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Interview with Alexandra Fallsen – UWC Mahindra 2023-2025

22 November 2023

Are you curious about what it's like to live and study at a UWC school? Do you want tips on the admissions process? We've interviewed Alexandra Fallsen, who moved from Stockholm to Maharashta, India in August of 2023 to begin her studies at UWC Mahindra. Read more about her experience down below.

Hi Alexandra! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mera naam Alexandra hai! That is "my name is Alexandra" in Hindi! I grew up in Stockholm and my main interests are creative writing, film and animals. Since August of 2023, I am attending school at UWC Mahindra in Maharashtra, India! 

My mother went to UWC Adriatic when she was my age. We never really talked much about her experience so all I knew about UWC was that it was an international boarding school; but it was thanks to mum's teacup with the UWC logo on that I finally decided to do some research on my own and find out what UWC really is and what school my mum actually went to when she was my age. It was one of the best decisions I've made. After reading the first few sentences on the first page, I was completely sold and submitted my
application. I could have never imagined that would result in me going to India! 

This is an after-picture from when we had the "Mud Games". You can barely see me because my face is covered in mud, but I'm standing in the center back.

Can you tell us a little about your school?
Mahindra, or MUWCI as everyone here calls the school, is located in Maharashtra, India, about five hours from Mumbai. We are 240 students from around 80 different countries, and some of our teachers and school staff also live on campus – along with three cats and a bunch of friendly dogs (who often accompany me on the way to the cafeteria).

The school is located on a hill and is covered in greenery. A popular place to go is Internet Hill which is a ten-minute walk from the school grounds. You have to climb a bit, but it's worth it because the view is absolutely fantastic. And if you take one of the hikes that the school organises in the local area, you will see nature like no other!

On campus, we live in what we call Wadas. Wada is a Marathi word for house-with-courtyard typical of Maharashtra, the state where our campus is located. There are a total of five wadas. Each wada consists of a common area and then several cute little houses. The houses are divided into two rooms and a couple of showers and toilets. Around eight people live in each house.

We also have a Social Center with both billiards, table tennis, a TV room, and a Café, and the pool - which is my personal favorite! Nearby is Space, where you can retreat and play a little piano or guitar. Then we have the football and basketball courts, the cafeteria, the Academic Quarters, the main auditorium, the Science Center and the Art Center, where I, as a Film studnet, often spend time editing.

A photo I took on a hike not too far from campus.

What does a typical day at UWC look like for you?
I start my days by getting ready before it's time for my classes. I greet the dogs and those I meet before arriving at the cafeteria to eat breakfast. Breakfast often consists of some form of cereal or muesli, fruit, sandwiches and fried eggs, but they also serve hot Indian breakfasts. After drinking my last drops of Chai, I run off to my first class.

In the morning, we have four lessons with a coffee break in between. Then we have lunch around 13. My six IB subjects are Film, Self-taught (Swedish), Environmental Systems & Societies, Global Politics, Math AI SL and English Language and Literature. My favourite subject is probably film. I have always loved film and the film teacher is very committed to the subject.

In the afternoons, I usually either chill or study in my room or find something to do with others – like going to the pool – in case I don't have CAS activities that day. For example, I am learning Hindi as part of CAS at the moment, where we are also learning about the history of India and the many different cultures of the country, which is very interesting. At 7PM, it is time for dinner and after that I usually either study, hang out with my friends or call home, and then go to bed after writing a few pages in my diary.

Our wonderful pool!

What do you think are the biggest differences between UWC and a Swedish school?
There are many differences between my school experience in Sweden and at UWC – of course, for me, the climate and food are very different. But the most meaningful difference is probably that I get to hang out with people from so many different cultures and backgrounds. After being here for only six months, I already feel that my world view has expanded.

Some days I feel that the world is sometimes too big to understand, but at the same time, it feels so much closer. Things I hear on the news no longer stay on the TV screen, but I see how it affects people around me.

Attending UWC has been a change in lifestyle. Now that I no longer have to commute an hour to and from school by public transport, it is harder to separate everything. Here, school, home, activities and friends are part of one and the same. It can be overwhelming at times, but also so much fun!

This is from a Hindu celebration called Ganesha Chaturthi where, among other things, we threw a kind of red powder at each other. It stayed on our clothes and in our hair for several days. It was very fun!

Who do you think should apply to UWC?
Anyone who wants to!

I haven't even been at MUWCI for a whole semester but I have thought, reflected, discovered and understood more than I ever have before in such a short period of time.

I've been faced with things I hadn't expected and there have been periods when I just want to go home to my special corner on the sofa and hug my dog. But in the next moment I am reminded of how much I enjoy being here!

I am infinitely grateful to be able to go to school here, and it is an opportunity and experience I think everyone should have.

What tips do you have for those applying to UWC?
Be open-minded, listen and be open to change!

My tip for the interview process is to be honest, rather than saying what you think the interviewers want to hear. It can also be easy to romanticise UWC. It's true that it's great, but there will be hard times too, just like everything else in life.

Another tip is to choose subjects you are interested in, because it makes things much easier. Don't stress about academics, because it is far from everything – and you will be fine.

UWC is amazing! Apply and see what happens!

Good luck!

Are you interested in experiencing the UWC life for yourself? The application for studies at UWC during 2024 – 2026 is open until December 15, 2023. Apply through our application portal: