End of term…

I’m feeling really bad now, I haven’t touched this thing in ages… I’m sorry 😦 😦 The first term has come to an end, (amazing how quickly time flies) and now I’m in Germany, staying over at Maike’s place for the winter holidays. So here’s a little reflection on what I’ve been doing in school..

ACADEMICS:

English Lit SL: English was quite a fun class. Paul is an amazing teacher and his classes are oftentimes really funny, with him making us solve his word puzzles all the time. We’ve done two books this term: The Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, in which I was very captivated by when I read it the first time (It is a pretty powerful book, you should read it if you can.); and The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, which I took an initial dislike to because it was just so weird and absurd. Usually the main activity we would do in class is discuss the book in great detail, trying to pick it apart and find all the hidden elements of the book. I found this class rather insightful, given that I was not fond of literature classes in the past, as it made me identify and understand things within a piece of writing that I wouldn’t have before.

Spanish Ab initio SL: I went from “no hablo espanol” to “hablo un poco”. Teehee. Nah…not really. Learning languages is definitely not one of my strengths and it takes me a lot of time and effort. My failed Malay and Chinese can account to that. It was very refreshing though, to learn a new language from scratch.

Economics HL: One of the HLs from my weird HL combination. Economics was one of the subjects I took for my AS-levels, so there was a lot of repeated material. However, the way we learned these economic concepts were slightly different, and we were definitely going at a much slower and more comfortable pace than when I did with the AS-levels. There were some interesting classes where we discussed and related economic theories and concepts to real-life situations, looking at different economic policies in different countries. What made it even more interesting was that we had nine students in the class, all from different nationalities, from China, Zimbabwe, the USA, Ukraine, Portugal, Slovakia, Italy, Denmark and Malaysia. #perksofauwc

Some of the people in my Economics class

Chemistry HL: I couldn’t pick one favorite subject if you asked me, but Chemistry would definitely make the list. I guess coming from a more science-ey academic background, I really appreciate and enjoy science and learning new scientific concepts. I look forward to doing more experiments and learning more in the next term. (We’ve had to wait for lab equipment to arrive as they were all stuck in customs…but I’m being an optimist now)

Math SL: Math SL was pretty fun, our teacher is pretty awesome. Though, most of the things we had done were stuff I had already learned in my previous schools, we’ve had some interesting presentations about topics ranging from the Fibonacci sequence to the hidden math in the famous TV series, The Simpsons.

Theatre HL: I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Theatre HL this term. Even before I came to UWC, I’ve was uncertain on whether to take theatre as a class or not. It has been a very challenging term. A lot of first times. A lot of hair-pulling. A lot of yells and screams. But also a lot of hugs. 🙂 It was the first time I had to perform a self-written monologue as another character. It was the first time I had to direct a play. But I think I gained a lot out of it. It was definitely worth it. 🙂

Okay..more to come…but since this post had been rather picture-less, here are two videos:

A video from UWC Dilijan to my sister for her birthday:

The trailer of the play I co-directed:

UWC Day, International Peace Day and Armenian Independence day

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Sunday was a very eventful day. It was a 3-in-1 day, with UWC day, International Peace Day and Armenian Independence day all into one. Most of the activities we had today were all student initiatives and planned by the students.

First we had tree planting in the morning from 11am to 1.30 pm.

Ali (Turkey) and Bakani (Zimbabwe):

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Maike behind the tree 😛

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Then at 3.30pm, the students left campus for a peace walk through town.

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Then we reached a local school at the end of the walk and had a little collaborative show between the students of UWC Dilijan and from the Dilijan Youth Centre:

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The crazy audience

Armenia performance

Students from the local youth centre singing and celebrating Armenia’s 23rd year of independence

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Sona (Armenia) and Thi (Vietnam) singing “Price Tag” by Jessie J

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The show ended with all the students singing “We are the World” 🙂 It was really nice 🙂

After the show, we continued the peace walk back to campus, it was getting dark..but we had candles 🙂

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Trip to Yerevan :)

Today we went to Yerevan 🙂 Yay! It was pretty amazing 🙂

So we took a bus from UWC Dilijan to the Republic Square in Yerevan:

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Then we split into groups of about 4 or 5, walked a little:

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And got to the Cascades, which is a building with a lot of art sculptures and installations. If you climb all the way to the top, you’ll be able to have a bird’s eye view of Yerevan and see Mount Ararat in the distance.

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Some of the art installations:

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The amazing view from above:

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Then we went for lunch in a cafe nearby, the food and the ambience was great

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Ainnie and I, (bathroom selfie 😛 ):

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Kabir, Maike and Lucia:

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Then we took a cab to the Dilma Garden Mall, which was amazing, and such a stark contrast between what we saw on the outside and when we went into the mall:

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The supermarket:

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Overall, it was a great trip. Hopefully we get to go to Yerevan more often, there are still many things we have yet to see.

