Sonntag, 2. März 2014

A new semester, a new experience - Ein neues Semester, ein neues Abenteuer.

First of all, I am sorry,
I know that I have not updated my blog in a very long time, but in my defense there has been so much happening in this semester and to be honest, now is one of the very few moments where I have a little free time since the beginning of the calendar year.
So, what happened? I went back home for winter break in December, which was a very interesting experience. On one hand it felt as if nothing had changed; both in school and at home. On the other hand, I had changed so much during the 4 months at UWC, which made interactions, especially with people that I do not really know, much more different. I was very glad that I had gained a lot of self-confidence in the U.S. In the first week back, a friend from Malaysia came, with which I spent time along with my countrymate who is her roommate. It was such a weird feeling to see people from UWC outside of the New Mexican setting. The two other weeks of winter break were spent with my family in Berlin, which was very relaxing and calming compared to UWC. I hate to admit that I really missed UWC at some times, especially when I did not have anything to do. It is interesting how much I actually enjoy being busy all the time.

Coming back on the plane and arriving at the Albuquerque International Sunport was a beautiful experience because everyone hugged each other, which was only undermined by the loss of my luggage because of a too fast transit in Washington. I was very lucky to still catch my flight even though there were gigantic problems with the snow throughout the eastern part of the United States and considering a delay of 3 hours in Brussels.

Campus had not changed and soon the normal life-style of UWC came back to me and I was able to live off 6 and a half hours of sleep and literally no free time during the day. The workload increased, which I had been told. But that did not affect me in any negative way because I actually enjoy doing what I have to do for my subjects. For example, in history we have to write a 2000 word long research paper every month, but since you can choose the specific topic in a broad constraint, I would choose something interesting, like the role of religion and women, and find out so much about that topic. Major events in this semester were:

  • The Yurt trip: A week after we all came back, a chosen group of students took a bus to Taos, where we started a 4 hour long snowshoe hike to a small yurt in the middle of nowhere beside a gigantic icy field. The next day we practiced cross-country skiing and snowshoe hiking in the area around the Yurt. However, it was very cold, especially during the second night where I tried to sleep in a snow shelter (an igloo), which did not work and made me go back to the Yurt where I did not have a sleeping bag - it was awful. Luckily, I did not get sick and we all came back safe and sound the third day. It was an amazing experience and I hope that I can lead it next year. 
  • The Yule Ball: A Harry Potter themed ball that happened in January, the Yule Ball was an amazing opportunity to dress up and dance in a very classy fashion, I enjoyed it a lot because I had the opportunity to dance with very capable partners.
  • Skiing: Here we are lucky that the school organizes day trips to Taos Ski Valley, which is an amazing skiing resort 2 hours away from the school. Every student can go at least two times. I had a great time both times, but I had to experience one accident, where a friend tore their ACL ligament in their knee, which was very unfortunate. She is doing much better now and can already walk very well without crutches. I hope that I can go more than two times next year, because, even though it is much colder than in Europe, the skiing here in the U.S. is an amazing experience.
  • Expressions: Two days ago, the second years prepared a whole show dedicated to our class. It was very mean at some times, but in the end everyone expressed their love for each other, which was very beautiful but also sad. We only have three months left with our "big brothers and sisters", which I hope that I will spend well. 
All in all, this semester has been extremely busy, interesting, emotional and many other things. But that's what UWC is. I am still so glad to be here and feel happiness on a daily basis, it is beautiful and inspiring.

All the best to everyone reading this and make sure to check out the pictures below,


Ein neues Semester, ein neues Abenteuer

Ich weiß, dass es sehr lange her ist, dass ich etwas neues in meinem Blog geschrieben habe, aber leider habe ich in der letzten Zeit extrem viel zu tun gehabt. Jetzt ist einer der ersten Momente in diesem neuen Jahr wo ich Zeit habe. Weihnachten war es sehr schön nach Hause zu fahren, da ich für mehr 4 Monate weg war. Zuhause hatte sich nichts verändert, jedoch habe ich mich völlig geändert während meiner Zeit in den USA. Es war sehr interessant mich mit meinen Freunden und Bekannten zu unterhalten, aber das schönste war auf jeden Fall wieder meine Familie zu sehen, mit denen ich die zwei letzten Wochen in Berlin verbracht habe. 

