A snapshot of yarn-bombing CAS at UWC Mostar.
At UWC Mostar, the co-curricular program is more than simply counting CAS hours: it forms the center of a student’s experience, structuring the rhythms of the week, bringing students out of their minds for a bit: into the space of creation, into the body of action, and into the engagement with others. All students are required to write a set of “CAS reflections” over their two years, so we’ve selected a few below to give you a more personal sense of the lived experience of the co-curricular program in Mostar.
Creativity encompasses a whole range of activities, from choir to astronomy. Creativity activities are important to explore thinking, or to engage students intellectually in various discussion groups or clubs, such as Model United Nations, where students can explore global leadership roles. There are, of course, creativity activities whose purpose is to create: International Cooking and Visual Arts are an example.
Creativity activities help students to immerse their minds in different settings and provide them a relief from their very demanding academic life.
By now, little shocked me due to the extreme and diverse range of films screened during this CAS. I think that that’s testament to the way in which cinema can enculture and develop the way in which individuals see personal issues. I say this as we watch Lars Von Trier’s Breaking the Waves (1996) which prompted me to question the compatibility of religion and mental illness. I can say that I feel like a much more aware and secure person and I don’t regret joining this CAS.
My dreams came true finally. I watched through a telescope. We observed night sky, or more precisely, stars. When I was young I was always imagining observing stars close as much as possible. Though I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed, because I thought that we can see the actual structure of astronomical objects. I know it is kind of impossible with a telescope, but I had a broad imagination. However, it was astonishing to apply the knowledge which we have learned through all sessions so far. Finding Polaris, Big Bear and Small Bear, was so exciting. I will definitely remember this session.
I'm not sure if this would be the last opportunity to write a reflection, but if it is, here it goes. For the 2000s session my band now only consists of a drummer, guitarist and singer. We got the song "Fell in love with a girl" from the White Stripes. On our first session, I realized how much I miss the bassist, so I had a bit trouble from time to time, but the song was quite easy, so there weren't too many problems. After that we started with the obligatory original song, and then I realized that my typical way of writing songs, which I still had from my former (Non Rock-school) band, was not suitable without bass, so I am currently trying to make a bassless song, which is a first for me. I'm really excited about how it will sound like, and the other member's suggestions are really helping. As long as everybody is consistent with appearing on the rehearsals, It will be a good gig.
We started prepping for a new choreography before the winter arts festival because the modern dance CAS was supposed to hold one performance. We sat and brainstormed a little bit about what we wanted to do. Carme, our CAS leader, was suggesting a dance that goes through our processes in life from birth until death. She explained the idea visually; I thought it was quite a hard concept to put in a dance. Everybody has such different experiences in life.
She tried to section it like this:
Interpreting this story into dance really developed my dancing and performance skills as we had to act out in movements, in facial expression, in dance. It was really challenging but very beautiful.
Today we met in the Physics Lab to discuss the planning of our annual Physics Fair. The Physics fair is an event in which we invite students from local schools (who are more or less our age) to spend some hours with us. We divide the students in small groups and with a rotation system we make every group attend a series of presentations in Modern Physics and workshops. I think that it is a very good initiative, because it allows us to get in touch with peers from the local community who have a strong interest in Physics.
I am very proud of this event, because I know that it is a very nice opportunity for local students, who don’t have our same advanced equipment for performing experiments. Also, we try to give workshops in topics that they probably did not hear much about because they are not taught in high school. In moments like the Physics fair I really feel that our CAS has a mission and that with our work we can help less privileged students: it is a great way to put the UWC values into practice.
The planning meeting was very good. One of the main challenges of the Physics fair is that it requires everybody to cooperate in order to make it work: people organizing a certain activity are very free to choose their topic and style of presentation. From my side, I am the official organizer, so I have to keep an eye on everything that is going on, but at the same time I am also a speaker, so I have to find time to focus on my own presentation. I am directing a group of over thirty people, including students and staff, and this is a big responsibility. It is a great opportunity to improve my leadership skills and it is making me understand better what are my qualities as an organizer and what are the things that I should improve. Overall, I am very happy of the team that we have and I feel that people are very motivated and enthusiastic. This planning meeting was a real success.
Overall, the past 2 years of PVGT have contributed a lot to my general knowledge, but most of all gave me more confidence presenting my opinions in public. I realised how important it is to listen to people before shouting out opinions. Also the fact that I got to listen to people from many different backgrounds increased my spectrum of the world. I know how some political situations are dealt with in different countries and how some cultures deal with their government. Without being in this CAS, I would not have been able to realise all these things, as some topics are relatively sensitive to some people. The fact that PVGT was such an open space for any opinion, made people willing to share things they would normally maybe not share. I’m grateful for that.