Photographs and Google translate…

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This week, we have a photographer here to take photos of college life as well as take portraits of the students together with some of the local children and teenagers from the Dilijan Youth Centre, who came to the college to participate in this project, for the opening of the school. It was pretty exciting to have guests again 🙂 Some of the kids and I played with the Photo Booth camera…it was pretty funny, and they found it quite amusing as well. The problem was that I couldn’t speak any Armenian or Russian….”Do you speak Armenian?” they asked, “Che”…..” “Russian???” they asked again, “Nyet….”

So this was how we communicated:

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Yes…The power of Google Translate…I don’t even know if the translation is grammatically correct….but hey, it worked at least 🙂

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Some of the pictures we took:

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YAY Technology!!! 🙂 Heehee They were amazing kids 🙂

 

First day of school

Sorry I haven’t been able to update my blog…school started and so we’re all a little more busy…So here’s an overview of how my day went on the first day of school (Wednesday, 3rd September 2014), the first day of school in the history of UWC Dilijan. 🙂 How exciting! 😛

6.45 am: Wake up

7.15 am: Breakfast

8.15 am: First class in UWC Dilijan…Theatre HL with Sian, Nanditha and Kevin

9.45 am: Tutorial with Elizabeth

10.25 am: Short break

10.45 am: Math SL with Subarna

12.15 pm: Spanish Ab initio with Ana

12.55 pm: Lunch!! 🙂

1.50 pm: Chemistry HL with Dima

2.35 pm: CAS meeting, we discussed ideas for CAS, since we’re the first batch of students, we’re responsible for initiating the CAS activities

3.15 pm: End of school…went to the gym for a while

4.30 pm: Interest meeting for CAS activity – Language clubs, where we discussed about the logistics, goals etc.

5.30 pm: Another interest CAS meeting – Dance club

7.00 pm: Dinner

7.45 pm: Free time/homework…

10.45 pm: Sleep 🙂 

More to come 🙂

 

Going to Dilijan

Went to Dilijan town again today 🙂 Initially, I wanted to go to town just to get my SIM card cut to fit it in my phone. But here’s what we did instead:

The river by the school: 

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Hiking up to see the St. Mary and St. Gregory’s Churches, so beautifully ancient:

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The inscription in Armenian:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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The yummy pizza I had for lunch in a local restaurant: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

After all that, we decided to get our SIM cards done….but the shops were closed….again >.< haha what luck! Oh well, there’s always next time 🙂

Then at night we had a little toon celebration for Kabir’s birthday 🙂 

Ramil (Russia) and Lucia, preparing the candles for the cake:

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From Left: Kabir (India), Alex (Ukraine), Elvin (Panama), Mujahed (Palestine), Ahmed (Egypt), Maria Christina (Venezuela), Half of Victor (Hungary)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A picture of some of our toon members in our last birthday celebration for Atefeh (Picture taken by Atefeh) – From left: Rayan (Sudan), Edita (Armenia, my roommate!), Atefeh (Iran), Jasmine (UK), Lucia (Spain), Michaela (Czech Republic), Alex (Ukraine), Adrian (Our toon parent, from Germany), and me Toon

 

See you 🙂

Of national costumes and new kitchens

Yesterday was quite an eventful day. Particularly memorable as well, as we welcomed UWC Dilijan’s founders – Veronika Zonabend and Ruben Vardanyan to the school in our national costumes and flags. It was pretty exciting, both for us students, as well as the special guests, to be greeted by the huge array of colours and flags. Smiling young people everywhere 😀 

The following pictures are taken from the UWC Dilijan Facebook page…these are not my pictures 🙂

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The guard of honour: 

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Our special guests:

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The flags of the countries represented:

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More pictures:

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Some of the asians:

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The Malaysians: 🙂 (The following picture was taken by Eva Trotta) 

Malaysians 

More pictures…or rather selfies I took:

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With Thi (Vietnam) and my roommate, Mariam (Georgia)

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With Thi, another roommate of mine, Lucia (Spain)

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With Maike (Germany)

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With Javier (Spain)

 

 

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With Mbongiseni (South Africa) 

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AND….GOOD NEWS!! We have a kitchen!! 🙂 YAY!!!! 😀 After eating out of styrofoam boxes with plastic spoons for two weeks, we sure were pleasantly surprised when we saw the kitchen 😀 It was really funny to watch everyone walk in sleepily and suddenly see their mouths drop into a huge O. 😛 

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Morning Tea:

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See you 🙂 

 

 

 

Theory of Knowledge 

Second day of the second week…In the morning, we had discussions in small groups regarding the ways of knowing. Is reason reliable? Is reason a slave to our passions? To what extent do emotions lead us to knowledge? There used to be only four ways of knowing, but last year, the IB added another four. The ways of knowing are as follows:

 
Emotion
Reason
Faith
Imagination
Intuition 
Language
Memory
Sense Perception 
 
Towards the end of the discussion, we were all pretty much mind-blown. All the philosophical questions…how do we know what we know? 
 
We had medicals done today, where we had a dental check-up and they took our medical history plus our height and weight.
 
After lunch, we had a talk about intercultural understanding, which I found pretty interesting. In one of the sections of the talk, we were asked to partner up with someone from a different country and to answer a questionnaire about our respective cultures. (E.g. How do you greet each other? What are the norms during weddings, births and deaths? What are some festivals you have in your country? What is the normal dress code like?) I partnered up with Atefeh from Iran, and it was really interesting to hear more about Iranian culture and how similar it is to some Malaysian cultures, perhaps because we’re both from Muslim countries. 
 
We were also told about the four stages people usually go through four stages. The first stage is the “honeymoon” stage, where everything is so awesome and exciting (I think I’m still in this stage right now), then the second stage would be the “culture shock” stage, where your emotions take a huge dip. You start to feel homesick because the novelty of the new culture wears off.  You realise that you’ll be living in a different country and in a different culture for a long time. It’s pretty weird but I’m kinda anticipating this stage. The third stage is the “relaxed” stage, where you start to adjust to the new culture, and “you know…everything is pretty okay..”. And the last stage is the “home” stage, where you feel at home in the new country. I wonder how long it will take for me to go through these four stages. 
 
Apparently EVERYBODY who goes to live in a new country will go through these four stages, NO exceptions….. hmmm….
 
I think today was pretty relaxed, after the talk, we pretty much had a lot of free time. I had a short nap and then played badminton after dinner. It felt good, playing badminton again, as it is a sport I can actually play…unlike any other sport. 
 
See you soon 🙂

Second week of induction

The second week of induction would be an introduction to the IB diploma programme and the academics,so the students would be able to get an idea of what to expect for the next two years. Yesterday was all about the IB subjects, we had a talk about it in the morning, where we discussed factors that influenced our choice of subjects (e.g. Family expectations, previous experience with the subject, friends, fashion, future career, money etc.). As many of us are not very sure on what career paths we would like to take on in the future (e.g. yours truly) , we also discussed subjects we could take if we were in that position. 

Then we had the individual teachers/heads of department talk about each subject group. There are 6 subject groups (and the subjects I plan on taking):

Group 1 (Your first language): English Literature SL

Group 2 (Language Acquisition): Spanish Ab Initio SL

Group 3 (Individuals and Societies): Economics HL 

Group 4 (Experimental Sciences): Chemistry HL

Group 5 (Mathematics): Math HL

Group 6 (The Arts): Theatre Arts SL

*SL stands for Standard level and HL stands for Higher Level

After lunch, we had a subject fair where each department was stationed at different parts of the residential building, and we could go and talk to them to find out more about the various subjects. However, I think most of us can agree that after the subject fair, we all got even more confused with our subject choices. I personally felt quite interested in Philosophy (I intended to take Economics) but I haven’t even taken a Philosophy class before; and I found out that to do Economics HL, we have to do Math HL…which might not be very suitable for me….Not all asians are good at math!! 

So today, we’ll be learning more about the Theory of Knowledge (also known as the TOK), and then we’ll be split into three groups. Group A goes for a medical check-up for our medical insurance, group B goes to the sports centre, and group C will have a theatre workshop. And this will rotate for the next few days. I’m in group A today..so let’s see how that goes.

Oh yes, and we’ll have personal academic interviews with Brian (the University counsellor), Sally (the deputy head of UWC Dilijan College) and Susan (the IB DP coordinator) about our subject choices, to see if what we chose is suitable and relevant to what we want to do in the future. 

See you soon 🙂

 

The hiking trip

So today, we went for the hiking trip to the town in Dilijan, and it was amazing 😀 😀 So all the students were split up into 4 groups, 2 groups would go on Saturday and the remaining groups on Sunday (in which I was put in). Our group left the college at 10 am and we were off! 

First, we went to an “Old abandoned, old abandoned amusement park” (Phineas and Ferb anybody?? 😛 ) It was pretty queer, there were paintings of old folk stories or famous cartoon characters lined up by the street, and as we walked through this place, we were told to tell the story (or create your own, which most of us did) of  the pictures we saw. Some of the stories included a zombie apocalypse in a village full of living vegetables, a hippie cat and the tragic love story between Pinochina (Pinochio’s mother), a Soviet spy, and an American spy named Abram Lincoln. 

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After that, we went to a little park with a gorgeous lake. 

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IDeA Foundation, the organisation responsible for the restoration of the lake and the park. 

We passed an apostolic church and a hotel. 

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Then we went to a little ancient stage. 

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We then hiked up a hill and had lunch, whilst overlooking the whole of Dilijan from above. We hiked a little to a small forest nearby, where we had time to ourselves to reflect and just enjoy the nature around us. I personally enjoyed this activity the most as we were still on top of a hill and we had a beautiful view of Dilijan. Towards the end, I just laid down and watched the clouds go by. 

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Oh yes, and here are some pictures of the open-mic event yesterday:

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Just a few of the performances: Jonas (Lithuania) and Elena (Russia) singing a song; Yana (Ukraine) playing the flute; Sam (Australia/New Zeland) and Lee Lou (UK) rapping with a group of boys as backup dancers.