UWC Atlantic College at a glance
Nationalities represented by students at UWC Atlantic college
UWC Atlantic College graduates that have received needs-based Davis UWC scholarships to study at USA universities
Global body of students educated annually from over 90 nationalities and cultures
Global alumni network from over 100 countries
“The ideas of social justice, a commitment to environmental conservation and the impact of technology to transform society were imparted on me at UWC. I am committed to leaving a legacy of integrity, environmental awareness, issue based politics and technology development. These were imparted during my formative years at the UWC Atlantic College.”
Nathan Wangusi, (Kenya, UWC Atlantic College, 2001-2003)
Research Scientist, IBM Research - Africa
The education provided is rigorous and demanding, designed to help our students evolve into the next generation of political, business, academic, cultural, and not-for-profit leaders and activists - individuals who understand that change is possible through skilled dialogue, courageous action and a determination to make situations better.
UWC’s founding college; UWC Atlantic College was designed to promote international understanding through education since its foundation in 1962. The college was founded by German educationalist Kurt Hahn. The original concept of learning through shared experience remains at the core of UWC today and the humanitarian vision of its founder, the education pioneer Kurt Hahn, lives on at its castle campus on the picturesque Welsh coastline, as does the daily pursuit of UWC’s mission to make education a force for peace and a sustainable future.
UWC Atlantic College provides a platform for young individuals to learn through shared experience and be empowered to make a positive difference. UWC Atlantic College was influential in the creation of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme and was the first school in the world to drop a national curriculum and offer only the IB.
UWC Atlantic College’s 8000+ alumni come from all corners of the world. They are captains of industry, engineers, economists, artists, doctors, and teachers. They are activists, idealists, and action-takers. Scattered around the globe, they are part of a 60,000 member global UWC alumni community. Internationally minded and socially aware, they all share a determination to make a positive difference, with over 75% eventually returning to their country of origin to make an impact. No matter where our alumni live or work, they bring the UWC values and mission to every aspect of their lives, from raising compassionate children and lobbying for change in their communities to leading enterprises in every part of the world.
Three Unique Features
- Historic Heritage – UWC Atlantic College is based in a 12th century castle on the Donat’s Castle on the dramatic coast of South Wales, overlooking the Bristol Channel, in the United Kingdom.
- Atlantic Diploma course – The College offers a challenging, internationally focused, broad and balanced educational experience with an emphasis on service and leadership that goes way beyond formal teaching and prepares students for life beyond the classroom. The Atlantic Diploma sees students divide their time between academic IB Diploma Programme studies and a series of UWC mission-focused experiential activities. The dual aspects of the Diploma are designed to equip each student with the ability, drive and confidence to effect positive change in their communities throughout the world, particularly in the fields of peace, social justice and sustainability.
- Empowerment – Students come to the College with a vision and graduate empowered to make a positive difference in the world. Each term, the college hosts conferences and workshops on aspects of our mission, some two or three days long, including sustainability, a key aspect of the UWC mission where students focus on the environmental challenges our world faces. Graduates progress to the best universities in the UK, the US and around the world.
UWC Atlantic College is UWC Atlantic College is set in the 12th century St Donat’s Castle, based on the southern coast of Wales overlooking the Bristol Channel, in the United Kingdom. The large town of Bridgend and Wales’ capital city, Cardiff, are in fairly close proximity, meaning that the College is located within easy access of many major transport links including bus, rail and air travel.
St Donat’s Castle estate has some 60 hectares, 20 of which are woodland, 20 of which comprise the college farm and a further 20 in gardens and amenity areas. St Donats is a small village and community in the Vale of Glamorgan in south Wales, and is set in picturesque countryside. The community includes the village of Marcross and the hamlets of Monknash and East and West Monkton.
Campus and Facilities
The medieval St Donat’s Castle houses classrooms, a performance hall, dining hall and a library collection of more than 25,000 volumes in a variety of languages. Also on campus are student residency houses, well-equipped science laboratories, computer facilities, music practice rooms, a theatre, a student social centre and an independent arts centre.
Since the 1970’s when UWC Atlantic College was the first school in the world to adopt the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which it helped to develop, as its sole syllabus, it has been actively involved in the development of further IB syllabi. Teaching staff have pioneered new classes such as Environmental Systems, Political Thought, World Religions and Peace and Conflict studies.
The campus also houses an independent arts centre of national renown where students can participate in activities for their own pleasure or as part of their community service programme.
Also located on campus is the Extra Mural Centre (EMC), where students teach demanding outdoor activities and skills to some 3000 disadvantaged or disabled visitors each year.
UWC Atlantic College is set in the 12th century St Donat’s Castle, a particularly unusual campus setting, hosting larger assembly and classrooms.
The student community is distributed across eight purpose-built boarding houses, accommodating approximately 48 students each, with separate male and female corridors. Generally, four students from the same year group, each of different nationality, share a room. All students are under the care of houseparents, who live in adjacent homes and spend a great deal of time interacting and supporting the students.
Campus facilities include:
- The Bradenstoke Hall used for assemblies and concerts,
- The Hearst’s Banqueting, Dining hall
- The Agatha Christie Library,
- The Moondance Sports Hall and Social Centre
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and
- Classrooms within historic buildings.
In the Classroom
The College curriculum is made of two distinct parts: the Atlantic pre-Diploma programme of Cambridge IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) and the Atlantic Diploma.
The Atlantic pre-Diploma is a one-year course, suitable for 15-16 year-olds, introducing students to UWC’s transformative educational experience. Students develop core learning skills that provide preparation for the IB, A Levels and Higher Education study; they improve their understanding of a range of subjects at IGCSE level; and gain advance English language skills for academic learning. The programme may lead students to complete a two-year International Baccalaureate programme, but can also be completed separately.
The Atlantic Diploma, suitable for 16-19 year-olds, has two parts: the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) curriculum, and a co-curricular programme of experiential learning that focuses on key aspects of peace, social justice and a sustainable future. Students are required to follow a broad curriculum across eleven faculties. Seven faculties provide a disciplinary framework for the IBDP and, alongside standard courses, offer Chinese, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Social and Cultural Anthropology, World Religions, Music and Systems and Societies. A further four faculties are experiential in nature and offer in-depth understanding and a practical engagement with the College‘s vision and values.
Outside the Classroom
The co-curricular programme includes four experiential faculties – Environmental, Global, Social Justice, Outdoor – that allow students to engage in discovery, determine their own pathways, confront risk and overcome the possibility of failure in order to know their own strengths and fallibilities as well as their role in the common cause.
Each faculty has two areas: primary delivery, which contains the community engagement programme, and secondary delivery, which contains four defining features (activities, student initiatives, mission focus periods and project period). Students joining the environmental faculty, for instance, work on projects like cultivating the on-campus kitchen garden, running the farm and conserving the heritage coastline the college calls home. Activities include alternative technology projects, recycling schemes, species monitoring, marine diving and engaging in maritime environmental-awareness campaigns.
UWC Atlantic College Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Conference
As with all the UWC schools and colleges, service is a key part of the ethos and students at UWC Atlantic College have some unique opportunities to help others and learn about themselves. On account of the college’s coastal location, students can train to become full members of rescue services such as beach Lifeguards and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and be a part of the Marine Environment Monitoring Service. There is an RNLI station on campus with students and staff providing 24 hour sea rescue for the local area. It was here that the Rigid-hulled inflatable boat was designed, developed and named ‘Atlantic’ after the College.
Project weeks include cultural visits to: Palestine, Israel, Jordan, the lifeguard Project in West Wales, Auschwitz, Pilgrim Walk in Spain, working in schools and language trips to: Spain, France and Germany.
In addition to community service, students also enjoy a wide range of extracurricular activities, lectures and debates that help to develop lively, critical and informed minds. Weekly music concerts, national cultural evenings, visiting speakers, and student debates on international issues enrich the experience and reflect the diverse cultures represented at the college.
UWC Atlantic College Alumni
UWC Atlantic College’s 8000+ alumni come from all corners of the world. They are captains of industry, engineers, economists, artists, doctors, and teachers. They are activists, idealists, and action-takers. Scattered around the globe, they are part of a 60,000 member UWC alumni community. Internationally minded and socially aware, they all share a determination to make a positive difference, with over 75% eventually returning to their country of origin to make an impact.
No matter where our alumni live or work, they bring the UWC values and mission to every aspect of their lives, from raising compassionate children and lobbying for change in their communities to leading enterprises in every part of the world.
Students apply through their UWC national committee. The College also accepts direct applications, if students do not meet the national committee criteria or are applying for the Atlantic pre-Diploma. For more information, visit: www.atlanticcollege.org/admissions/
Meet some of the staff members here.
Meet the Head of College here.