I was always very interested in the idea of the suberb educational experience, the completely absorbed state of mind where time expands and you are fulfilling perhaps the most fundamental human need – the need for growth.
Going to UWCRCN as a student I was attracted to the dream of a social and intellectual flow state in the little utopia on a Norwegian fjord. I’m a psychologist now, recently graduated from University of Copenhagen (and also happily married to a fellow RCN graduate – Thi Qui). I now know that such flow states do not just happen. The physical and social structures must be in place – everything from proper curtains in the cubicles to good food to mental hygiene to the absence of bullying. You cannot start at the top of Maslow’s pyramid of needs. You must get the basics right. I learned that the hard way as a UWC student. It was a great experience coming back as an alumnus and giving a presentation on mental health to staff and students.
I am also a boarding school teacher now. Last August I co-founded a boarding school in southern Denmark with fellow UWC graduates. It’s a one year pre-high school program for 14-16 year olds and is, essentially, everything you ever wanted school to be! We are a bunch of learning geeks and we get to apply all the theory and experiences we have picked up along the way. I think we are creating a little educational utopia there.