Reporting live from a laundry room at UWC ISAK Japan, Marie (Class of 2020, France) and Apoorba (Class of 2018, India) had a great chat about all things UWC ISAK and beyond. Hailing from the vineyards of the French countryside, coming to UWC ISAK was a big step for Marie. Attending a UWC had been her dream since she was in 5th grade and now that she has become a part of the UWC ISAK community, she feels this is exactly where she wants to be. She immerses herself in many different activities, but Outdoor Education takes the top spot. While she still feels she needs to find her footing entering the academic and social life of ISAK, she finds the community (including the alumni) have already made her feel at home.
What has surprised you about UWC ISAK? Has it met your expectations?
An aspect of UWC ISAK that immediately met my expectations was the students’ relationship with the teachers. The teachers at UWC ISAK are just amazing and I love that I can approach them so easily and have a friendly relationship with them. Something I didn’t expect was all the opportunities that the school offers and it has blown me away. This weekend, I going to TED-Ed Tokyo and then I am going for a 2-day first aid training with my OED team. Something always keeps popping up and I find it incredible how much the school supports us. In my previous school, it was impossible to start a project or even think about making change, but at UWC ISAK, it is really easy to get the support to bring about change.
How do you like the residential life? Is it easy to get along with everyone?
Being the oldest out of five siblings in the family, for me, laundry and other everyday tasks weren’t difficult. But back in France, I had a whole room for myself and here I have roommates. I love having roommates but sometimes I want to wake up whenever I want or sleep whenever I want or play music or be loud. I really like having my roommates but I feel like I still need to adjust to it.
How do you like Karuizawa?
I haven’t been off-campus much except when hiking with OED, which has shown me how beautiful and colorful the nature, the mountains and the forests of Karuizawa are! As for the town itself, having heard so much from the seniors, I am excited to explore some more.
Besides OED, what other clubs do you take part in?
Besides OED, I am in the TED-Ed club, tea ceremony, BASS club (music production), volleyball, badminton, and library club but there are so many more interesting ones I want to explore. I’ll have to go with volleyball as my favourite club because before joining the team, I had never played the sport before. Trust me, I am the worst one in there, but the team is so welcoming and supportive. I would make a mistake and the entire team would cheer me on, “Go, Marie! It’s okay you got this, keep going!” which makes me feel like we are all part of one family.
How is your experience with the academic environment of UWC ISAK?
IB is so different from the French education system. In France, they would ask you to memorize everything by heart. They don’t care about what you think, they just want you to understand someone else’s opinions. But here, my ideas and opinions matter and it’s amazing even though I am really not used to it. So it’s taking me some effort to be able to express myself more in the classroom and beyond, but I really do love this and my subjects. I know I haven’t reached the difficult part of IB with all the IAs and the EE but at the moment, I am really enjoying this.
It might be too early to tell, but where do you want to head after UWC ISAK?
I honestly don’t know because UWC ISAK has opened so many doors for me that I don’t know what I want to keep as hobbies and what I want to turn into a career. Right now, I am into arts and literature and global politics. In the duration of my UWC ISAK experience, I hope to figure out both my interests and myself more deeply.
What do you think about the UWC ISAK community?
I feel so loved and welcomed into UWC ISAK. Not just the immediate community but beyond. Even before coming to UWC ISAK, I received some help with my subject choices. (Fun fact: the student who helped Marie out was in fact Apoorba, who encouraged her to take Music HL.) Here, I feel my house itself is a community and the support we show for each other’s experiences and opinions makes me feel more confident in expressing my own. So I look forward to the rest of my UWC ISAK life and after talking to you, I feel even more excited about what the future holds.