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

Isabella Cruse - UWCM 2011

"Change your thoughts and you can change the world."

My name is Isabelle Cruse. I graduated from UWCM in 2011 as the last class to consist of only day students, marking the beginning of the transition from International school Maastricht to a UWCM. I am now alumni from Maastricht University with a Bachelor of Arts and major in media and alumni of Rotterdam University with a Master of Arts with major in sociology.

I was born in Germany, raised in the Netherlands and the U.K. and thanks to this third culture kid upbringing I attended UWCM for seven years, from the beginning of secondary school (then IGCSE- International General Certificate of Secondary Education) until the International Baccalaureate diploma graduation. While the UWC framework was fresh and the school, as well as us students, transitioned from being an international school to a school with UWC spirit during my diploma years. The education and experience under the UWC mindset shaped me to who I am today; it enabled me to come to terms with myself and my position in the world. While I struggled with the challenges and demands of the IB, I excelled in CAS and service learning making it possible to grow alongside and complementary to the academics. 

Every day, with every task, I now naturally apply all UWC beliefs and IB learner profile characteristics, as if they were second nature. The skills and confidence the experiences during UWC has taught me enabled me to continue a life that includes diversity, inclusion, flexibility, educated risk taking, openness, leadership and most importantly global mindedness. 

What it comes down to is that no matter where you are from, what your story is, what you look like, no matter who you are: we are all equal human beings. This is stronger than anything and as soon as this is realized, it offers so many great relationships, opportunities and limitless possibilities to learn from one another and serve one another as citizens of the world. Especially in times as these, with political tensions and racial tensions causing mistrust, fear and hatred towards others: it is important to look through it and be an example of how coexistence should be. 

Cheesy and cliché as it may sound, my last yearbook quote says: "change your thoughts and you can change the world". I still stand by that and even though it has been 5 years since I left the school, I know that my life journey is only at its beginning.

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