A thick fog was covering our car when we arrived in Duino, in the parking lot of the UWC Adriatic; unfortunately, the bad weather prevented us from taking in the incredible view from the students’ residence, which overlooks the Gulf of Trieste.
Our appointment with Johanna, the friendly and pleasant librarian of the school, began at 11 am.
Together with Barbara Gostisa, our IB coordinator, and Silvia, GSO librarian, we were able to delve into critical aspects of the librarian’s job: the cataloguing system for the library books and the necessary support, both academic and otherwise, for students and staff.
Being a librarian has to do not only with scrupulously and meticulously organizing and looking after all the texts available to students and teachers, but a librarian also acts as a point of reference for the academic community.
In fact, the library is more than a space for research and resources; it is also a place to share, concentrate, and experiment as well as to further develop one’s identity and talent.
Johanna, who has been Librarian at UWC Adriatic for over 10 years, is aware that the support provided by a librarian is fundamental to students coming from far away, so she made sure that she provided us with the important details of a Librarian’s responsibilities.
After this meeting, we went on to meet with Eva, the Social Services Officer, who took us to the administrative offices of the UWC.
Here, we met Chiara, the Admissions Officer; curious about her position, we asked her about her responsibilities and what she looks for in a student.
Chiara told us that in addition to being an Italian teacher, she belongs also to the Admissions Committee. The qualities she finds relevant in her evaluation are a predisposition to international mindedness and curiosityabout discovering and sharing new experiences with other students coming from all over the world.
Other important characteristics are being independent despite their young age and being able to handle the distance from parents and loved ones.
In addition, a good attitude towards studying and an interest in developing one’s academic direction are important.
Following our visit, we met Rita, a 19 year old Pakistani student, who is presently attending the last year of UWC Adriatic. She kindly offered to take us through the areas of the school that we had not already visited.
She told us that she heard about the UWC Network through a presentation at her previous school in Pakistan; she was immediately attracted by the idea of independence and by the desire to be part of such an international education programme.
She took us to the residence building, with separate sections for boys and girls, where she has been living for the past two years, sharing her room with other two girls: a 17 years old Israeli girl and a 16 year old Filipino girl.
Besides the academic activities, the students are invited to take part in numerous events organized and handled directly by the students.
The students meet in the common areas (kitchen, living room…). They have music laboratories for the school choir to meet at least once a week, initiatives provided by the CAS programme, and virtual meetings with students from the other UWC Schools.
We asked Rita how she feels that she has changed through this educational experience and whether she thinks that this was a good choice. It is not without difficulties, but she told us that participating in such an excellent programme has already opened many doors for her future career, makes her feel proud of herself and of her effort in school, not to mention the relationships she has established, the new cultures she has come to know and the confidence she has gained in herself, by being on her own at such a young age, learning to handle her time, activities and emotions.
Seeing first-hand an IB School that already has its own history left us with a further enthusiasm for our project because we also want to make it possible for the ‘Ritas’ from all over the world to study in an international environment that believes in and supports their personal talents – at the GSO School.