During the weekend of the Thai Buddhist holiday Maka Bucha from 12-13 February 2017, sixteen students eagerly opted to forego a weekend of leisure to check in to UWC Thailand for an overnight stay. All were Mathayom 3 students from Muang Thalang School, Phuket Wittayalai School, Satree Phuket School, and Kajonkietsuksa School. With positive energy and enthusiasm, these were the first ever group of candidates to compete for the coveted full scholarship awarded to one Phuket scholar to attend UWC Thailand for 3 years.
Worth over a total of THB 4.2 million, or THB 1.4 million per annum, the scholarship enables the successful candidate to attend UWC Thailand for the final 3 years of Secondary school, and to graduate from its prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma programme. The scholarship covers tuition fees, boarding fees, medical insurance, uniforms, examination fees, field trips and adventurous training, and meals. To ensure a well-rounded opportunity and ideal quality of student life, pocket money is also included.
The two-day, one-night selection process not only tested the students on their general knowledge and skills, but also assessed their ideals, personal values, and potential transition to international school and boarding life. The candidates also experienced life inside the UWC Thailand walls, walking the halls, having meals in the canteen, and best of all interact with other students at the school.
“We stayed in the dormitory with the boarding students for one night. I thought it was going to be intimidating, but the boarders welcomed us with a circle activity that was really fun. I made many new friends and hope I get to come back to be their classmate next year.” says Sarocha Wongwanatanawisut of Satree Phuket School.
Founded in 2009 and formerly ‘Phuket International Academy’, UWC Thailand is a not-for-profit international school that holds steadfast to its mission of making “education a force to unite peoples, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future”. Part of the global network of 17 UWC schools and colleges that are educating over 12,000 students, UWC Thailand places strong emphasis on accepting scholars with intellectual curiosity, active commitment, social competence, resilience, integrity, and most importantly motivation for UWC values. While academic performance is typically the foremost criteria for any scholarship awarded, such is not the case with UWC Thailand. Priority is instead placed on needs-based considerations for applicants from all socioeconomic, cultural, racial and religious backgrounds and experiences, and nationalities.
When asked why she decided to apply for this scholarship, Sarocha says “My dream is to become an ambassador. If I go to UWC Thailand, I will have the chance to meet friends from all over the world. I will get to learn about different cultures first hand, which is a very rare and special opportunity that cannot be found in many other schools.”
Punyisa Naradit, also of Satree Phuket School and Sarocha’s classmate, says “I’m very interested in environmental conservation, and I know that UWC Thailand is very committed to this also. If I go to this school I will be able to contribute something significant to the sustainability of our world, which is where I believe real happiness and peace for our generation comes from.”
A deliberately multicultural community, UWC Thailand has over 30 scholars from such countries as Nepal, Belarus, Italy, the Philippines, Germany, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Chile and, of course, Thailand. More than just a school, UWC Thailand strives to be a training ground for change makers, with the hope that students will graduate well-equipped to succeed and make a lasting, positive change to society.