I have received a Davis Scholarship to spend two years in India attending Mahindra United World College India, or MUWCI. (As one of my second years lovingly described it, this acronym is pronounced like “pukey.”) United World College (UWC) is an organization comprised of 16 international schools in 15 countries around the world. To give you just a taste of what they’re about, their mission statement is, “UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.”
Each year, there are 50 scholarships available for American students to attend UWCs, and I am so fortunate to have been chosen as one of this year’s Davis Scholars. So, in two weeks I will be leaving Los Alamos for my new school near Pune, Mahrashtra. You can follow my adventures on this blog.
Here are some questions you’re probably wishing you could ask me right now:
-How did you hear about this program?
My dad has a friend who used to work at UWC-USA, which is in Las Vegas, NM. When I was there for a track meet several years ago, my dad took me to visit the school. I fell in love with the idea of UWC right away and have dreamed about going ever since.
Because I’m going on a scholarship, I was actually assigned a school rather than getting to choose. But I was extremely lucky because I was assigned my first choice! I want to go somewhere that is very different culturally, as India certainly is. Not to mention the food and the clothing…both of which factored into my preferences more than most people are willing to believe.
-So, you’re going to miss your senior year?
Yes, I’ll actually be spending two years in India-my “senior” year and one additional year. I will be working towards the International Baccalaureate Diploma and will graduate from MUWCI.
-Are your parents ok with this?
Believe it or not, I think they are. My parents spent a few months living in India and had a wonderful experience. They’ve been extremely supportive, and though they’ll miss me, they’re also very excited. Plus, I’m giving them a great excuse to come visit!
-Are you afraid?
Usually when people ask this questions they expect me to answer with something about illness, snakes, homesickness, etc. To be honest, these don’t scare me, although I expect I will have to face them at times. The one thing I’m a little worried about is being somewhat overwhelmed. But mostly I’m excited for the experience and eager to be challenged!
-Do you know Indian?
First of all, “Indian” isn’t a language, so you’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard this. There are more than 20 different languages spoken in India, although the most widespread are Hindi and English. I was fortunate enough this summer to be able to take an online beginning Hindi course through STARTALK. I would highly recommend STARTALK to anyone interested in language-learning! It’s open to students K through undergraduate, and offers summer programs in a number of languages, including Arabic, Swahili, and Chinese, just to name a few.
-Where is your school exactly?
MUWCI is located in Paud, a small village about 30 km (18 mi) outside of Pune.. Pune is the 9th largest city in India with a population of approximately 3 million. For another reference, Paud’s about 150 km (90 mi) southeast of Mumbai. My campus actually consists of a biodiversity park and a conservation reserve, so I hope I will have a good mix of living in natural beauty while also being near a large city.
-Wow, Katie. How do you know what I’m thinking?
Because I’ve been asked these same questions at least 30 times in the past 6 months. You’re not an original question asker 🙂 And if you’ve tried asking me any of these questions recently, I may have directed you here.
But if you do have more questions, please feel free to comment.