Written by Yutaro (Class of 2019, Japan)
Boarding life was one thing I looked forward to when I first came to UWC ISAK. Having lived my life only with my family, I was very curious to know how it was like to become independent from my parents and also learn about the lifestyle of multicultural roommates.
Our room is where you can experience the extraordinary as part of your ordinary life at UWC ISAK Japan. It is astonishing to realize that such a diverse group of people from around the world have gathered on a hill in remote Japan to live together for two to three years of their precious teenage lives.
In my room, I can learn as much as I do in my classes. Roommates possess genuine stories that can’t be found in textbooks. It allows me to comprehend the uniqueness of the world. One small conversation might initiate overnight discussions. In my room, it often happens after check-in and I end up pushing my homework towards the deadline or cutting my sleep time, but it feels worth it. More than my roommates’ nationalities, what makes the experience unique is their personalities and characteristics.
Our rooms are a place of powerful diversity. Immersing myself in the extraordinary boarding life at this school made me accustomed to the uniqueness of this world. Getting exposed to various cultural components made me feel that the world is smaller than what I have thought in the past. While I am sipping on my Darjeeling tea, my ‘magnificently talented’ Californian friend is working on his high-tech video project, my Brazilian roommate is listening to Samba, and my Omani friend is on his laptop engaged in an international FIFA match that consists of even more multicultural players from this school. I appreciate that each culture has a distinct presence in our room. Some fear that the word “diversity” neutralizes our cultural identity, but it seems that here, we can be true to ourselves, and still cherish our own cultural heritage.
While many of us are very different, we also share many commonalities; we are a group of teenagers from around the world who were excited to come to UWC ISAK to embrace diversity. There are many challenges, but by being here, we are representing the school as a living definition of diversity, and because of that we can work through challenges together.
I am enjoying my time with my roommates. Everyday is a new discovery. The more I get to know them, the more I am curious. Though we come from different cultural background, having lived in diversity, it makes me think that the power of diversity can transcend beyond borders.
This article first appeared in Catalysm, the student magazine at UWC ISAK Japan.