A one-of-its-kind scholarship
The Nippon Foundation-ISAK Scholarship (日本財団-ISAK奨学金事業) has started when our first batch of students graduated from UWC ISAK Japan in 2017. (Since then, this generous scholarship has helped 25 students from five graduating classes continue their studies in Japan after graduating from UWC ISAK. This scholarship will support our scholars until 2026, when the 5th batch students complete their Bachelor’s degree.
The program aims to help develop students to become catalysts for positive change worldwide, but especially in Asia-Pacific, by providing them with a deep understanding of Japan. And it covers most expenses students face to study here, including tuition, living expenses, housing, etc., and visa-related costs.
Our first batch of Nippon Foundation-ISAK Scholarship alumni graduated from university in 2021. All but one of them stayed in Japan to start their career, and the one alum who had departed is currently aiming to return to Japan to work.
Support through difficult times
The Nippon Foundation was instrumental in helping students during the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the border and related travel restrictions, the Class of 2020 scholars struggled to return to Japan to pursue higher education after leaving upon graduating from UWC ISAK. Thus, the Nippon Foundation and Japanese universities worked closely with us to avoid the same situation in 2021. They supported the students throughout the 2021 summer so they could stay in the country until the start of the academic year.
The choice of staying in Japan after graduation
UWC ISAK Japan scholars strongly engage with Japanese society and culture, and Japan was their absolute first choice for university. They are willing and able to act as a bridge between Japan and their home countries and solve social problems in the future.
This article (in Japanese) takes you through the achievements of our first graduates through this program. Pan Pan (Thailand) learned about education and rural Japan issues such as depopulation through hands-on experience at the University of Okayama. Jaymee (Philippines) pursued political studies at Sophia University to later become a diplomat and serve Japan-Philippines relations. Ashley (Japan/USA) rediscovered her Filipino roots through classes at Waseda University and academic exchange in the Philippines. She actively engaged with contemporary Asian artists. Ata (Afghanistan) worked hard to launch a school in Afghanistan. Lastly, Jim (Somalia) started working at a Japanese company and plans to launch a recruiting agency for young Somalians in the future.
Community after UWC ISAK Japan
After graduating High School, our scholars stay closely in touch with each other, the Nippon Foundation, and UWC ISAK Japan. They meet online or in-person occasionally and share their personal, academic, and professional experiences. Before university graduation, scholars meet again with members of the Nippon Foundation and UWC ISAK Japan to report their achievements in four years.
And, of course, students participate in study trips in Japan. In August 2019, they traveled to Nagoya. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic limited the following trip planned to happen in Tottori. Students finally reconvened in Fukui in March 2022.
Fukui study trip
A group of 9 students, UWC ISAK Japan Community Support Team member Ms. Yuri, and Nippon Foundation representative Ms. Nagakawa all gathered in Fukui. This city is located on the West coast of Japan. It is notably known for its dinosaur fossils and the Tōjinbō cliff range. The region has a strong traditional industry and advanced technology industry and is renowned for its craftsmanship (chopsticks, frames for glasses or cutlery).
On their first day, they visited the Fukui Prefectural Government Office and Fukui’s innovation hub (まちづくりセンター), where they met with local representatives and learned a lot about what Fukui is doing to support its local economy and community.
The next day, students went to the ocean for a beach cleaning and tour with Compath, a local company aiming to preserve the local environment.
On their last day, students visited a traditional paper factory, where the intricate process and beautiful products wowed the students.
While most of our alumni pursue higher education in the US, where there are more scholarships, the Nippon Foundation offered one-of-its-kind support to those who wanted to stay in Japan. Settling here, studying in various cities, and joining their fellow alumni for trips like the Fukui one allowed our alumni to grow and deepen their projects for the future.
When students get off campus and explore the surrounding areas, they discover an entirely different side of Japan, rich in cultural diversity and opportunities. B (Vietnam, Class of 2020) recalls Fukui as a “very meaningful experience.”
One of the Fukui locals currently working at the Nippon Foundation hopes that this is not the end of the journey and that they will come back in the future.
The entire UWC ISAK Japan community expresses sincere gratitude to the Nippon Foundation and the Fukui community for supporting our students beyond UWC ISAK Japan.