As the Bocker brothers sat down to talk with me about living in Singapore and about their school United World College, it was quite apparent that Karl, 15, Adam, 13, and young Hugo, 11, had mutual respect for each other. It was heartwarming to see how one would stop to allow the other to speak first or, explained a particular question to each other.
“Being here allows you to see a lot of different aspects of life and how different cultures feel about life,” Karl said.
According to him, education here is a lot more global, with experiences from many different cultural backgrounds unlike the Swedish school which could be quite homogeneous.
He also added that the education in Singapore is more challenging than in Sweden, which he regarded as good because there is more room for development.
Students in UWC are allowed to take certain subjects earlier on in their education which wasn’t allowed in Sweden.
“For example, I take economics and I wouldn’t have been able to do that in grade nine in Sweden,” he said.
Karl also stated that it is much more interesting because in UWC there is a chance to meet international students and enjoy each other’s differences.
Another aspect of school life in Singapore the three brothers felt good about is that apart from academic studies, there is a lot more to the school which broadens the mind.
Adam shared his thoughts about how he liked that it has more interesting activities concerning unity, getting along with other people and caring about others as extracurricular activities.
They each explain their take on the extracurricular activities that the school allows them to partake in such as the Global Concern (GC) and aids provided for the Unprivileged Children of Vietnam (UCOV).
Hugo and Adam, who are involved in the GC, explained that they help organise events and programmes to raise funds from which profits will be donated for relief funds in Vietnam.
Being part of the UCOV, Karl explained that the UCOV initiative host different events in school which not only create a platform for hidden talents to shine but also helps those in need in Vietnam.
“We put together events like “UWC’s Got Talent” where students can buy tickets to watch other students perform and the collection is given to a special home or school for those who don’t have a family or cannot afford to go to school there,” he said.
Apart from the activities, the boys have the same opinion about the school and its staff, wide variety of food and its facilities.
The teachers here are also very good. It’s a nice campus with good facilities like the tennis court and swimming pool and it keeps expanding.
It was not surprising when the boys related their perception of Asia prior to moving.
“I thought it was going to be with more houses and buildings, much less greenery,” said young Hugo.
Adam, on the other hand, did not expect Singapore to be as developed as it was.
“You would notice how developed Singapore really is, especially when you have been living here,”he said.
About missing home, Karl said that there are certain aspects of it that they miss.
“I think we miss our friends the most. In Sweden, we had many, many friends so that’s what I miss the most,” said Hugo.
Adam said that through social networking sites and video conferencing engines, they are able to keep in touch with their friends in Sweden.
When it came to with making friends and mingling with their school mates, the boys admitted that it was not a concern. However, there had been one persisting issue.
“The language barrier was the initial challenge because when we first arrived we did not speak as good English as we do now so,” said Karl.
“Making friends was not as challenging as getting used to the language because as I said before, Singaporeans are generally very friendly and so that wasn’t a problem at all,” Adam continued.
The Bocker brothers do not know when they are due to move and although they would miss their friends here, they will leave with another great experience to hold on to.
Read also the profile here: United World College South East Asia in Singapore