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Penticton teen to study in African kingdom at United World College – Okanagan

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A Penticton teenager will embark on the educational adventure of a lifetime in the new year.

Harper Doull, 17, has been accepted into United World College’s (UWC) prestigious two-year International Baccalaureate diploma program.

She is the only Canadian student assigned to Waterford Kamhlabla UWC in Mbabane, Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).

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Eswatini is one of the smallest countries in Africa, tucked between South Africa and Mozambique. It will be a 30 hour trip.

Unknown to Harper at the time she applied, her application to Pearson College in Victoria on Vancouver Island was sent to the 18 educational facilities around the world that offer the program.

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“It was just surreal,” she said of receiving the phone call about her acceptance and, in particular, where she was going. “It didn’t really feel real and still isn’t and it probably won’t hit me until I get there.

“It really is a great achievement, it was a lot of work.”


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The goal of the program is to challenge students and get them out of their comfort zone and make them become lifelong learners.

The UWC operates schools on four continents and graduates of the program are almost guaranteed a scholarship to universities in North America and Europe.

The entire UWC organization has also been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

Harper grew up in Penticton and attended Naramata Elementary School, KVR Middle School and Penticton High School and spent her senior year at UNISUS School in Summerland.

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The criteria for being chosen include not only academic skills, but also a willingness to go out into the community to help others and a commitment to fitness, and Harper fits the bill.


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She is a former Critteraid volunteer, is a Certified Wilderness Responder, and loves to work out at the gym and go for a run. She also works part-time at the Just Baked coffee shop in Naramata.

What are you looking forward to the most?

“Meeting new people for sure,” said Harper, who is still considering her options for life after school. “This kind of traveling and learning about new places is going to be amazing.

“I didn’t expect to get into (the program) just because there are so many amazing kids who applied as well.”

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Harper isn’t nervous about going so far from home, but she will definitely miss her family and friends.

“It is inevitable that I leave; It was going to happen and this is going to be great and traveling to other places is an education in itself.”

The school semester in the city you go to runs from mid-January to mid-November.

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