Before and during my time at UWC Red Cross Nordic I was told that I and the other UWC students would be the leaders of tomorrow. I had always thought that I would be under pressure to be the next president of my home country Latvia, or have to find a medicine to cure cancer. However, during my journey at the Nordic College I learned what it meant to truly be a leader of tomorrow.

One of my closest friends at UWC was Thupten from Tibet. A quote he always had on his desk said, “The planet does not need more ‘successful people’. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. It needs people to live well in their places”. This is what my UWC story is about.

I came to Norway as a girl who wanted to help change the problems of the world, but I left as a young woman who was desperately interested in the world and had a huge enjoyment of being alive. I remember the night when my friend and I went to sleep at the top of the mountain. We fell asleep at sunset and we woke up at sunrise, and I could smell the fresh cold air and at that moment I knew – I choose to love and live this life for real.

After my graduation I moved to the USA to study at University. During the first weeks I began to talk to people who at first seemed very intimidating, but at UWC I had learned to celebrate the differences amongst people and appreciate the importance of getting to know people for who they are and not for who I think they are. And now I am good friends with many of them, and indeed they are the way I expected them to be. I strongly believe that my UWC story will never end, because the things I learned there follow me every day. As I reflect more every day, I learn more. Isn’t that an exciting life to live?

Elizabete is currently studying at Macalester College in the US.

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