Monday, November 19, 2012

Resources for organising Short Courses / UWC Extranet

Dear SC participants, and everyone else who is interested,

We as the team believe that this course was a great success and showed that UWC Short Courses have the potential to spread the values of the movement further - and honestly, they aren't that hard to organise. In order to support anyone who is interested in taking one forward, we have put together some resources from this course and the UWC Short Course "Shaping Society!" that some of us organised in Germany in 2009.

You can find those resources on the UWC Extranet: The Extranet is a webforum for the UWC community - if you have attended a college or a short programme, you can sign up for it (just follow the link and either sign in or sign up) - it's not yet the most active platform, but should become a more and more interesting tool to stay in touch with people and with the UWC movement.

If you are not a UWC alumnus (or don't like the Extranet), drop me an email ( and I will send you a link that lets you access the files without further protection. You can also email me if you have any questions/requests with regard to organising UWC Short Courses.

Let's take this forward, and allow more young people to "experience UWC in a nutshell" as one of the participants in Germany put it, and gain the motivation and skills to change their world for the better.

All the best,


Friday, October 5, 2012

Reflection Time :)

UWC Short Course-Together for Development and I 

“It was one of the best times I’ve ever had so far” I say when I remember the UWC Short Course. It was a whole different experience for me; I’ve learnt many things about everything. When I found out it was in Swaziland, I was very thrilled to get involved. I knew it was very distant from Turkey, but still I wanted to go and explore Africa. I was also familiar to UWC from my friends who had gone to the short course in Germany, with their acquaintance we had an opportunity to get into the Together for Development Team. 

I’m in a club in my school which is called NICS(National International Community Service) with that club I have done four projects so far. Three of them were with European Youth Programme – Youth in Action. The other one was with the contacts we had from all over the world and UWC short course in Germany.  I took part in as a group leader in one of the projects.  Apart from that, it was my first time as a participant, with that experience I had a chance to empathy the participatory feeling and logic; according to what I’ve found out we started to make schedules and programmes in our project more carefully. We took lessons about Individual Projects; these lessons with the facilitators really helped us learn how to manage a project, pitching, advertising for funding etc. I used what I’ve learnt in my project club to make our project more sufficient.

As Together for Development, I can truly say I learned many things about development theories, economy, health HIV, environment, politics, Swaziland culture and more. I had a chance to feel Africa and see how the things work with my own eyes. At first, I was very anxious about travelling to Swaziland with just my girlfriend by ourselves, because it was a long journey from Turkey to Swaziland, South Africa. After we landed I couldn’t believe myself that I was there and the dream was actually coming true. I was very excited and ready to explore. The best part of the project was the community service part; I was in Team Malolotja and it was the coolest place and adventure I’ve ever been to. Also those friends are my best friends in the project; we had a great chance to get to know each other more.

I think the short course really boost my confidence with the activities and presentations. I gained so much from it and I will use them in my entire life. I really would like to thank the facilitators who had worked so hard for the short course, my school administrator who gave us this opportunity and all my UWC friends who made the short course unforgettable. Hope to see you again.

Personal Reflections on Swaziland's UWC Short Course

One of the major ways that the short course has affected my life is the realisation that people learn more in a relaxed atmosphere; where one can probe into serious matters while having something to eat—an apple or a biscuit, or whatever—and not be labelled as being playful and not giving such matters the seriousness they deserve. I must have learnt so much during the short course than what I learnt in an hour-lecture jam-packed with note-scribbling and zero-questions from the audience during my undergraduate days. The manner in which the short course was structured validated the English saying that; “All work and no play made Johnny a dull boy.”
   On another note, the short course emphasised the fact that there are as many ways to live as there are humans on the planet. We may not like it but that is how it is. Now, directly relating this point to the theme of the course—development—one would say it became clear that there are many ways to go about implementing it. Yet regardless of that, the people for whom the development is meant must be involved in every step of the way. Sky-scrappers and other forms of modern architectural innovations do not necessarily mean a life altered for the better for the ordinary man, especially in the so-called Third World where I happen to live. The simplest solutions i.e. potable water and medical services in close proximity, mean a lot more to the rural folk than tall buildings in towns, which if I may add,  they may never see the inside of. In essence, the short course has helped me to view this animal called “development” as simply a process of building sustainable lifestyles with the people.
   What also struck me during the course and will undoubtedly stay with me for the rest of my life is the diversity of the people who are interested or work in the field of development. I found out that some are just curious. Like a crawling child exploring their newly-found environment, they are fascinated and want to know how it’s like living out there, in conditions of squalor and poverty (forgive me for not explaining these terms). The other type of people in development is those who want to be seen as “saviours”, the foregoing label, I reckon, serving to ease their consciences. This type is aloof and condescending in their manner in engaging the subjects of development. They are trying to help yet the unconsciously shut out other development ideas they do not understand. The last type is the one of genuine people who have the intention to learn not necessarily teaching the people they deal with how to live. They balance their views with the situation; they engage the people and together, they find lasting solutions. This last part sounds very idealistic but that should at least be the approach towards all development efforts.
   Lastly, the short course reminded me that tensions (i.e. racism) and serious disagreements will always arise where people (especially of multi-cultural, social and religious backgrounds) are gathered, irrespective of their supposed like-mindedness and sense of common purpose. Yet that is not a problem, than the solutions we undertake to rectify the shortcomings that pop up.

