Co-Founder and Chair of the Board
"This past year our entire community has run through a gauntlet. At times it was very painful, but we were able to push through because of the unity of our community and a deeper understanding of how we can strengthen further."
Representative Founder and Board Director
"I am incredibly proud to see how everyone at UWC ISAK Japan is committed to the school's mission and vision. The stories we have heard over the past year about our students and alumni demonstrate perfectly the value of UWC ISAK Japan to society."
Founding Head of School
“Over the past year, our students consistently amazed me by their resilience and ability to turn challenges into opportunities. I am deeply grateful that, despite the challenges we faced as a community, our students and parents continued to believe in UWC ISAK Japan.”
YEAR IN REVIEW
SUMMER SCHOOL 2021
After an interruption in 2020 due to the pandemic, UWC ISAK Japan Summer School resumed in 2021 for an amazing edition with 28 different nationalities represented despite the border restrictions. At Summer School 2021, students engaged in five different classes: Language in a Diverse World, Social Entrepreneurship, Culture, Identity & Diversity, Design Thinking, and Leadership.
Our online program ISAKx was unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic and restarted for a second year with a cohort of 72 students representing 26 different nationalities. Four classes were offered in 2021-2022: Exploring Leadership, Society & Politics, Climate Change & Biodiversity, and Science,Progress & Society.
UWC Day is the annual global celebration of the UWC mission and values, which takes place on 21 September every year to coincide with the UN International Day of Peace. Celebrations took place all over the international UWC movement and beyond around the theme Reimagine Tomorrow.
FALL PROJECT WEEK
The academic school year always starts strong at UWC ISAK Japan and Project Week is a great time for Grade 10 students to bond through leadership and team building activities. This year, students camped at Rising Field and engaged in multiple activities to experience and challenge leadership concepts. Our Grade 11 and 12 students focus on starting and finishing their CAS projects, respectively.
GRADE 11 TRANSFERS
The 2021-22 school year presented challenges that we had never before faced. Japan's pandemic-related border restrictions persisted well into the school year and forced us to make the agonizing decision to transfer our new Grade 11 international students to other schools as the prolonged uncertainty would potentially jeopardize their IB Diploma status. Thanks to an incredible response from the global community of UWC schools, nearly the entire cohort was able to continue their UWC experiences together as one group at UWC Thailand, with the remaining students heading to UWC Robert Bosch College, UWC USA, UWC Mahindra College, and UWCSEA.
This year Winter School gathered 40 students and 17 nationalities total (including the staff). In addition to Design Thinking, students engaged in the following new classes: The Future Change Project and Global Communication. Every afternoon students enjoyed Outdoor Education activities: hiking, ice skating and the king of winter sports in Karuizawa—curling!
International Day was our first chance in 2022 to gather as a community as we celebrated the different national cultures represented within the UWC ISAK Japan community. Students presented their countries through dance, song, art, and, of course, food! Despite a somewhat smaller total number of countries represented, International Day was a complete success.
INTERNATIONAL GRADE 10 STUDENTS ARRIVE!
After many long months of waiting, our international Grade 10 students finally made it to Japan. Their arrival was the culmination of the combined efforts of our administration, faculty, staff, parents, supporters, government, and students and stands as a testament to the resilience of UWC ISAK Japan.
Their arrival had an immediate positive impact on our campus that gave everyone a huge boost as we headed into the final months of the school year.
SPRING PROJECT WEEK
Spring Project Week 2022 saw our Grade 10 students pursue projects of importance to them while our Grade 11s traveled around Japan for their CAS projects. Some ventured to Hiroshima to visit the Governor and learn more about a 24-hour race initiative aimed at bringing awareness to human trafficking. Others went to Okinawa to explore solutions to combat poverty. Some projects even saw our students go overseas, including one student who visited China to learn about how farmers are using drones to support agricultural development.
ZAYED SUSTAINABILITY PRIZE & HANDOVER
Over the years, students at UWC ISAK Japan have been externally recognized by external organizations on a number of occasions. Most recently, our student-led School Sustainability Initiative was awarded the Zayed Sustainability Prize in the Global High School category representing the East Asia and Pacific region. The prize included a $100,000 award that the initiative could go toward's the Initiative's efforts to make UWC ISAK Japan the most sustainable school in Japan. The awards ceremony took place in January, although the project was passed on to future generations of UWC ISAK Japan students in April.
The pandemic had an immeasurable impact on the preceding two-plus years of education, not only at UWC ISAK Japan, but around the world. So, on a beautiful day in late May we celebrated the achievements of the class of 2022. The resilience that they demonstrated during their time at UWC ISAK Japan was nothing short of extraordinary and sets a new standard for future generations of UWC ISAK students.
In total, 71 students graduated in 2022. As they planned for their next steps, they completed in total 572 university applications to schools in 10 countries. Students received 219 offers, 30% of which came from their first choice schools early on in the process. 59 students will be starting university studies in Fall 2022 with 2 students starting in Spring 2023. 10 students choose to do a gap year to explore their projects and interests.
At UWC ISAK Japan, High School is our main program, but thanks to our rapidly expanding Short Programs we are so much more. Beginning with our Summer School, which first started in 2011, we also run a Winter School program (since 2020) and ISAKx, our an exclusively online education platform (since 2020). In total, 192 more students had the opportunity to engage with us through our Short Programs in 2021-22 and we are constantly exploring new horizons to expand access to UWC ISAK Japan education!
