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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

A journey that has only just begun

The vibrant, multi-faceted experience that is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of UWC

Update : 04 Feb 2024, 03:40 PM

Hope became reality after a whole year of arduous labour, sweat, and tears went into the preparations. A goal for many, but unattainable for others, is the United World College. 

UWC uses education as a tool to bring people, cultures, and nations together irrespective of their nationality or ethnicity, for peace and a sustainable future that improves the quality of life on Earth. This is a place where one may live out their dreams, seize opportunities, experience life, and reinvent themselves -- it is more than just a college. 

The day of the results, I was waiting impatiently with my family in front of the device when UWC Bangladesh sent out the "beep" alert that made us all shiver in anticipation. The time had finally come for me to receive the answers to my dreams, so I took a big breath and opened the email. 

Without reading any further, we erupted in joy when we saw the words "Congratulations Shreya Majumder" at the top. I got accepted into The UWC Atlantic college, situated in Wales, UK. Given that my older brother also received a diploma from Atlantic College, we were quite surprised by this. 

It took me time to organize and prepare for the farewell I had to say to my friends and family. Even though it was one of the saddest days I had ever had, something kept me going strong as I embarked on a new adventure to accomplish something greater in life. The image of my parents waving back at me with teary eyes melted my heart.

After saying goodbye to my brother and meeting up with some of my college-mates (now friends) at Heathrow International Airport in London, I was alone and away from my family for the first time. All the students were impatient as we traveled by bus to Wales since our excitement and expectation was rising by the second. We all searched for tidbits of information online, but eventually arrived at the location we had heard so much about. 

It was strange stepping onto campus. The breeze caressed my face as it welcomed me to my home for the next two years. Our second years greeted us with enthusiasm. Feeling alone and simultaneously meeting hundreds of individuals from other nations on my first day was surreal. My professors, housemates, and others helped me feel at home with their kind embraces and thoughtful actions. My journey with UWC AC started there. 

The college itself was breathtaking. St Donat's Castle, a 12th-century fortification that houses UWC Atlantic, is located close to the village of Llantwit Major on the South Wales coast and offers views of the Bristol Channel. The college's natural beauty is enhanced and elevated by the castle and the sea vista.

So far, I’ve experienced a wide range of feelings over the first term. On some days, I was overcome with happiness; on others, I missed my family and friends excessively; and on most days, I had to overcome small obstacles. Nevertheless, each day in college has taught me something new. Even if it's only something small, it's helped shape me into the best version of myself. I have so many options here to improve my academic, non-academic, and even physical aspects. 

I've been exposed to a lot of new activities, and ever since, my curiosity in them has grown. I learned the joy of building things every day and using my imagination with clay, even though I was new to the world of ceramics. I had always wanted to get better at the guitar, and now I have booked an appointment with a fantastic professional musician here at AC. I have signed up for the senior IT service as an extracurricular activity. Seniors from the surrounding community attend the college as guests to hone their tech skills. Through this program, I have cultivated new relationships with the elderly and have improved my online expertise while teaching them. We had our inaugural "Mizu Conference" during the first term, where students from the African continent shared their cultures with us through presentations, workshops, and performances. 

Throughout the weeks at the college, there were events including Christmas supper, Christmas fayre, Atlantic Olympics, concerts, parties, and much more. Students had plenty of opportunity to engage in things other than academics because the atmosphere was always vibrant, interesting, and enjoyable. The location, the people, and the possibilities are all once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and I strive to make full use of them. 

Shreya Rabb Majumder is studying at UWC Atlantic College, Wales, UK.

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