by Ibtesham Hossain, United World College Maastricht
1 February, 2022
Illustration by Thalia Lembong
At UWCM, early birds that we are, the day begins at the crack of dawn. In every room, the curtains are drawn back and windows are swung open allowing the blend of refreshing air and morning glow to enter. Four roommates stand side-by-side in the radiance with one hand on the heart and the other clasping the windowsill, we proceed to earnestly chant our mission statement: “UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. This message is without a doubt believed firmly and absolutely by every member of the community – we are all devotees of Kurt Hahn, after all.
At UWCM, breakfast starts at 7:30 AM. After completing our quotidian ritual, we proceed towards Mensa, the backbone of our community life. This is the setting for all our meals. Patiently, we wait in line for our food. There is no butting, barging, or budging; nor do we ever jump the queue. Queue jumping is heavily frowned upon, with fierce and stern consequences such as ‘gating’ for whoever accommodates such behaviour.
Mensa ceaselessly delivers nourishing and nutritious meals for us here at school. It energises us residentials, launching us, enthusiastic and ever-prepared, into our most vital portion of the day: school.
At UWCM, one glance inside the school building and you will be enthralled by the sheer number of races and ethnicities represented. It is almost too much for the eye to behold. The classrooms are the pinnacle of diversity and unity. The school lives up to all the expectations of having a heterogenous bunch of pupils. Unlike most fancy European Schools, UWCM does not have an overwhelming number of Caucasian students. In fact, what is race? We do not see color. Classism? Elitism? Never heard of it. We are a unified and integrated community, as the name suggests.
It’s not like there are an inordinate number of white faces leading every meeting or event. All group discussions have equal participation from all races, classes, and religions in the community. Ordinary high schools can only dream of achieving this kind of parity. Here at UWCM, under the guidance of our very active and engaged principal, the non-existence of bigotry and prejudice is what truly sets us apart from any ordinary school. This is an absolute safe haven, where people of colour are spared from racial slurs and taunts. Comments telling us to go back to where we came from are very minimal, and uttered only as throwaway statements.