UWC Atlantic College New

Norway: Part 1

After many goodbyes and farewells at the formal conclusion of my high-school life, I promptly set-off for Norway, where I spent about two weeks. I, along with a group of above a dozen other AC students managed to land at Oslo Gardermoen airport despite a lost passport, two lengthy full-security bag checks and a lot of running from one place to another. After a (relatively) short train journey and a car ride, we arrived at Jacob’s (Norwegian co-year of mine) where we were more than happy to crash after a few sleepless nights signing yearbooks, or sleeping at Heathrow as was the case for a few first years.

The next two days were surprisingly lazy, consisting of a bunch of games in Jacob’s garden as we enjoyed the Norwegian sun, a lot of brilliant food and a trip to the beach somewhere along the way. I don’t know what got the better of me, but I somehow found myself atop a 10 meter diving platform, committing myself to launching off it. It’s probably relevant to note that I’ve never dived off anything taller than 3 meters and even then, (some 5 years back?) emerged with a sore back. 10 meters is a long way, but the scariest thing is the 3-4 seconds before you hit the water. It was enough time for me to wonder what exactly I was doing before I plunged into the water; or in the case of Oli (my Welsh roommate), to scream f*** 4 times. Let’s just say I probably won’t be diving anytime soon =D

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And we’re back!

Wow, it’s been a long time since my last post. IN fact, this has been the longest hiatus from blogging since I started back in October 2009. Although I continued blogging during trips overseas, debate championships and even my IGCSEs, the final IB exams were unfortunately, successful in removing my fingers from the keyboard. Thankfully, IB Exams are now over and all that remains is waiting for the results.

In the end-of-year melee at AC, what with yearbook signing and goodbyes, I decided not to post anything. Then it was off to Norway for a short holiday, much-needed after a two-year slog at AC. Then some friends visited Hong Kong, and I became a de-facto tour-guide. After all that, I finally had time to catch-up on a bit of sleep (two years worth), unpack and generally get life back in order.

Thankfully, all that is now dealt with. So let the summer begin!

Exams, Exams and More Exams

Some of you may have noticed a general lack of updates about stuff happening at Ac or stuff I’m doing. The truth is, there really isn’t that much interesting stuff that’s going on right now. First years are having their end of year exams round about now and the formal IB exams for second years are starting shortly after that. As a result, most of the second years, myself included, are hunkered down in carrel units studying away. Our lessons are all over, which means we now have the entire day to study.

A lovely little list from Julia, a fellow Castle dweller (in the neighbouring carrel unit) that I fell really ought to be shared.
You know the IB is almost here when

  • you only ever see Second Years at breakfast and check-in and some briefly at mealtimes in between.
  • your social life seems to involve only those in your Carrel Unit.
  • everyone supposedly ‘relaxing’ in the Dayroom at check-in is talking about work.
  • everyone at supper is so tired they simply stare at their plate.
  • people start drinking coffee at 10.30pm
  • you go to the Quiet Room when you used to go to bed.
  • you see people walking around eating Nutella out of a jar

[VIDEO] Project Week 2012 – Sailing Project

Video by Liam Nash and Rune Øster Mortensen featuring the Sailing Project in March, earlier this year. Essentially, from what I remember, 11 students joined the crew of Challenge Wales (www.challengewales.org/) for about a week.

Evolution of the Workspace

Apologies for the lack of personal updates. It’s been a rather busy few weeks with mock exams handed back to us and a general race to finish the syllabus and get on to revision. I’ve been spending/will inevitably spend most of the remaining weeks at AC holed up in my carrel unit studying away for the IB exams. So I thought I’d be a good time to look back at my various workspaces of the last two years.

I have to say I can’t really remember where I spent most of first term. I think it was largely in the quite-room of Morgannwg. Term 2 was when I moved into the library, later to be joined by Sunley about a year ago. I do recall spending October Break of first year in a carrel unit since most people were off traveling. But since Carrel Units are meant for second years, it wasn’t until Term 3 that I properly moved into S12 where I am currently based. I’ve moved things around and changed my workspace about once or twice a term, but this current set-up will probably stay until exams are over.

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Project Week 2012 – Camino de Santiago Day 9

Free day in Madrid! Whoo.

Woke-up on the train to Madrid and after a few more train rides, we were at the Museo Reina Sofía. OK, we had to do an oral presentation in front of the Guernica, but we still got a lot of free time that day. And in all fairness, I have to say that doing an oral about a painting in front of the painting really is a very useful technique.

I spent most of the day wandering through the streets of Madrid. Checked out the stunning Cathedral of Almudena, the Royal Palace and the ancient Temple of Debod. To be honest, the Temple was a bit of an enigma, still not sure exactly what was there. But cool all the same. After that, I slowly wandered from the west side of the city to the east, stopping for Churros and chocolate that were so filling I didn’t eat anything else for lunch. Caught a sneak peak into the Casino of Madrid as well. It was a pity I didn’t actually go into the Naval museum, but thankfully I was able to get into the Museo del Prado for free. Wandered around for some 30 minutes, not usually a very big art person myself, but I actually quite enjoyed myself which was surprising.

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Project Week 2012 – Camino de Santiago Day 8

A final day in Santiago, well mostly. The fact that we didn’t have to walk another 20 km meant we were all able to have a bit of a lie-in, until 10 that is. After a quick breakfast, we headed over to the cathedral of Santiago for our first mass of the day. It was over surprisingly quickly and marked a formal end to our Camino.

We had the rest of the day free so we decided to roam the streets again, this time in broad daylight. Hit a few tourist stores for a bit of shopping and spent ages staring at the Chocolate Factory and yet another candy store. Funnily enough, we never made it to any museums despite telling ourselves we would, until well after lunch that is. We actually had a bit of an afternoon nap in the sun in a park whilst doing some sight-seeing and only after a long time did we make it to the Public Library. Sadly, it didn’t seem to be open and we ended up wandering into some nearby music school followed by a museum about pilgrimages, how ironic!

Project Week 2012 – Camino de Santiago Day 7

Our final day of walking and also our longest day of walking distance-wise. On paper, it had the most uphill climb. Thankfully, it was also the last day and the placebo effect of being able to finish helped us all walk much faster than we usually did. Even our various injuries seemed much less of a difficulty.

We arrived in Santiago around four or five. Can’t quite remember. We were rushing headlong towards the main cathedral when we had a pit stop outside the police station as we waited for our teacher to get a new ID card issued. That task completed, we set off on our final stretch, reaching the omnipresent Cathedral of Santiago. We quickly found our german co-walkers whom we had met along the way while staying at the hostels the few evenings before.

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