For 13-14 years old students
Since 2011, Summer School has pioneered the UWC ISAK Japan approach to education. Over 13 days in late July, we welcome 80 students from around the world to our campus in Karuizawa to explore leadership, culture, identity and more in a diverse environment.
For 14-16 years old students
ISAKx was launched in 2020 in response to the pandemic that saw access to education constrained around the world. ISAKx operates exclusively online and seeks to bring the UWC ISAK Japan approach to education to those who couldn't otherwise attend our programs physically in Japan. The 2021-22 program enjoyed a 100% satisfaction rate from students.
For 12-13 years old students
Winter School is another Short Program that was born during the pandemic. While Summer School 2020 was cancelled, a lot of students still wanted to experience UWC ISAK Japan and so we offered them to come in the Winter instead. And never stopped since!
At UWC ISAK Japan, we encourage our students to be catalysts for positive change in an increasingly complex world. Our environment is deliberately diverse, where students live and learn with people who represent a vast array of backgrounds (socioeconomic, religious, cultural and more) and perspectives. This truly diverse community is made possible through our robust need-based financial assistance program, which provides 70% of our students with monetary support. A significant portion of our scholarships (60% in 2021) is generously funded by the Furusato Nozei (hometown tax) program, which sees 95% of donations go to UWC ISAK Japan scholarships and 5% towards improving education in Karuizawa. We are sincerely grateful for the trust and contributions from all our donors and supporters.
* Our students receive financial assistance fully or partially from Furusato Nozei and other sources.
ZAYED SUSTAINABILITY PRIZE
The amazing School Sustainability Initiative core club won the Zayed Sustainability Prize in the Global High School category representing the East Asia and Pacific region in January. They secured $100,000 to make UWC ISAK Japan more sustainable with 11 bold measures. Now it is up to new UWC ISAK Japan generations to take the green lead.
IMPROVING EDUCATION IN AFGHANISTAN
Ata is working on meliorating education in Afghanistan despite these troubled times. He currently lives in Tokyo surrounded by amazing Japanese mentors and supporters such as Mr. Uchida, President of Hinoki, Co. Ltd. “I am happy I stayed in Japan because I met amazing people,” says Ata with gratitude.
AFTER FUKUSHIMA: WATER SAFETY AND SUSTAINABILITY
Lin (Japan / Class of 2020), got involved as early as her Grade 11 Fall Project Week in the revival of Kamaishi, a small Tohoku town devastated in 2011 and now works there as a Project Coordinator at Atlantic Pacific.
“I don’t think I would have taken this challenge had I not studied at UWC ISAK Japan,” thinks Lin. Going to Kamaishi for this project was her first time going to the Tohoku region, devastated after the March 2011 disaster. And it convinced her that she could already do a lot for local communities.
FROM KARUIZAWA TO PRINCETON DIVISION 1
Don’t mistake his smile for lack of seriousness because Simon (New Zealand / Class of 2022) is laser-focused in everything he does. After three years of dedicated training with local Japanese teams around Karuizawa, Simon is on his way to study at Princeton University and play in its amazing Division 1 volleyball team!
This was not an easy journey and Simon proved us all the extent of his passion and resilience throughout his UWC ISAK Japan years.
“Ironically, if I didn’t come here, I would never have gone on to secure a Division 1 sports opportunity in the US,” recalls Simon. “It wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. But UWC ISAK Japan opens you up not only to consider but also to pursue better opportunities.”
NEW FACULTY & STAFF
Marketing & Communications
UWC ISAK Japan students have been matriculated to the following institutions (Classes of 2017-2022).
University of Melbourne
University of Monash
University of Sydney
Mount AIlison University
University of British Columbia
University of Toronto
The Chinese University of HK
Asia Pacific University
International Christian University
Nagoya University of
Commerce and Business
Shibaura Institute of Technology
Tokyo International University
Musashino Art University
Amsterdam University College
Erasmus University College
Erasmus University, RSM
Radboud University Nijmegen
Technical University Delft
University of Amsterdam
University of Groningen
University of Maastricht
University of Twente
REST OF EUROPE
IE University (Spain)
University CEU Cardenal Herrera (Spain)
University of Mannheim (Germany)
REST OF WORLD
Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)
Flame University (India)
KIMEP University (Kazakhstan)
Mahidol University (Thailand)
NYU Abu Dhabi (UAE)
RMIT University Vietnam (Vietnam)
Sultan Qaboos University (Oman)
Yale NUS (Singapore)
King's College London
SOAS, University of London
Queen Mary University
University College London
University of Bath
University of Bristol
University of Dundee
University of Durham
University of Edinburgh
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
University of Manchester
University of St. Andrews
University of The Arts London
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
College of William and Mary
College of Idaho
College of the Atlantic
Concordia College at Moorhead
Lewis & Clark College
Lake Forest College
Loyola Marymount University
Minerva Schools at KGI
New York University
Nova Southeastern University
Randolph Macon College
Ringling College of Art and Design
Sarah Lawrence College
Savannah College of Art and Design
Santa Clara University
St. Lawrence University
St. Olaf College
The New School
University of Chicago
University of California - Berkeley
University of California - Davis
University of California - Los Angeles
University of Florida
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Maine
University of Oklahoma
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Richmond
University of Rochester
University of Southern California
University of Utah
University of Washington
Wake Forest University
Washington and Lee University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute