Since my time being here, I have noticed that I have changed a lot as a person but more in the sense that I have boosted my personal responsibility, increased my independence, learned how to balance my time etc. However in two days last week I felt like a changed in a much different way. My perspective on ‘what the world is’ has developed – not necessarily because I learned anything new – but the knowledge that I already had became more real than it had been before.
It started on Thursday with a speech given by Peter Dalglish to the school. His biography is online so I will not rewrite it here but essentially he started off as a lawyer in a law firm after going to great schools and then had a change in direction and shifted to a more humanitarian purpose after picking up his life and taking a one way flight. He said that in his career, he had only unfortunately met a handful of UWC graduates because many did not end up working in a similar field as him. He asked us “How good are you?” and this coupled with his amazing speech, heart-breaking stories, courageous accounts of kids he had worked with going through horrors I truly did not believe the human race to be capable of – it really inspired me to pursue a global, humanitarian focused career. While I am still lost as to what this is – I am now sure of this and want to do everything I can to achieve it.
Friday continued my change in perspective by illustrating how privileged I really am to come from such a safe country like Canada. At the UWC Congress which happened in Trieste over the weekend, our school put on the opening performance. It was a really powerful series of dances and songs tied together by the story of one of our own students here and his journey to get to UWC. I have attached a link to his story, however it is in Italian so you may have to use an online translator. It makes me feel so guilty for ever complaining about how many hours my trip took to get here and how tired I was from not being able to sleep on the plane – this was nothing. I was crying at the opening performance because of how moving his story was and comparing it to my own. This also instilled in me the importance of humanitarian work.
Then from Saturday morning to Monday evening I was in Verona, on a trip with some of my friends for the long weekend. While it was relaxing, we also managed to do a lot – visiting the house and balcony of Juliet (from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), to climbing an insane number of steps up a tower to get a view as we did not want to pay for the elevator, visiting the huge arena in the main piazza and an old Roman amphitheater/museum. We also visited a few churches and I went to go see a temporary Picasso exhibition at another museum. I think my favourite thing that I did in Verona was seeing Picasso’s works. I found some of his works beautiful – some disturbing – and I really needed just a few hours to myself for some personal contemplation after the week that I had. I found it very difficult to leave as for some reason it was impossible to stop looking at the paintings, they were really really captivating and I think this is the first time I have really felt this with art to such an extent.
Today (Tuesday) is the last day of our long weekend and I am going to finish up some homework, clean my room, sleep and relax before classes begin to pick up as we near the end of first term in just six short weeks!