Anna Bognadok ‘17 from Ukraine

Giving Back: Leading National Committees
“UWC was the place that broke down my stereotypes, allowing me to be truly and unapologetically myself.”
--Anna Bognadok ‘17

I joined the Ukrainian National Committee in my final year at UWC Costa Rica. It was a no-brainer: our national committee is relatively small, so any sort of freehand was encouraged, and from the moment I stepped onto the UWC Costa Rica campus, I knew that I wanted to spread this magical experience to other Ukrainians.

When I joined, our National Committee mainly consisted of 3 people doing all the work and providing informal support to students. Still, over time we grew to include eight board members, hundreds of social media followers. From this year on, we are running a comprehensive 7-week orientation preparing our students for UWC. But to me, the numbers haven't meant as much, like the fact that we have developed a healthy NC culture, where we both prepare our students for UWC and help cultivate a network of like-minded Ukrainians beyond their two years at their respective colleges.

By designing initiatives for our alumni to engage with current students through peer mentorship and orientation preparation, we encourage them to think about what UWC means to them and share these ideas with others. We are also giving a platform to alumni who have chosen to return to Ukraine post-graduation and highlight their amazing accomplishments back home.

This year, like many other National Committees, we face so many challenges with reduced scholarships and uncertainty. Still, we are also using the remote environment to connect our students and alumni worldwide and further build community. I encourage everyone to volunteer their time to their respective national committees in any way they can, as we all made it to UWC and beyond thanks to the generosity of others, and we should aim to continue spreading this spirit!

¡Pura vida!
- Anna Bognadok '17 (Ukraine)

Anna is a Senior at Brown University.  After studying abroad in Sweden, she is now studying remotely from her home in Ukraine until January.