Written by Alina (Class of 2018, Singapore)
For our second New Faces feature, we are excited to present Brunella (Class of 2020, Peru)! Prior to attending UWC ISAK Japan, Brunella spent her whole life in Lima, Peru, rarely travelling far from home. Despite having attended a Peruvian boarding school, living in Karuizawa is a far cry from familiarity for her. Nevertheless, she has dived headfirst into the plethora of the activities on offer at UWC ISAK, engaging in everything from Debate to Spanish Club, as well as an environmentally-focused CAS project. While she believes that accepting a place as “home” is a gradual process, the UWC ISAK community is slowly but surely growing into just that.
Back in Peru, it was difficult for me to find a program or curriculum that truly resonated with me – in many cases, I felt that my impact was nothing more than superficial. When I was considering UWC, however, I strongly believed that this organisation had genuine meaning, and it was a place where I could make a real mark on the community I was in. The Peruvian NC application is competitive, but I decided to try for it anyway; I felt that this was an opportunity I could not miss.
What are some highlights of your experience so far?
In such a short time, I have had so many amazing and varied experiences here at UWC ISAK Japan that it isn’t easy to narrow “highlights” down to a few. I have definitely been enjoying the classes I am taking. I switched to IB Film mid-semester as it was a great opportunity to study such a unique subject. That was one of the best decisions I have made, as I enjoy the course immensely. Of course, it involves a lot of hard work, but those late nights working on film become worth it when you complete a piece that you can genuinely be proud of.
Besides that, my teachers so far have been amazing; they are truly inspirational people, motivating me to push myself and making my academic journey far more enriching than good grades alone could. I have learned not just to absorb knowledge, but to seek it and have a real passion for learning.
I have also become quite involved in several clubs, some familiar and some completely new to me. Having brought with me a passion for writing and journalism, joining the school publication, Catalysm, felt natural to me. I am always excited to work with the passionate and talented team, and like how the publication brings together the community and gives people a platform to share their creativity.
What is an issue that you care about?
There are so many pertinent issues around the world, but after reading the IPCC Climate Change report, I strongly believe that there is not enough urgency surrounding this extremely critical issue. The CAS project I am involved in has been a way for me to contribute in raising awareness and enacting real change in the UWC ISAK community that will hopefully ripple out beyond our campus. We aim to incentivise the community to reduce energy wastage in their houses by offering rewards such as house funding for reaching energy conservation goals. Our group comes from varied backgrounds, but we are united in the same goal of doing our part to save the environment. To me, this is also the beauty of UWC: we may all have wildly different backstories, but we are a community of thinkers and doers with a common vision who can work together to make a real difference.
What do you see yourself doing after UWC?
I am not sure on the specifics, although I do know that I would like it to involve writing – perhaps journalism – or technology. I am really liking my IB Computer Science course, and Catalysm is one of my favourite activities here, so being able to continue pursuing those areas of interest would be great. I am, however, open to exploring other fields. I definitely want to attend university, but am not sure where yet. I have been thinking about returning to Peru, as I don’t want to lose connection with my home country, but only time will tell where I end up.
How do you believe the alumni can build relationships within the UWC ISAK community?
Alumni are such a valuable resource to us current students as they have all been through a similar experience to us, and are able to relate to what we are going through. It would be amazing if they could visit UWC ISAK and talk about their experiences here, or communicate with us during special days such as UWC Day. Having an online platform connecting current students and alumni would also enable us to engage with them and truly make use of the extended community. Overall, I would love to be able to know our alumni better, as they are just as much a part of the community now as they were when they were studying here.