Als wir Anfang Januar wieder zurückfliegen mussten, war es ehrlich gesagt viel einfacher zu gehen als ich mir gedacht hatte. Das liegt wahrscheinlich daran, dass meine Familie im April mich besuchen kommt und, dass ich meine Freunde in den USA vermisst habe. Auf dem Campus hatte sich nicht viel verändert, und es hat auch nicht lange gedauert bis ich mich wieder in den hier herrschenden Rhythmus eingelebt habe. Jetzt lebe ich wieder mit 6 einhalb Stunden Schlaf (außer am Wochenende) und einem vollbepackten Stundenplan, was ich aber sehr schätze.
Es ist viel passiert seitdem ich zurück bin. Im Januar sind ein paar Schüler - zu denen ich auch gehörte - zu einer Jurte in der Neu Mexikanischen Wildnis auf Schneeschuhen gewandert. Es war sehr kalt, aber auch extrem schön und ruhig. Außerdem habe ich neue Leute kennengelernt, was mich sehr gefreut hat. Ich habe gemerkt, dass mein Deutsch sich hier ein wenig verschlechtert, da ich viel mehr Englisch rede, woran ich zuhause nicht gewöhnt war. Das ist aber kein großes Problem weil ich auch deutschsprachige Freunde habe und deutsche Bücher lese. Skifahren in New Mexico ist sehr anders als in Österreich oder der Schweiz, da erstens alles in Englisch ist, was sehr komisch ist für mich, und zweitens es sehr viel kälter ist. Ich habe noch nie so viele Schichten angehabt. Aber es ist auf jeden Fall höchst interessant mit Amerikanern, Afrikanern, Europäern und Asiaten in der gleichen Ski Gruppe zu fahren. 
Leider kann ich in diesem deutschen Beitrag des Posts nicht zu sehr ins Detail gehen, da ich wenig Zeit habe. Ich hoffe, dass ich in den nächsten 3 Monaten noch wenigstens ein Mal meinen Blog erneuern kann.

Es gefällt mir hier immer noch sehr gut und ich bin extrem froh diesen Schritt gemacht zu haben. Ich hoffe allen anderen geht es auch wundervoll.

Alles Gute und schaut euch ruhig ein paar Bilder, die teilweise illustrieren wovon ich rede,


A part of our group on the Yurt Trip - Ein Teil unserer Gruppe auf der Jurten Wanderung

Yurt Trip

The Castle - Das Schloss

Yule Ball

Getaway family - Gastfamilie

Storie Lake (behind school) - Der Storie See

Montag, 28. Oktober 2013

Studying, Socialising, Sleeping..

Me signing into the matriculation book
I can't believe that it's already been two and a half months here at the school! Time flew by so quickly, I didn't even notice it. First off: I am really busy! The work back home was nothing compared to here. However, I actually am really glad, because otherwise I would just hang around, do nothing and maybe get homesick. The big events in the last month were probably Southwest Studies, Howling, Buddy Dance, END (!!!) and so much stuff that I actually cannot remember everything.

Let's start off chronologically with
Buddy Dance! After dinner, a friend and I had to do a scavenger hunt all around campus to find indications and hints about where we had to go. Finally, after 8 hints, we arrived in a small room in the castle where we met our buddies. Mine was (and still is) Jessika from Kansas. The next hour was spent talking and eating Russian and Indonesian food. The evening was concluded by a photo session, where we all took pictures together with our buddy. The concept is that all the second years may choose one first year of the opposite sex that they want to be paired up with. It was a great experience and I am really looking forward to a whole year with my buddy.

I would like to say that one of the biggest event in the last month was Southwest Studies. That is a week where all the first years leave for a trip to get to know the Southwest of the United States. I chose to go on the Grand Canyon trip. It was an inspiring and eye-opening experience. My trip was called Boucher Creek and lasted five days. That means five days of hiking inside the Grand Canyon.
The Colorado River
My group in Grand Canyon
After two days of downhill walking we reached the Colorado River. The cliffs around us seemed so high and it felt like the rim would be weeks of walking away. At the river we took a mud bath, which was very funny and refreshing (the mud was actually very cool). Because the temperature was so hot inside the canyon, we slept outside every night - the starlit sky was amazing. After five days of intense walking we finally got out of the Grand Canyon, only to see that the National Park was actually shut down and closed. This was due to the shutdown of the federal american government because of disagreements on the Health Care bill. It was an amazing feeling to be one of the last groups of people inside the National Park; everything was deserted.
The last night of the trip everyone spent their time together roasting marshmallows in a campground just outside of the national park. It was an amazing trip!

The END Finale
Finally, I would like to talk about END, which stands for European National Day. That happened just a few days ago last weekend. For this Cultural Day, all the Europeans at this school had to prepare week activities (notably a room of tales and a global issues presentation about immigration), a dinner for 300 people (including cooking and serving), a party and most importantly a Cultural Day Show. A few weeks before the show I was voted as a coordinator for the whole event, which was a very stressful, but also very rewarding position. During the weeks before the show, everyone gave their all to be ready to present an astonishing show. Everything was portrayed in the show, ranging from Jump style (a German way of dancing) to a skit about the second world war. When the day of the show finally came, a lot of actors first had to wait or cook for the extensive dinner in the cafeteria. Among the food was Schnitzel and Tiramisu; which was greatly appreciated by the guests.
After the dinner, the show finally started. Under this post I will post the link to the website where you can watch it. It was gigantic success; nothing went wrong. I am really happy to have been part of that show with more than 60 other people.

This concludes my post of events happening at the moment. Of course at the same time I still have to focus on academics, services (we had our HIV-AIDS presentation last week in front of the whole school), sports and friendships.
Sun in the Grand Canyon (it was cold!)
So, to sum all this up, life is very very busy here, which is why I can only update this post now, after months of not writing anything..

I hope everyone is doing good back home or wherever anyone who is reading this is!

Thank you, but sadly I have no idea when I will update next. For now there's only this English part of the post, the German one will follow soon (I hope).

I'm out,


Dienstag, 3. September 2013

First Day of Classes! - Erster Schultag!

What a week!

Sorry for not having been more active on here. I was so busy this last week. First we all went to the Philmont Scout Range - which is the biggest boy scout camp in the world. Over the course of three days, we all got to know each other in a lot of different ways. It ranged from cultural sensitivity to sushi-making workshops. Everything was really well organized by the second years. On the evening of the last day at the range we attended a café. A café at UWC is an evening where all the students can sign up and perform. Some friends and I performed the hymn of the scout range on a 'Jingle Bells' tune, which was pretty fun. After that we all participated in a ritual, where we had to find a second year 'buddy'. Mine was Nadia from Malaysia. She was very nice and gave me some good advice for the two years to come. We all lay down beside out buddies and looked up to the starlit sky. It was an amazing sight and experience.

Directly after the three hour ride back from Philmont we boarded the buses departing to Ghost Ranch for our 'Wilderness Orientation'. My second year leaders were Abu from Nepal, Themba from Swaziland and Sandra from Germany. We had to carry everything in gigantic backpacks. Our camp spot was beautifully located on a mesa. On the first night a big thunderstorm crashed down upon us. We had to wait for it to pass before we could finish our food, which was amazingly good. After that the sky cleared up, so that we could sleep outside. After three days without a shower, the one I took on campus was very refreshing.
On Sunday evening we all attended the 'Welcoming Ceremony', which was great. Everyone was wearing their national costume. During dinner all the second years entered the dining hall with their respective flags. It was beautiful.

Now I'm sitting outside of my dorm after my first real day of classes. The teachers all seem very well experienced and motivated. I already have some homework to do, but it's pretty manageable.

I'll try to update again in a month, because here everything is so busy.

See you soon,


 Was für eine Woche!

Ich bin so beschäftigt! Es gibt eigentlich fast gar keinen Moment wo ich Freizeit habe. Letzte Woche waren wir in Philmont (das größte Pfadfinderlager der Welt). Es war sehr interessant. Wir haben ganz viele Workshops über das Leben am UWC gehabt. Sehr lustig war auch das Sushi vorbereiten (und natürlich essen). Am letzten Abend gab es eine Aufführung, wo ein Paar Freunde und ich die Hymne von den Pfadfindern gesungen haben. Es war richtig lustig, da wir es auf der 'Jingle Bells'-Melodie gesungen haben. Danach gab es eine emotionelle Zeremonie, wo wir zusammen mit einem Second Year - meiner war Nadia aus Malaysia - unter dem Sternenhimmel lagen. Dort hat sie mir ein Paar Tipps für die nächsten zwei Jahre gegeben.

Direkt als wir von Philmont zurück zur Schule kamen mussten wir die Busse für Wilderness beladen. Wir sind dann drei Stunden lang zur Ghost Ranch gefahren. Dort haben sich alle Teams aufgeteilt und sind los gewandert. Wir hatten riesige Rucksäcke zu tragen. An einem Ort mussten wir sie alle abnehmen um sie dann an einer sehr steilen Stelle einander hoch zu reichen. Unser Campingplatz war sehr schön auf einer Mesa gelegen. Leider gab es am ersten Abend ein starkes Gewitter, sodass wir unter unserer Plane bleiben mussten. Sonst war das Wandern ein unglaubliches Erlebnis. Sogar das Essen war sehr gut im Verhältnis.

Letzten Sonntag Abend gab es die 'Welcoming Ceremony', wo wir offiziell in die Schule aufgenommen wurden. Es war sehr schön, obwohl ich sagen muss, dass das Ritual in Philmont mich etwas mehr mitgenommen hat. Das Schöne am Sonntag war jedoch der Fakt, dass jeder sein nationales Outfit anhatte. Im englischen Teil des Blogs könnt ihr ein Bild von mir und meinen zwei 'Country Mates' sehen. 

Jetzt sitze ich im Schloss und lasse mir den heutigen ersten richtigen Schultag durch den kopf gehen. Es war echt interessant. Alle Lehrer scheinen sehr enthusiastisch und begabt zu sein. Besonders der Geschichtsunterricht war sehr interessant; wir haben über alle wichtigen Ereignisse in der Weltgeschichte vor dem zwanzigsten geredet. Jeder hat eine andere Perspektive, was sehr ansprechend ist. 

Ich werde versuchen mich wieder in etwa einem Monat zu melden. Ich habe leider so viel um den Hals jetzt schon. Nächste Woche fangen die Dienstleistungen, die einen großen Teil der Zeit beanspruchen, an. Ich hoffe, dass ich in die AIDS-Gruppe komme. Ich musste heute eine Bewerbungsemail dafür schreiben. Freitag weiß ich Bescheid.

Bis bald,


Samstag, 24. August 2013

First Week in - Die Erste Woche

Choices, Dancing, Hiking...

The first week at UWC-USA is almost done. However it feels as if I've been here for twice that long. First things first; the people are amazing! It's amazing how different the conversations are. We've been doing so much already. One of the best experiences was 'Dance Fun'. The second years showed us three very different dances. The first one was called 'Mahi Ve', a fun indian dance. Then we danced the 'Mayonesa' and an african dance, which was really funky. We also had to conceive 'egg-parachutes', where our dorm miserably lost. 
The most important thing this week was registration for classes. We have to take 3 Higher Level (HL) and 3 Standard Level Subjects (SL). Mine are: History HL, Biology HL, Physics HL, English SL, German SL and Maths SL. Luckily everything worked out and I can still change my subjects if I don't like them. 
Yesterday we had our first intro to Wilderness. I will be in a group with 6 first years and 3 second years. 
Right now I'm sitting outside the auditorium and waiting for lunch in the castle very soon.

