Colin Fleming UWCM 2017
My name is Colin Fleming and I am a Dutch student of Irish/Brazilian descent at the United World College in Maastricht.
I first came to the UWCM in MYP5, two and a half years ago. I have always lived in Maastricht, and up until then I had attended Dutch public primary and secondary schools. At the time I was like any other Dutch young teenager, living my life in a bubble: unaware of anything in the world that was not affecting me directly; I was completely fine with this. I had no intentions or will to change schools and go to ‘that strange international school’. This changed when both my sisters switched from the regular Dutch school to the UWC, and I saw how incredibly excited, engaged, and motivated they constantly were. This is something I had never seen: they genuinely enjoyed going to school, and were truly interested in school related activities. This is when I decided to make the switch to UWC at the end of year 9.
To this day, I think this was one of the best decisions I have made in my (only 17 years long) life. At UWC Maastricht I have learned about and adopted many of the UWC values as my own. I have gained interest in many different things I would have never thought I would be interested in, like sustainability, politics, and feminism. To me, all of these things always seemed alien and far away, as I thought it was not affecting me directly. However, after coming to the UWCM and having had many interesting conversations and discussions with different people, I learned that these issues affect us all and that they are all interlinked. For instance, because my interest in sustainability, durability and the environment grew, I am now a leading member of the school’s Environmental Action Group. With the help of this group I have been part of preparing a nature pond for spring breeding and constructing campus recycling facilities. Besides that, with leadership and teamwork skills my team and I have successfully completed the Duke of Edinburg International Gold Award and organized the school’s lively TEDx Youth event.
Another very important part of the UWC movement to me was Creativity, Activity, Service. Through CAS I discovered my interest in the human body and how it reacts to physical activity, like doing sports. After having experienced a triathlon with other students two years ago, I have since ran many races and swam long distances to develop myself physically. As a result, I am glad to say that I am now competitively racing triathlons for a team. Alongside my passion for triathlon, I spend time every week helping people with disabilities during pool sessions. This is how I decided that this is something I want to study on a tertiary educational level. Next year I will be going to Scotland to study ‘Sports and Exercise Science’. I am not yet sure what university I will be attending, but I know for sure that I would not have discovered this interest if it were not for the CAS programme.
I am ever grateful for the support that enables so many students to go out and pursue their dreams, and develop the skills and interests they have gained at United World College. With my mind set on pursuing my goals, I look forward to new experiences and developments in the future.