience would not be complete.” For now, she enjoys the time she has left, before starting university in the US!