So viel zu tun...

Die erste Woche ist schon fast um und es kommt mir vor als ob ich schon doppelt so lange hier bin. Es ist einfach überwältigend! Ich bin normalerweise keine sehr offene Person, aber es ist richtig einfach und sehr sehr interessant mit den ganzen Menschen zu reden. Eine der schönsten Sachen diese Woche war 'Dance Fun', wo wir 3 sehr verschiedene Tänze gelernt haben: einen indischen, einen latein-amerikanischen und einen afrikanischen Tanz. Es hat richtig Spaß gemacht mit so viel verschiedenen Menschen zu tanzen. 
Am nächsten Tag habe ich meine Kurse für das Schuljahr ausgewählt. Im englischen Teil des Posts habe ich sie alle aufgezählt. Jetzt gerade sitze ich mit meinem Countrymate Nouria vor dem Auditorium und wir werden bald für's Mittagessen zum Schloss gehen. Hier sind zwei Bilder von meinem aktuellen Sitzplatz. 
Ich melde mich bald wieder.


Dienstag, 20. August 2013

My first day - Mein erster Tag


This first day at UWC-USA was simply overwhelming. My parents and I drove up to the school at exactly 12pm, where a gigantic committee of students came up to the car to give me hugs and greet me. It'll take a while to remember all the names. My roommate is Jabari Brown from Trinidad and Tobago. I've heard from everyone that he's a really great guy. The dorm that I'm staying in is called Mont Blanc, or "MB" by its inhabitants. When I arrived at my room, which is facing to the south, I saw that over 30 people had written little welcome notes and had pasted them to the walls all around my door. I still haven't read them all.. Surprisingly the whole content of my four suitcases fitted in the closet and under the bed inside the room.
After some time the bus with the students from the Albuquerque Airport arrived. It was an amazing experience to see all the secondyears run up to the bus and hit the windows with such a force that I thought they would break. That must have made a big impression to the people inside the bus.
At 7pm I had to say goodbye to my parents, even though I saw them again this morning.
After dinner there was a big party in the Student Center under the castle. It was fun to dance to a german party song that was played, but otherwise I was really tired. The next bus arrived at 1am, after which I quickly went to sleep. This first day was an amazing experience.
Today the orientation really started; we went to Walmart and set up our email-accounts. Now I'm waiting for dinner to start at 6pm.

I'm out.


Gestern war mein erster Tag im United World College. Es war eine seht einstimmende Erfahrung. Meine Eltern und ich sind um 12Uhr am Eingang der Schule angekommen, wo mich fast alle Schüler mit Umarmungen und sehr freundlichen Worten begrüßen. So etwas habe ich noch nie erlebt. Ich war erstaunt, dass alles was in meinen vier Koffern war in die Schränke gepasst hat. Der Rest des Tages war auch sehr stimmungsvoll. Wir haben Spiele gespielt um sich besser kennenzulernen und danach gab es eine "Kulturschock"- Party, wo ich leider sehr müde war, aber es war trotzdem lustig zu Disco Pogo zu tanzen. 
Ein anderes sehr interessantes Erlebnis war die Ankunft der Busse vom Albuquerque Flughafen. Alle Second-years (die Schüler im Jahr über mir) sind zum Bus hingerannt und haben gegen alle Fensterscheiben geklopft. Das muss auch eine unglaubliche Einstimmung gewesen sein.
Heute hat die Orientierung erst richtig angefangen; wir waren beim Walmart und haben dann unsere Email-Konten erstellt.

Ich versuche mich bald wieder zu melden.

 My room

 The view from the room

 View from Lower Campus

The Castle

Freitag, 16. August 2013

First Stop - Erster Halt : Washington DC


I wanted to keep you guys updated now that I'm in my hotel room in Washington DC, more precisely on 14th Street. It's been a long flight with not enough leg room (as usual). However, the onboard entertainment system showed the movie "Mars Attacks", which I had seen as a terrified little boy.. Now it was just really fun to see; a great spoof of 1950's science fiction. 
Washington is really an inspiring place in my opinion. It's so calm but also so lively as it is so densely packed with huge amounts of US-american history: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation..."
It's only 10.20pm over here, but for me it's actually 4'o'clock in the morning, so I'm going to be off now.

I'll try to keep you posted regularly.


Der größere Teil der Anreise ist jetzt geschafft: ich liege gemütlich in meinem Hotelbett in Washington DC. Jetzt trennt mich nur noch ein vierstündiger Flug bis nach Albuquerque von meinem Endziel. Leider hat mich jetzt auch der Jetlag befallen, so dass ich im Moment fast am umkippen bin. Trotzdem ist Washington, so wie ich es heute Nachmittag erlebt habe, eine wunderbare Stadt. Das schöne ist, dass auch wenn es hier im Vergleich zu anderen US-amerikanischen Großstädten sehr ruhig ist, es trotzdem eine sehr lebhafte Athmosphäre gibt. Wahrscheinlich wegen den unzähligen Memorials, die das Stadtbild beschmücken.

Jetzt muss ich aber wirklich in die Falle..
Ich werde versuchen einen regelmäßigen "Post-Rhythmus" anzunehmen.


And so it begins - Nun fängt es an

The start of an adventure

Hello, I'm Julian Liebaert. I've grown up and lived all my life in Brussels, Belgium. I'm half German and half Belgian. In about 30 minutes I will start the biggest adventure of my life..

I'm very lucky to have been chosen by the Belgian national committee to represent my country at the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West in Montezuma, New Mexico.

This last month I've been spending as much time as possible with my family and we had an amazing time camping in Scotland. I really hope that I won't get too homesick being a few 1000 km away from everything I've lived with all my life.

My first flight goes to Washington, DC, where I will spend a day with my parents. We have 5 suitcases for 3 people and I already know that there will be a tortuous weight-lifting at the baggage claim in the US-american capital. It's really hard to choose what to take and what not, I guess that I've probably taken too much stuff, but as I'd say; there's never something as too much..
Right now my feelings are mixed between anxiety of leaving everything I know behind me and the happiness of starting something totally new; it's pretty exciting. I hope that I haven't forgotten anything and that the journey won't be too stressful. I've decided to write my posts in this blog in German and in English (at least for the moment).
On the 19th of August I'll be meeting all my fellow first- and secondyears, which I am really looking forward to.

I've never blogged in my life, so excuse any mishaps that could happen.

I'll try to post again tonight when I'm in my Washington hotel.

PS: It's strange to sleep for the last time in the bed you've known your whole life.

Der Beginn eines Abenteuers

Hallo, Ich bin Julian Liebaert aus Brüssel, Belgien. Ich bin halb Deutscher halb Belgier. Dieser Blog wird so etwas wie mein Tagebuch (natürlich nicht mit zu vielen privaten Geheimnissen) während meiner zwei Jahre im United World College von Montezuma im US-Bundesstaat New Mexico. 

In etwa 20 Minuten kommt das Taxi, dass meine Eltern und mich zum Flughafen bringen wird, wo wir einen Flug nach Washington DC nehmen werden. Dort werden wir zu dritt einen Tag die Stadt besichtigen bevor es dann richtig losgeht und ich schliesslich am Montag, dem 19. August voraussichtlich um 12Uhr im UWC ankommen werde.
Es war schwer alles zu packen, was man für 2 Jahre im Ausland braucht. Da meine Eltern mich begleiten habe ich aber Anspruch auf mehr Gepäck, was mich natürlich erleichtert hat.

Jetzt ruft mein Vater mich schon. Ich werde probieren heute Abend in Washington wieder etwas zu posten.