The United World Challenge is raising money for scholarships to attend UWCs. Attending a UWC can change the course of a life. We’re presenting a series; Alumni in the Spotlight – to show the transformative effect a globally focused education can have.
What made you want to go to UWC in the first place?
I grew up in a home where public radio was always on and books were everywhere and I really loved learning. In high school my mom told me I should check out Pearson College as friends of ours were also applying and I remember sitting in our computer lab at school looking through the websites of IB schools around the world and thinking “I could do that”. I didn’t have a passport but it just seemed like the right thing to do for me.
Was there anything that you got out of your experience at UWC that you didn’t expect to?
I did not expect to confront myself, my anger, my strength and my beauty, to the extent that I did. My time in the UWC community held a powerful mirror up to all of that and I am grateful for it.
How do you think your life would be different if you didn’t go to UWC?
I grew up in a working class family who experienced housing insecurity and other challenges. UWC opened up a literal world of opportunity I would not have had otherwise. From completing an IB diploma, to training as an ESL teacher, to developing community legal education in Cambodia, to accessing a funded opportunity to attend college in the US, every major development in my work and learning life since attending UWCSEA can be traced back to that initial chance to attend a UWC.
More generally, had I not gone to UWC, I would not have so quickly developed the global perspective that informs my approach now, nor have been pushed to ground that perspective in efforts that have local impact in the way UWC pushed us to do.
What’s your job/vocation/career?
I am currently the Executive Director of Community Micro Lending, a non-profit society offering financial literacy and business training to communities facing barriers to economic independence. I just ran (and won) a municipal election campaign in B.C, Canada. I also produce a youth spoken word festival and coordinate a poets in schools program. Before this I was the Executive Director to the leader of the Green Party of Canada.
What advice would you give to your pre-UWC self?
You have no idea what you’re getting into, you will be your biggest challenge, but this will be the best thing you ever said yes to.
What does the UWC Challenge mean to you?
Its Terrence’s way of using the skills, capacity and courage he has to raise awareness of, and funds for, a life changing opportunity. (Just don’t die, Tez.)