Can you provide some background information about yourself?
I’m Julija, from Macedonia. I applied for UWC when I was in my second year of high school and was selected to go to UWC Mostar. Now I’m studying at the University of Florida.
What has it been like studying in the US? Has it met your expectations?
I went without expectations; I just felt like I didn’t want to be disappointed. So far I love it, even above any expectations I ever could have had.
How did you find the time to come to EMIS while studying in university?
I am thinking of switching to another major, so I took a gap year. Currently, I am studying nuclear engineering, but I want to switch to computer engineering. So, I’m just taking a little time off to think about it.
What do you wish you would have known before studying at university in the US, that current EMIS DP2 students who are studying in the US next year could benefit from?
One really important thing is that I wish I knew my IB exams would count towards credits in the United States.
What would you say EMIS has most in common with UWC Mostar, and least in common?
I think that what is most in common is the diversity. I don’t think that a lot of schools in Europe or the Middle East can say they have as diverse a population as EMIS or a UWC.
Whereas I think the biggest difference: That there are so many other schools around. Most UWCs are secluded, with UWC students just spending time with other UWCers, but here you have the opportunity to engage with the local community.
So, UWC Mostar was created on the basis of past conflict that had occurred in the area. What do you think about EMIS creating a school where there is current conflict, not past conflict, and do you think that has affected how people view EMIS as a school?
The school in Mostar was opened a few years after the conflict, so everything was still fresh. Even before going to Bosnia and Herzegovina, I thought that I knew a lot of stuff just because I come from the Balkan area. But that changed a lot. I can say it changed 180 degrees after I started living with the people and local community. Here, it’s still going on. I don’t think that I can make this comparison, but for sure I think that it influences how people see EMIS.
How did you get involved with the UWC admissions committee in Macedonia?
The UWC admissions committee [in Macedonia] has a policy that every UWCer from Macedonia, who is an alumni, if interested, can apply to be part of the UWC national committee. So, that’s what I did before graduating from UWC. Once I graduated, I joined the national committee.
What was your role at EMIS?
Originally, I [intended to] work with the boarding house. But then, I met Maya and since I already have experience in the UWC selection, she suggested that I join her, and now I work strictly with admissions.
Can you provide some insights into the EMIS admissions process?
We have a lot more applicants this year. There is a diverse number of people and various cultures that are applying. When interviewing Macedonian applicants, there are specific questions you can ask because you are choosing a similar profile of a person to go to different schools. But here, you are choosing many different profiles of people to go to one school.
Can you give some advice to a future applicant?
I like an individual touch to every [application].
Can you give some advice to a future volunteer?
The volunteers should engage with the students because there are so many interesting points of view that you can hear. It’s really nice to hear perspectives of people that share the same ideals and goal. It makes me reflect on how I was when I was under that “bubble.”
How would you describe an EMIS/UWC bubble?
If you want to start something [and] to make a change, you can make it on a local level. Of course, it takes a lot of effort and dedication, but you can make it happen because the school gives you support. Once you get out of UWC [or EMIS], you will realize it’s not as easy as you thought it was because not everyone around you is thinking the same way, [the way] people in UWC think.
Please ask yourself an open question, and answer it.
Q: If you were going to change one thing about EMIS, what would it be and how?
A: I would make people more aware that not everything is revolving around academics; that’s not the most important thing. That’s not the experience that [all] the people came here for. The EMIS/UWC experience is what’s important: to communicate, talk to people, do stuff…stuff that teenagers living in a boarding school would do.
Choose 5 words that you think can best describe your experience at EMIS:
Interviewee: Julija Miladinovska
Interviewers: Anna Kraeftner and Emily Perotti
Transcription: Hannah Cook
Editing: Hannah Cook and Emily Perotti
Picture: Galya Globerman