Aiham Kara Hawa - UWCM 2016
I was expecting two easy flowing years of my life where I do not have to expose much in order to stay safe and in good terms with my family. It did not really go as I expected. The community at UWCM has pressured me so much and broke every single comfort zone I had. I did not reveal my sexuality to such a big group of people before and by doing so, I discovered some very big potential and ability in me to change and resist some costumes back in Syria. These types of costumes suppressed my identity and I did not have the courage to either face it or escape from it. By living these two years here at UWCM, I have proudly become an individual whom sexuality and opinions are so strong that they gave me a power to change and improve communities.
While I have been so busy growing up and fighting for my rights as a member of the LGBTQ community, I have also been surrounded by a group of very different individuals, individuals with a huge amount of support that made me experience what it is like to be around a true family that accepts and cherishes its members. I have laughed, cried, and learnt much around them. After graduation, I am starting to realize how much of a long term community we have created with only two years at UWCM. Both the residential and the day student bodies have created a network of support for me now and in the future.
I will not overlook the fact that there had been a lot of challenges during these two years. It began with a great social pressure, as I arrived to a community where everyone was a leader at their schools and old communities. It was a struggle to find my identity and place of belonging in the middle of such an advanced group. This also came with a lot of academic pressure which makes it harder to live both the UWC experience, and the IB system. Nevertheless both these great challenges helped me to exist as an individual with a distinct identity, who is able to catch up on different levels and function as a successful person in a greater and bigger community later on in my undergraduate studies and life in general.
To sum it up, I had two outstanding years of my life at United World College Maastricht, where I lived the UWC experience every single moment. I have learnt and grown to some very far extents, and I could not be more grateful for the great opportunity that I have been offered.