               Mark Mngomezulu

Sunday, September 30, 2012

swaziland reflection! dedicated to roku

Last December/January 2011/2012, I had the pleasure and privilege of travelling to Swaziland to participate in the United World College Short Course “Together for Development.” When I was informed by Pearson College that a Short Course was happening in Swaziland, I was extremely excited as I had actually wanted to travel there for the past few years and was eager to participate in a United World College program. For the months leading up to my departure, I was anxious and looking forward to meeting such a wide range of students from all over the planet and talking about the broad and weighted term “development.” When I arrived at the college, it was incredible and a bit surreal to meet all the people who I had been talking to over Facebook before the course and get to know each other face-to-face.
At the Short Course, there were around fifty participants (not including the awesome facilitators) from around the world all there for the same reasons – to talk about development, be immersed in other cultures, and connect/network with those around them. The whole idea of being surrounded by “like-minded” people being such an enriching and empowering experience definitely applied there, but of course with our “like-mindedness” regarding an interest in humanity and development came a multitude of perspectives and ideas about those topics. Hearing other student’s viewpoints and backgrounds challenged me to try to keep an open mind and consider not only the perspectives of other Canadians, as I often focused on before, but the perspectives of citizens everywhere pertaining to global development issues. The chance to embrace other people and their knowledge/backgrounds in a diplomatic and respectful environment is an opportunity that UWC provides students with, and it has been invaluable for all of us.
My group project work was in Bulembu, a small northwestern Swazi community where hundreds of child orphans live and grow up in homes and orphanages run by several organizations. Visiting Bulembu was an emotional experience for me as my close family friends adopted a baby boy from there three years ago. I even talked to several children who remember him and recall when he left for Canada, an important time for them. Seeing where he was born and spent the first ten months of his life was so powerful and means I can answer questions and show him pictures until he is old enough to visit there himself. It was also interesting getting to see firsthand how an organization runs their programs, the philosophies they have, and how the kids feel living in a place like Bulembu. Of course, as with all organizations, there were aspects which I admired and thought were successful like their efforts to become sustainable and their housing program (where children lived with a “mother” and five other kids), as well as parts which I struggled to accept such as the religious nature of the programs. Although I know Swaziland is a largely Protestant/Zionist/Catholic country, that aspect of religion really struck a chord with me as well as many of the other participants in my group. It was definitely a learning curve for me and a lesson for if I ever start or dedicate myself to an organization, as I believe it is important for me to agree with the fundamental aspects and goals of a group before giving my support. I am grateful for my times in Bulembu, particularly having the opportunity to speak to the kids who had been a part of the orphanage program since they were babies. Their strength and optimism was apparent and inspiring, and gave us all a lot of insight into how their life is there. It was awesome coming back to Waterford Kamhlaba and hearing the other groups’ stories from their projects – we all were able to benefit from the wide range of volunteer activities.
I am so grateful for the opportunities the Short Course has opened up for me even after returning from Swaziland. In August I took a three week trip to Argentina/Uruguay to visit three members from the Short Course and had an absolutely incredible time learning about their culture and the rich history of Argentina. Having friends there made me feel safe and comfortable and allowed me to experience the country both through tourism and staying with them, learning their habits and routines. (I don’t know if I could ever adjust to the late night dinners and even later discos, sorry Cani, Juan, and Emi!) They were happy to answer my hundreds of questions and made excellent hosts who I knew I could trust and rely on. Now I am planning my next trip in the spring likely to visit Europe, and I intend to visit many of the other members from the Short Course and learn more about their communities and countries as well. 
This year attending my first year of post-secondary school, I am realizing more and more how much the Short Course impacted me. It is incredible to sit in my cultural anthropology lecture and understand concepts that before UWC were unclear to me such as the term “cultural relativism” or the history and facts about the spread of HIV/Aids in the world. Having insight into topics such as these from skilled, knowledgeable people has been extremely beneficial for me and made me more confident in a university setting. My time at Waterford Kamhlaba has also forced me to think critically every day about development in all its connotations and challenges me to analyze global and local issues in a more objective and critical way.
I can’t believe it was about nine months since I arrived home, as I still hold my experience in Swaziland close to my heart and all the things I learned are so relevant every day. The connections we have all made will continue to benefit us for years to come and I would definitely recommend anyone interested to participate in a Short Course!
Finally, I want to share the video that my high school grad class created. It is a fairly new school tradition for the grad class to create a project that leaves a lasting impact on the school, community, and/or world. Our town has been affected by several teen suicides over the past few years, and my grad class sadly lost two of our well-loved and long-term friends to suicide. We made this video as an attempt to help the students and families in our community cope with the recent suicides, as well as provide new students at our school with a “handbook” for how to survive, and even thrive in a sometimes stressful and intimidating high school setting. High school can be an extremely challenging time for students and depression is an often unspoken but prevalent issue. This video is meant to encourage people to reach out and ask for help when they need it – as well as offer a helping hand or shoulder to lean on for others who may be struggling. A lot of hard work fundraising and organizing went into the project, but so far the response has been positive and overwhelming J

