Alumni: “Our generation was the first one to set foot into this College.”
“I like coming back. It’s always nostalgic – our generation was the first one to set foot into this College. This will always feel special. As for UWC, it never quite leaves you. I’m still in touch with many friends and have – since the Corona crisis – been able to reconnect with lots of former classmates. My advice to recent and future graduates: take in the experiences made at UWC, and then let go. Learn, unlearn and re-learn. New adventures will come, but your experiences will stick for life.”
We love (surprise) visits by our alumni; this time, it was first-generation alumnus Tilmann Herchenröder who stopped by on his Freiburg-trip. Tilmann graduated in 2016, and is currently enrolled at Princeton University, studying economics, humanistic studies, and statistics. Directly after graduating from UWC RBC, he went to live and work for the NGO Tostan in Senegal for a year. His first semester at Princeton was spent reading 60 books over the course of a year, then writing about and reflecting on them. A good transition, he says: “Starting at Princeton straight after my gap year, I initially felt two worlds colliding; first of all, Princeton is very different from UWC. Much bigger, demanding in other ways. Then, life had been a lot more slowly paced in Senegal. Most of the learning took place listening and observing. We lived in host families, I worked – at Princeton, it was back to autonomous studies, being on your own – with thousands of others, as opposed to 200.”
To help younger students master this transition, Tilmann now volunteers as a Residential Advisor, living together with freshman students and supporting them for a year. He has one year to go until he graduates. Future plans involve applying for Master and fellowship programs as well as jobs. “The impact of UWC entails that I reflect a lot on what I want to do with my life; what I want my role to be in times of many challenges and crises. Through Princeton, I am exposed to many different opportunities in academia, the private and the public sector. Having met so many inspiring people during my time at UWC, their stories and paths help me navigate these decisions for my own future.” Due to the corona crisis, he has been back in Germany since March. This is his fourth visit to the College since he graduated.