Maud Leeflang - UWC Thailand
Previous school: Barlaeus Gymnasium
Place of residence: Amsterdam
Selected by the Dutch National Committee
When I lived in Moscow I wasn't truly aware of the privileges I had in comparison to the people around me. I went to a guarded school, lived in a compound and had (and still have) an amazing family. It was only when I grew older and moved to Amsterdam that I realised that people in Moscow were living a very different life than I had. They had to deal with hardship and danger every day. There are a few people in Russia who are very wealthy and have a luxury lifestyle, however the majority of people live cramped in apartments and can barely provide for their families. At the same time in the western media there is not much attention to this inequality, as they are focussing on the political tensions between Russia and the West.
Recently I helped in a project for SOS kinderdorpen (a charity which supports children in vulnerable situations) and helped to develop an app that brings children from different backgrounds in contact with each other. This raises awareness amongst western children of the challenging environments for children in the developing world. And the other way around, it shows all children share the same adolescent problems and joys. For the first time I really felt that with a small effort you can make an impact. This gave me a lot of energy and inspiration and is one of the reasons why I applied to UWC.
At school I really enjoy history, because very often history is related to current political affairs or global developments. We often discuss history in a broader context and talk about how historic events still have impact on current affairs. However I am missing these broader contexts in other subjects and in conversations with my friends. That is the other reason why I am excited to join the UWC community in order to talk about these issues together and try to make an impact.