The close-knit residential community at UWC ISAK Japan does not just consist of staff, students and faculty, but also their families! The youngest members of our community are a special part of the UWC ISAK family!
When school lets out in the afternoon, students often find ways to say hello or stop and play with the little ones who always seem to be more than happy to iteract with their big brothers and sisters. Faculty meetings are also brightened up when a surprise visitor arrives from daycare.
For Mrs. Earwood, who will be expecting her first child in February, seeing how children are such an integral part of the entire community is of great comfort and support to her. Initially, she was worried about navigating her pregnancy in a country where she did not speak the language, but she soon found that the local staff were more than happy to help with booking hospital appointments and translating, while students would often ask after her and help to carry items.
“The community is always interested to find out how the baby is developing and excited about her arrival, which makes us even more excited. Our baby has received prayer flags and other blessings from students from many different cultural backgrounds. She will be very lucky to be surrounded by such a diverse and caring group!”
– Mrs. Earwood, Residential Life
Raising children here has proven to be both an interesting and rewarding experience for a few of our faculty. Mr. Sgarbossa described it as a ‘great adventure’ because their son, Filippo, gets exposed to so many cultures, and gets to hear Japanese, Italian and English on a daily basis. He shared that at times, it was challenging because neither he nor Ms. Corrias is Japanese, and being the first couple in the community in this situation, they had to learn (and are still learning) how to navigate the system. Yet, this was all made easier, he explained, by the many people in the community who were happy and willing to help, and he is thankful for them.
“We feel the students on campus are like older brothers and sisters for Filippo, they enjoy interacting with him, and we hope they will also serve as role models for him. One fun fact in the context of the larger Karuizawa community is that when we go out, a lot of people we don’t know greet Filippo and call him by name (perhaps this is because he is one of the few foreign kids and the only blondie at his daycare)!”
– Mr. Sgarbossa, English faculty member
Similarly, Mr. Goodwin found that raising his twins here has been beneficial for them. He explained that when Noah and Zoya first arrived on campus, they were rather shy, but after spending time around all of the students, they began to interact more. Now, they can often be seen going on walks and happily meeting their big brothers and sisters! He also shared that having their own children involved in advisory has been incredibly helpful in creating a family atmosphere for the students.
“Having kids around is very refreshing. It is not unusual to get caught up in routine, work and obligations, and seeing kids laughing and playing around generate small moments of joy and happiness!”
– Angeles (Class of 2018, Venezuela)