In the midst of the dreaded week long fourth week, a small group of students paused to celebrate their alma mater with “The UWC Spirit,” a documentary profiling the United World Colleges.

The film highlights four of the fourteen UWC schools but aims to highlight the inherit “spirit” that runs through all of the schools and students around the world. Today, there are schools in fourteen different countries with over 50,000 alumni to date. This large network started in 1962 with the UWC Atlantic College in South Wales in an effort to bring together students from around the world during Cold War political conflict.

At Colorado College, there are over 50 students who have graduated from UWC. They come from all over the world and attended a variety of different UWC schools from Singapore to Swaziland. The event, hosted by UWC Atlantic alum Erica Jamieson, was held on the world premiere date for the movie, so even though it is available free to all on Vimeo, none of the CC students had seen it yet.

Their mission states: “UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.” Values like these permeate the culture of the UWC schools, and filmmaker Andrés Broennimann aims to share the unique essence of the experience with the world.

Photo by Niyanta Khatri
Photo by Niyanta Khatri

Broennimann nurtured his passion for filmmaking while he was a student at UWC Costa Rica. Each UWC school host students for the last two years of high school. During these years, the students are required to take part in a program entitled CAS: creativity, action, service. The system requires students to explore a diverse range of interests so they must take part in something athletic, creative and community service oriented during their two years.

Unsatisfied by the offerings, Broennimann started a film program for his creative project. During his two years, he made two different films and decided to continue his passion after graduation. The impact of UWC on his life is evident in his choice to make this documentary. This movement was not just started by one kid who really liked his international boarding school ,but rather a part of every alum of the colleges, making the film a much more powerful statement about UWC.

The documentary displays expertise and depth beyond Broennimann’s years. It is an incredible glimpse into a movement and a world that so many know so little about. Sitting in the audience, the seats were filled with nostalgic UWC alumni, whispering about seeing a friend in the movie or sharing excitement to see their old campus.

Photo by Niyanta Khatri
Photo by Niyanta Khatri


The film highlighted the stories of several students. Most of them concerned overcoming hardships and understanding differences. From clashing cultures to escaping poverty, the narrative was poignant and powerful. Even if they were far from the stories of many of the other UWC students, Broennimann aimed to enchant the audience with the UWC “spirit” bring people of all different backgrounds together and send them into the world with a different perspective.

Regardless of your association to UWC, “The UWC Spirit” offers a look into a movement that everyone should know about. This film is inspiring, informative and tells an intriguing story. Watch the film for free here:

The UWC Spirit (Full Documentary) from Andres Broennimann on Vimeo.

Leave a Reply