Gwendolyn Tan (2016-2018, UWC Robert Bosch)
A week in the life of a UWCRBC student (because every day is different and I can’t bring myself to generalise such a packed schedule):
If there’s any difference in being a first and second-year at RBC, it’s the free blocks you get once committing to your HL and SL subjects in second-year. That is perfect for me since I’m not the earliest of risers so the first free block on Monday morning allows me to get some extra shut-eye before heading for assembly. Assembly isn’t just announcements being made for the whole week, there are also performances at the start (which can range from a proper opera performance to a group of students wrapping themselves in aluminium foil and dancing to meme music), and there are presentations made by students to highlight cultural celebrations or political issues happening at home. Following that, it’s time to start class, which typically end at around 2 to 3pm every day.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are fairly similar – classes from 8am to around 2pm, followed by your CAS. My favourite thing to do during the winter mornings to start my day off would be to sled down from House 8 (my first-year house), to the Karthaus (the RBC schoolbuilding). A quick, fun way to avoid taking 116 slippery stairs down to class. If there’s one thing I had a love-hate relationship for in RBC, it was the daily lunch. The lines could be so long it stretched all the way to the exit, and sometimes the food given could be questionable (but I’ve heard it’s improved by leaps and bounds since I’ve graduated), but the summery days were the best because you’ll see groups in the courtyard chatting, playing basketball, a card game, or just relaxing in the sun.
Wednesdays are half day classes because we have service in the morning! In first-year, I was an English tutor at a local Montessori Schule and worked as a teaching assistant to eighth graders so I would cycle there in the morning to do my service, and cycle back in time for lunch and two blocks of classes. At night, we have global affairs, which is like Common Civics which I had in Junior College. It’s basically a talk where people from outside the school share their life stories or something they’re doing right now, and it can range from travelling the world to political activism. They’re so eye-opening and I loved learning more about the world around us, because at times, your school can feel like a hermetically sealed bubble.
Fridays are my favourite because it was the end of the school week and it meant that I had ultimate frisbee in the afternoon, followed by a long late-night boardgame sesh or a pint in the bar (note: RBC allowed you to drink beer/wine at a licensed establishment because it was legal) or commandeering the Auditorium for a movie night. From what I heard, the year-groups below mine have spent Fridays protesting in Freiburg for the weekly Fridays for Future protest to fight for our environment.
Weekends are spent for having some free time to myself (because the hectic school life can sometimes get to you and you don’t want to get too burnt out!) and to call my family at home. The best thing is that at RBC, weekends have later check-in timings, and you can get overnights, which you can use on events like the annual Basel Museumnacht in Switzerland that students visit in hordes because you can access 20+ museums for free until 4am. On Saturdays we sometimes have student meetings as well – it’s a meeting for all students to come together and vote on big school-wide decisions, for example, having vegetarian meals served in our Mensa (the word for German canteen because we aren’t super-high IQ geniuses). RBC is unique in this because we don’t have a student council and pride ourselves on student activism and students taking charge of their own UWC experience.
Occasionally, I spent Sundays with my host family and bake or grab a meal with them. Other times, I just sleep in because weekends means the Mensa is serving brunch which is the best meal on campus in my most honest opinion and since it’s served from 10am to 2pm, you get to sit in the Mensa for 4 hours and just chill out with your mates. Sunday evenings mark the time for house cleaning, which means lots of music (at least in my second-year house where the tech team lived in, which meant big speakers from the school) and lots of chaos as the house is put back in order. Following that, we have the weekly house meeting where people air their complaints, and we end off the week with an appreciation circle where we share all the things we were grateful and thankful for.
At RBC, there are always so many events happening every day, be they cultural celebrations, protests, volunteering, or just free time for yourself or hanging out with friends. Every week is different – maybe it’s “Feliz Navidad” to start Monday morning assemblies, maybe it’s Mottowoche and you have to dress up as the Proletariat versus the Bourgeoisie, or maybe it’s Mock Exam week and you’re jumping into the pond by Helen’s house every single morning. If there’s one thing I can surely generalise, it is that every day at UWC is literally an adventure.