Info Sessions VR campus tour Admissions Apply Online Visit Close
中文 Contact Employment
Donation School Calendar Visit
How can there be peace without people understanding each other, and how can this be if they don’t know each other?

Lester B.Pearson

Early supporter of Pearson College, former Prime Minister of Canada, and Nobel Peace Laureate

The striking feature of the UWC is that they embrace the entire world. They are unique and they are conscious of their responsibilities.

Nelson Mandela

Late Honorary President of UWC, Former President of South Africa

We have realized our dream to create a dream school for you. Please go out and realize your dream and other’s dreams.

Wesley Chiu,

Member of UWC National Committee of China, board member of UWC Changshu China

The sense of idealism and a purposeful life really makes the UWC experience unique and its impact life-long.

Wang Yi

Co-Founder, Vice Chairman of Board and Executive Director of Harvard Centre Shanghai. Pearson 89-91

UWC was one of the ten members of the international schools association that created the International Baccalaureate Organization in Geneva in 1963 … today, they are taken in over 4,000 schools worldwide and have become the gold standard for university entrance.

Sir John Daniel

Chair of UWC International Board and International Council 

I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial and above all, compassion.

Kurt Hahn

German Educator, Founder of United World Colleges

An Undefeatable Spirit, an unforgettable Mogan Mountain Hike

Issue date:2017-12-29

 On the night of 8th of December, 26 students from 26 countries and two faculties who share the same passion with Kurt Hahn embarked on a journey for a two days and two nights hiking and camping trip in Mogan Mountain at Deqing County. This has been a challenge, and probably, the one of the toughest adventure for some of us.

One reason for me to know that UWC is my ideal school, is the UWC founder, Kurt Hahn’s passion towards outdoor adventures and his philosophy on the significance of experiential education.  Kurt Hahn himself is also the founder of Outward Bound, a non-profit outdoor-education organization that promotes personal growth and social skills through expeditions.  UWC education also encourages students to engage in outdoor activities, go beyond their comfort zone and be adventurous.

On the night of 8th of December, 26 students from 26 countries and two faculties who share the same passion with Kurt Hahn embarked on a journey for a two days and two nights hiking and camping trip in Mogan Mountain at Deqing County. This has been a challenge, and probably, the one of the toughest adventure for some of us.


Excitement right before hiking (Author: second from left in the first row)  

Kurt Hahn once said, “I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion.”  Although our expedition only lasted for the weekend, we all walked away as a stronger person, both mentally and physically, through our experience of developing the five qualities stated in Hahn’s quote.

An Enterprising Curiosity

Our preparation for this adventure was full of excitement. We all have been on long hikes up mountains, but most of us never experienced hiking with heavy gears and rucksacks that could go up to 15kg. What we did not know is that this made a huge difference in the difficulty level of the hike.

We were also curious on how we were going to survive two days and two nights by “showering” ourselves with baby wipes, and going to the toilet in an open space. It was a whole new experience for me as someone who really loves hot showers. Although it felt a little uncomfortable, I am glad to say that we, as a group, have saved approximately 4,640 gallons of water (80gallons x 2 days x 28 people) throughout our trip! Hurray for a sustainable future!

Enjoying the hike even with the heavy rucksack and gear

An Undefeatable Spirit

Before we even started our hike up Mogan Mountain, the first night had casted doubts on some of us on whether we would want to continue sleeping in tents for two nights in a row. We camped by the streets that night, with a temperature  of - 3°C. The tents we used were made of thin materials only suitable in the season of summer and spring, and the ground we slept on was freezing cold. While I was awoken by the coldness in the middle of the night, I could see both my tent mates curled up like balls and shivered non-stop.

In the morning, we were given a choice if any of us would like to stay in a hotel for the night instead of camping out in the cold after the day’s hike. Nobody said “yes”, but there were a couple of “I’m not sure”. However, by the time we reached the peak at around 2pm, when the same question was put forward, nobody wanted to go back down and stay in a comfortable bed at a hotel with heater. We know we were going to camp in a colder place as we were 2000 metres above sea level, but our spirits were not bothered by the weather, as the song “Let It Go” says, “The cold never bothered me anyway.”

In the cold, our minds worked hard for survival. We came up with a better plan for the second night. Instead of three in a tent, we fit four to share our body heat, and we also layered ourselves in all the clothes we had. To our surprise, we had a great sleep, without feeling any coldness.


Group photo

Tenacity in Pursuit

The hike was intense, especially during the first day, when most of the hike was uphill,steps after steps, slopes after slopes. To finish this 36.2km hike, we needed determination and tenacity. At times, I wanted to give up. As I am flat footed, my feet hurt every time I took a step, and my body that were supposed to support the rucksack on my back could not hold the weight any longer, causing my back and shoulders to hurt too. I started to use my weak thighs as an excuse because I have just only recovered from my knee surgery half a year ago. But I did not come this far to give up. I kept telling myself that the reason I came here was to challenge myself and make this one of my proudest moment in life. Now, I am proud to say, I DID IT!

Enjoy the beautiful scenery at the peak after a long hike 

Readiness for Sensible Self Denial

One of the students put out  three rules on the topics of our conversations throughout our trip.

1. No college applications (it was the season for second years to apply to colleges)

2. No classes

3. No school policies

It was my favourite set of rules throughout my 19 years of life. As a second year, my academic life has become tougher than before, although it was still manageable, breaking our connections with academic related topics for a while allowed us to reflect on ourselves and remind ourselves that there is always something to enjoy about, if we are willing to take out some of our time in our life to explore the surroundings.

In this current technologically advanced era, our necks are always bending downwards, while our hands are constantly stuck to our gadgets. By refraining ourselves from using social media, we were able to fully appreciate both nature and the amazing people we are surrounded by.  

Enjoy the friendship and discover the beauty of nature


Last but not least, what completed this trip was the “compassion” quality everyone had. Compassion here does not mean to feel sympathy for one another’s pain in the expedition, but the warmth, love, and kindness everyone possessed and shared with one another to motivate and support each other throughout the entire adventure.

Marius helping out a member

Everyone contributed to the team with both mental and physical support. Members shared their limited supply of food and cuddled together in the cold to keep each other filled and warm. Marius from Moldova, who organized the trip with Katrine, once said, “There’s no leader, we’re a team.” He was definitely someone who had the capability to hike up faster than anyone else, but he stayed behind to make sure everyone was catching up with the team, and if we stopped, he would wait and motivate us to finish what we have started.  During meals, Marius boiled water for us to drink and to make hot tomato sauce for our cold pasta, while he himself had none. Johnathan from the States carried two rucksacks for a day and a half because one of the members sprained her ankle. Everyone’s selfless acts made this a much more memorable adventure. 

This year’s Christmas gift of joy and warmth came early. I think that students should have more opportunities made available for them to experience such adventure into the wild to build on their personal growth and expand their knowledge of basic survival skills. Expeditions like this give us great time to reflect on ourselves and others and should be encouraged in the community, just like how UWC USA have Wilderness Program which gives students a platform to participate and design their own adventure into nature every semester.

Written by:Yueh Qi Chuah, DP2, Media Group

Photo by: Yueh Qi Chuah, DP2

              Steve Wang, DP1

Copyright © 2016 UWC Changshu China. All rights reserved. ©2016 常熟世联高级中学