Twins transfer to international world improvement schools

Sarah Kimball

Juniors Ludovic and Magali de Bruyn have embarked on a new journey for the rest of high school by attending United World College (UWC) in New Mexico and India, respectively.  

UWC is a two-year program for juniors and seniors that focuses on sustainability, peace and comprehension among cultures, according to Magali. It is an International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum-based school enabling students to earn a two year pre-university diploma, and has locations in 15 areas worldwide.

For both Ludovic and Magali, attending UWC has been an interest ever since they heard about it four years ago, after moving to Marin from Belgium.

“We were having a meeting [with Belgians who had immigrated to the United States] in San Francisco and since we had just arrived, [the Belgians] introduced us to the area. We started to do hikes with them and little by little they told us about UWC. My sister and I started to become interested and we both decided it was something we wanted to do,” Ludovic said.

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Junior Magali De Bruyn participates in the Mud Games at UWC with her best friend.

According to Ludovic, he first became interested in UWC due to its focus on teaching students to change the world.

“Here you learn to work with people in juvenile halls. You meet people who have completely different backgrounds, who at one point might have faced racism, and you start learning about religion and their beliefs,” Ludovic said.

For Magali, the daily culture immersion experiences were the main draw to the program, although she also was interested in the worldly impact.

“You get to learn and read and talk with people from all over the world who have different backgrounds, which I think is just amazing,” Magali said. “ It is a really unique experience because you live with people all around the world and the school tries to provide you with the skills to make a positive impact on the world.”

Although students come from all across the world to each UWC campus, they all have the same goal, Ludovic said.

“Almost everyone at this school comes to meet new people, comes to learn about new cultures, new languages, and about new people who are from countries they have never heard of,” Ludovic said.

Due to the the variety of cultures coming together in one location, students react differently to the unaccustomed traditions they are being introduced to, according to Ludovic.

“For example when we first came to the cafeteria, someone from Senegal was amazed at the amount of food there was. For some people it was more of a culture shock than for others, but in the end everyone is happy,” Ludovic said.

For Magali, their was no hesitation in deciding that she wanted to attend UWC Mahindra in India.

“It was the perfect opportunity to do something new that was totally different than what I knew back home. This is the way that I would learn the best: by going somewhere very different. I had heard a lot about India, and I thought it was very different than back from in the U.S. and Belgium,” Magali said. “It is such an amazing country with such large diversity.”  

Ludovic had a harder time deciding which campus he wanted to attend, though he knew he wanted to be at a different campus than Magali.

“Magali wanted to go to India and I thought the experience wouldn’t be the same with her––it would be different by myself. I thought that it would be better if we were not together,” Ludovic said.

In the end, it came down to two choices for Ludovic.

“I was hesitant between UWC-USA and Costa Rica. One of my close friends got accepted the year earlier to UWC-USA so I talked to him and he convinced me to go to UWC-USA instead of Costa Rica,” Ludovic said.

Both twins are continuing with hobbies and passions they had at Redwood, in addition to trying new things. Magali has continued running, though there are no local organizations or school races. Ludovic has continued to play soccer and tennis, and he is also still a member of Amnesty International. He additionally is a member of several new clubs related to human rights and global influence.

After graduating UWC, each twin plans to attend a four-year college in the United States.