Braniqua Miller eager to commence studies in Southern Africa

SAC graduate: Education is anything that you can learn from that changes the way you think or understand something

Braniqua Miller is eagerly anticipating the start of the new year as it will mean she will be departing to commence post-secondary education studies at Waterford Kamhlaba UWC (United World College) of Southern Africa.

The 17-year-old St. Augustine’s College (SAC) graduate has a full scholarship, funded by The Bahamas’ national UWC committee, that will cover two years of study at the institution located in Mbabane, Eswatini.

For now, Miller is enrolled at the University of The Bahamas (UB) on a government grant, owing to the fact that different to all other UWC schools and colleges, the academic year at Waterford Kamhlaba runs January to November; as opposed to starting in September.

“It was suggested by members of the national committee that I enroll at either UB or the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) [in the interim months,]” said Miller. Since she had made application to UB as a graduation requirement, and took the exam, she went with the UB route.

She is taking six courses – psychology, mathematics, English, French, counseling and biology.

With 18 UWC colleges to choose from worldwide, Miller said in applying for the UWC program, she does not remember her exact choices, but remembers giving the UWC committee the option for any placement. She landed Waterford Kamhlaba.

“Hopefully, my studies at UB be compatible with WK as I plan on taking the same courses I take now, along with chemistry and art,” she said.

Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa was founded in 1963 as a response to the separate and unequal educational systems in South Africa.

The school has three unique features – strong relationships with local change-makers (through community service, it has strong relations with local organizations such as the refugee camp and neighborhood care points and children welfare centers); was the first multiracial school in Southern Africa (founded as a direct response to South Africa’s system of apartheid which had racial segregation as a policy and did not allow multiracial school); and is the only UWC school on the South hemisphere calendar (while other UWC schools’ academic years usually run between September and May, Waterford’s follows the South hemisphere norm starting in January).

Miller, who had a 3.25 grade point average (GPA) at graduation from SAC, admits to a rocky start at UB having to begin post-secondary education fully virtual.

“I couldn’t get into the school mindset for a while but, slowly, it is becoming less of a challenge,” she said.

Miller said her recent scores have reflected that she has settled and is doing what she knows she can.

“To me, education is more than just books, notes and teachers. Education is anything that you can learn from that changes the way you think or understand something,” she said.

She aspires to become a physical therapist and have her own practice.

And considering the COVID-19 era in which the world now finds itself, and the effects of the pandemic on medical care, she said her practice would be a place where non and moderately critical patients would be able to access quick care.

As she gears up to commence studies at Waterford Kamhlaba, Miller’s advice to her peers is to always do their best and to seek to manage their time properly.

“It’s going to be hard, especially for 12th graders, as this was probably not the senior experience you thought you was going to have – but after a while, that wouldn’t matter anymore.”

When she is not studying, Miller said she is usually catching up on sleep, binge watching Netflix, or cooking.

The college community that Miller will join in about three months, UWC, is a global movement that makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.

UWC inspires young people to put their talents and energy into social change, no matter which future path they choose. They select promising, passionate students from all over the world, and give them the knowledge, skills and confidence to make a difference.

UWC is made up of 18 schools and colleges on four continents. The majority of them focus on the 16 to 19 age group, studying the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. Each school has its own unique location and character, and is dedicated to nurturing young people’s energy and idealism into empathy, responsibility and lifelong action.

They are deliberately diverse with UWC national committees in over 150 countries and territories and are able to reach and select young people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences. And they are selective, but not exclusive. UWC seeks compassionate, idealistic students who are driven to make the world better, and believe that money should not be a barrier to a good education. More than 80 percent of students selected by UWC national committees receive full or partial financial assistance, funded by supporters.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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