-          Charlotte (British Columbia, Canada)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Imane sings "Your Body is a Wonderland"

Imane and the band do their rendition of John Mayor at the UWC Short Course Together for Development.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Forwarded from Suzy, this is the invitation for WYSE 2012 NTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAMME

Are you passionate about making a positive difference in the world and aged 18-35?

The WYSE's flagship International Leadership Programme takes place this summer, from 29 July - 09 August 2012, at the beautiful Villa Boccella, near Lucca, Italy.

WYSE’s world renowned International Leadership Programme provides a unique and inspirational opportunity to:
  • Develop your leadership potential through team projects, personal reflection, physical activities, deep discussion and the arts.
  • Explore the underlying causes of global problems, and develop a social entrepreneurial approach.
  • Identify your values and guiding principles in order to gain a clearer sense of balance, purpose and life direction.
  • Develop an international network of friends and peers who wish to collaborate and make a positive difference.
  • Increase your understanding of the influence of and relationship between individuals, local NGOs and international organisations such as the United Nations.  

WYSE International is a global charity that supports young people with vision and awareness, who care about what's happening in the world, and want to do what they can to make a positive difference. We promote visionary leadership capable of responding to evolving world needs such as peace, human rights, democracy and sustainability.

For more information programme flyer.
You can also take a look at the International Leadership Programme page (in the Programmes section) of our website

Sunday, March 11, 2012

swaziland and since i've been home

Lately I've really been reminiscing about my entire trip to Swaziland and meeting all the incredible students from around the world who came to Waterford with bright ideas and open minds. Obviously when I got home I missed everyone a bunch and I had EXTREME reverse culture shock but with a bunch of tests and an exam a few days after I arrived I couldn't even look back. Amongst all the craziness of school and work and life I honestly didn't have much personal reflection time or even a moment to take it all in. Everyone was asking me all the classic questions: "Can you tell me everything?!," "What was the best part?" "Did it change your life?" etc. The list goes on. I always laugh at those - you really want me to some up the last month of my life for you and start weighing each experience on a value scale? Needless to say, I still haven't told my friends or family all that much about my trip, which is really weird. It's not even that I don't want to or that there's anything particularly painful to talk about - I just don't know where to start! I randomly share experiences when I feel comfortable doing so but for now it's all still internalizing. It was a truly incredible time and I am grateful to have met everyone and learned everything that we did.

With regards to my community project, it was sort of funny: I came home, and there was already a peer mentoring program being put in place by a few teachers in the school who didn't know about our potential project. I was sort of relieved to find that out because I have several other projects on the go right now that are related to the same issues. As a background story, my small town has suffered from huge losses in the past few years due to teen suicides. We have lost 5 students in the past 3 years and it has been extremely difficult on our entire town for people of all ages. My graduating class alone has lost 2 of our friends which has been devastating. As a grad class we want to ensure that suicide does not affect the other students in our school and community as it has us and many others. We want to remember the students respectfully, raising awareness about clinical depression/depression in a way that honours their lives and also is in a positive way that uplifts our youth and makes us all feel more united and positive about life. We've decided to make a short video about how beautiful life is and how special our town and its youth are. I'll let you guys know when the video is completed and post a link for you to see.

Sending so much love and positive energy to all of you scattered around the world.

Charlotte (British Columbia, Canada)