Each academic year at UWC Dilijan starts with a CAS fair; this is the day when the whole community gathers in the atrium to choose their field of interest, the one they are ready to contribute to and try making a difference. The whole thing looks like a true fair: students and group supervisors flood the atrium loaded with posters, leaflets and, of course, enthusiasm. Like in any other fair, people needed to promote their goods, which in this case is the CAS; here and there you could see people with their hands imitating a megaphone, touting the audience to come and check out their pavilion. There again, life at UWCD isn’t just about academics. It is largely about delivering students diverse knowledge.
CAS, being the major component of co-curricular activities (that include also Cultural Weekends, Explore Armenia cultural trip programme, Project and Focus weeks), responds to the foremost principle Kurt Hahn, the founder of UWC, valued - learning through experience. As a part of their CAS our students are allowed to enliven their academic studies with a significant contribution to their development as an individual and as a part of a bigger community. Students can either choose whatever field or activity they are interested in or present their own ideas and inspire peers to engage.
This year, as usual, the CAS list includes a variety of activities to everyone’s taste. There are several groups founded by already graduate students, such as Science with Kids and Beekeeping. Also, as a part of the service component UWC Dilijan collaborates with local counterparts such as Orran NGO assisting vulnerable children and families in need, and Bridge of Hope NGO, working in the field of disabilities and human rights. Additionally, UWCD students work with several local kindergartens, teaching the kids English and organising various activities with them. The main objective of this CAS is to teach English and foster interactions with the community in a non-formal, interactive way.
Overall, CAS topics vary from knitting and crocheting to social entrepreneurship and sustainability-related initiatives. Global affairs is another important activity, where our international student body comes together to discuss modern world conflicts and hear personal stories - many of the students come from countries with ongoing armed conflicts.
Each student is supposed to choose 3 activities, one from each component of the CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). Thus, students get the opportunity to evaluate their skills in diverse areas, which is compliant with one of the original goals of the UWC mission to encourage students to challenge themselves outside of the classroom.
At the end of the day, education at UWC is aimed at nurturing individuals, ready to explore their possibilities and risk-takers ready to move out of their comfort zone.