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Who am I? I consider identity not only to be based on your nationality, ethnicity or culture but more so the way you look at yourself and your relationship to the world. My mum is Swiss/German with some Portuguese and Angolan background, while my dad is a “true blue” Australian farmer. I was born and raised in outback Australia. In 2009, when I was eight, my family moved to Switzerland to live in a small village in the Alps near. We stayed there for six years, during which I completed my entire primary schooling in German, in a small school in our village of 200 people. Since 2015, I have lived in four different countries on three continents. I am now immersed in the Norwegian culture and language and really enjoying making Norwegian friends at my school in Gol.Because of my upbringing, I feel I have more of a global perspective than most people I meet. I have experienced the diversities of humanity and have become adaptable to different people, cultures and situations. I am flexible and spontaneous, as is most of my family. I have traveled to many developing or “third world” countries. We have vacationed in a cotton-growing village in Tajikistan, traveled to a pigmy village in Cameroon, and taken trips to Israel, Jordan and many other places. Through all these travels I have learned much from other cultures and applied them to my life. As a result, I prefer living in an area where there is diversity rather than homogeneity. The flipside is that even though I consider myself Australian, I don’t feel I “belong” to any particular culture. (Why do I want to attend UWC?) Attending UWC would be a huge opportunity for me, and I believe I am the right type of student to thrive in the UWC environment. I am creative, artistic and relish learning new things. I love adventures, taking risks and having fun. I believe one of my greatest characteristics is my energetic yet easy-going nature. Because of my upbringing, I am definitely willing to push past my fears and comforts to see where I can get. I am eager to get involved with the social services and community projects that UWC offers. I love working with people and want to make use of the experience and knowledge I have gained while working with many nonprofit organizations. Since coming to Norway I have often visited the local asylum-seekers home where we live. While my family lived in Hawaii I volunteered regularly at the local Salvation Army service center. I also helped out once a week at a primary school for special-needs students for Hawaiian locals and Marshallese Island kids.Although living in so many places has given me an invaluable “global” perspective, it has also presented some challenges, as I have repeatedly had to learn how to start again in a new place. I am excited to have stability and structure that the two-year IB course (in English) will provide at UWC. I believe this will help me focus more on my academics–which has been challenging amid all the moves in my life–and to achieve my goal of getting into the university of my choice. I am a fast and efficient learner, as was evident when I tested in the top 5 percent of students in my Canton on the Swiss national test. Those results allowed me to get into the top high school. (Admittedly, my current grades do not match these results, yet much of that is a result of my struggling to learn Norwegian in the past five months, as well as the overall lack of solid schooling since I left Switzerland).When I first heard about UWC, I was immediately drawn to its intercultural environment, particularly in the context of students not only studying together but also “doing life” together. I am ready to take up the challenge of UWC’s academic standard. The amazing asses the alumni program, cultural exchange, challenging IB curriculum, community service and potential extracurricular activities. I am inspired by the United World Colleges belief that anyone, anywhere has the opportunity to change the world and become ‘agents of positive change and (to) create a more peaceful and sustainable future’–and that includes me. How thrilling to think that my education could potentially affect not only me but potentially the world! That is what I call a higher education, and it is what I hope to be part of at UWC.

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I'm Ethel!

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