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What truly matters? What makes us happy? Where do we find meaning? In a new two-part course titled, ‘The Imperfect Art of Living’ and ‘The Imperfect Art of Leading’, students explore concepts such as belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence as part of the UWCSEA High School Learning Programme. They consider the research that has been done in the fields of psychology, sociology and cognitive science that build theories related to leading a meaningful life. They apply what they already know about living with meaning to the role of leadership, exploring a variety of leadership styles and concepts such as ego, the nature of truth, culture, and rational compassion.

Students explore various philosophies, connect theory to personal experiences, and collaborate on problem-solving challenges aimed at creating positive change and a fulfilling life. This course is holistically assessed twice a year based on a ‘Mastery Rubric’, and the students report grade is reflected on their High School transcript. 

Creating Cultures 

In this course, UWCSEA students connect with other students from international schools through online meetings. Their discussions include diverse perspectives, personal stories, and ideas from individuals worldwide, fostering a personal connection while also developing essential life skills such as presenting and effective communication. Grade 10 students, Elsa and Vincent, were both drawn to the course’s global exposure.

Vincent shares, “Throughout the course, I’ve engaged with students from around the world, bridging cultural gaps and sharing life experiences, which is part of UWCSEA’s Mission to foster connections across diverse backgrounds. Through these interactions, I’ve realised the universal nature of our challenges and the importance of empathy and connection in our journey through life.”

Similarly, Elsa, who has been at UWCSEA since Infant School, had this to say about the course; “‘The Imperfect Art of Living’ is a course that has pushed me to further my understanding of myself and others. Life offers an infinite number of opportunities, but you must be willing to open yourself up to them even if that is uncomfortable.”

She adds, “Throughout my journey at UWCSEA, some of the values that have stood out to me are empathy, reflection, creativity and a sense of community. UWCSEA consistently reinforces these values and ideals, countering societal pressures that may discourage diverse perspectives. In this course, I’ve found a safe space of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints, free from self-doubt. Our unity amidst diversity reflects the mission to make education a unifying force across cultures and nations.”

Creating Purpose 

Both Elsa and Vincent have practically applied their learning in the second part of the course ‘The Imperfect Art of Leading’, which encourages students to initiate leadership projects aligned with their interests, fostering a sense of belonging and purpose. 

For example, Elsa and classmate Ray have kickstarted a UWCSEA Service peer-to-peer coaching Service, for students needing support in specific areas. This peer coaching Service has helped to remove learning barriers for some students, encouraging ‘connection’ over ‘competition’. With over 25 student coaches actively participating, the initiative emphasises the significance of community-building and student agency.

Vincent, a residential boarder and recent transfer to UWCSEA’s Foundation IB programme understands the challenges of adapting to a new environment and sustaining relationships despite geographical distance. He actively engages in the Magical Murals Service group collaborating with other students to design and paint murals on campus and in external locations in Singapore. Students in the Service group have contributed to a community public art project at Marina Bay, in collaboration with Artbeatz, and designed and painted a mural at the Institute of Mental Health to brighten up the children’s meeting area. Through community projects, members like Vincent find purpose and connection with others, highlighting the importance of personal contribution in building communities.

Creating an Impactful Future

Together, ‘The Imperfect Art of Living’ and ‘The Imperfect Art of Leading’ as a course offers a match for anyone to light their flame, especially for students transitioning into adulthood. Young adults can grapple with feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about their future; for some students, this course has been invaluable in helping them to facilitate a deeper understanding of themselves and their aspirations.

Like all of the UWCSEA Grade 9 and 10 courses in the High School Learning Programme, this course lays the perfect foundation for students as they prepare to make big decisions about their IB choices and future beyond school. With UWCSEA’s innovative new International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) pilot course, ‘Systems Transformation: Leadership for Change’, the first of its kind in South East Asia, UWCSEA High School students have the unique opportunity to engage in transdisciplinary learning, navigate complex systemic issues and devise innovative and empathetic solutions. 

“The course has taught me about what brings fulfillment and meaning to life. Personally, it’s helped me to decide what things are important to me and my bigger purpose, which has led to me choosing subjects that suit my IBDP package”
Ivy, Grade 10, UWCSEA

“The two-part course helped me develop skills such as independence, collaboration and the ability to ‘think outside of the box’. The capability to reflect on real-world challenges will be an extremely helpful skill for when I begin the IBDP in August, specifically the new Systems Transformation course pathway”, says Elsa, a Grade 10 student at UWCSEA.

Students at UWCSEA will emerge from their four-year High School journey equipped to tackle issues with innovation, empathy, and purpose, and ready to lead impactful change in an ever-changing world. 

UWC South East Asia

 Dover Campus: 1207 Dover Road, Singapore, 139654
 East Campus: 1 Tampines Street 73, Singapore, 528704