If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.
Then he becomes your partner
Nelson Mandela

UWC Maastricht Alumni

Ane Breivik UWCM 2017

The United World College movement is a ballast that I will carry for the rest of my life.

My name is Ane Breivik, and I come from a municipality called ‘Bærum’ outside the city of Oslo, Norway.

When I was seven years old, my family and I moved to Luanda, Angola and two years after that we moved to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, prior to moving back to Norway. Both of these places made me realize how vastly different conditions can be in other societies, as it did not dawn on me that the rights I take for granted are unheard of elsewhere. I still reflect back upon the sights I witnessed throughout my childhood, the experiences and new perspectives which I gained that have influenced my worldview so wholly.

At the age of fifteen I discovered an extracurricular passion that made my heart burn ferociously; I joined a political youth party, the Young Liberals of Norway. Over the next two years, I immersed myself in organizational work, taking on positions such as student council representative in my upper secondary school, county president of Akershus Young European Federalists and county vice president of Akershus Young Liberals. When living in Norway as the young student I was, I longed for the international community I was part of when I lived in Angola and Dubai, and upon hearing of my nomination for the United World College in Maastricht, my dream was realized. I was fortunate enough to continue to pursue my passion at the UWCM and have vigorously participated in various activities such as the Model United Nations, Amnesty International and the International Peace Conference.

It’s odd to reflect upon my UWC experience at this point, for it has not yet struck me that it will soon be over. These two years have passed more rapidly than I expected. I do look forward to embarking on university life after UWC, and am currently in the process of deciding between tremendous institutions in both the United Kingdom and the United States. I am without doubt that I would not have pursued university abroad without UWC, nor would I have had the means to. Anticipating the future, I am motivated and driven to continue to fight for the things I believe in, to further develop, transform and strive for change in others as well as myself. Without UWC, I doubt I would be in the same state at this stage. The United World College movement is a ballast that I will carry for the rest of my life.

Not only has UWC fostered a sense of idealism in me, but I have also undergone tremendous personal growth, and seen the same transpire in my peers. As I have shared a room with people of immensely different socioeconomic backgrounds from my own, as I have witnessed my rights being placed on a higher pedestal than those of my peers, as I have had numerous conversations about privilege and the lack thereof, I am more conscious of the system I benefit from, my own privilege and the opportunities it has enabled, and my responsibility to address and work against this. The UWC experience has, in many ways, been akin to a rollercoaster ride – I have experienced my fair share of ups and downs, and the downs in particular have been complex and hard to overcome. Yet, as cliché as it sounds, I believe it has made me stronger overall, and it has given my UWC experience new dimensions. I look back at these two immensely formative years affectionately, for they have truly been of enormous significance to me.

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