UWC experience from a war-torn country
Every Sunday (except one!) over the 2020-21 academic year, Khrystyna logged in at 9 AM Ukrainian time for her ISAKx classes: “Society & Politics” and “Exploring Leadership.”Despite the sounds of interspersed missiles and explosions in her hometown of Lviv, Ukraine, Khrystyna took the time to tell us about her ISAKx experience.
She was deeply involved in the program. She went to classes, completed her readings and assignments and engaged in her ISAKx discussion-based lessons. She relished the opportunity to converse on the world’s most significant issues with a diverse group of young minds worldwide. And through the challenges, like her commitment, her smile never wavered.
Today, equipped with the experience she gained through ISAKx, Khrystyna is busy preparing for the next step in her education: the UWC Red Cross Nordic high school program.
A life-changing experience –online!
“I’m absolutely grateful that I have been granted this opportunity,” says Khrystyna. “I wouldn’t be in UWC today had I not had this experience. ISAKx changed me so much as a person. It changed me on a theoretical but also a practical level.”
Students often describe UWC ISAK Japan’s programs as “life-changing experiences.” Hearing the same feedback from our newest program—and first online-only program—ISAKx, tells us that we are on track and that ISAKx belongs in the UWC ISAK Japan family of programs.
In our first program year (2020-21), we offered two ISAKx courses: “Exploring Leadership” and “Society & Politics.” Students who responded to a satisfaction survey indicated they were 97% satisfied with their ISAKx experience. Our second year (2021-22) saw us introduce two additional courses (“Science, Progress & Society” and “Climate Change and Biodiversity”), and that figure rose to 100%.
While it will be difficult to improve upon that incredible number, we are continuing to add more courses, flexibility, and other features for 2022-23. Who knows? Maybe we can find a way to go beyond 100% satisfaction. Here is the course line-up for the upcoming ISAKx core program.
- Perspectives in Literature
- Politics, You and Today’s World
- Climate Change and Biodiversity
- Intercultural Understanding and Empathy
- Stories and Self-Exploration
- Science, Progress and Society
- Nature, Language and Society
A story of perseverance
Khrystyna became interested in the UWC mission and values at a young age. She wanted to learn more about the world. To her, Ukrainian education puts too much emphasis on theory and memorization. Instead, UWC’s approach to education attracted her for its focus on extracurriculars and diversity.
Khrystyna hoped to apply to a UWC school through her National Committee in 2019 but was not yet age-eligible. So she searched on her own for UWC schools offering pre-IB programs. The only one she found that offered Financial Aid for grade 10 entries was UWC ISAK Japan. Unfortunately, despite making it to the waitlist, the competitive nature of the application meant that she didn’t get her chance to join the UWC ISAK Japan Class of 2023 as she dreamed.
Despite the disappointment, Khrystyna didn’t let her UWC dream die. After receiving a campaign email from UWC ISAK Japan about ISAKx, she was intrigued. She followed up by joining the ISAKx July info session, and it rekindled her UWC dream. When she learned that ISAKx would also be offering a limited amount of financial assistance, her dream accelerated into a fire. She applied and was accepted on a full scholarship. The ISAKx program and community continued to feed Khrystyna’s UWC fire and inspired her to apply to a UWC high school through her national committee.
Why ISAKx is a life-changing experience
On day one of ISAKx, Khrystyna felt utterly at home. The discussion-based classes allowed her to openly express her thoughts about political situations in countries around the world and hear her international peers’ perspectives. In addition, ISAKx nourished her ability to speak up. “We had to express our opinion and learned that it was safe to do so,” she says. “Now I can speak about any topic. I’m not afraid of expressing my views, however controversial.” But it was no just the communication that changed her. The preparation for each class challenged her to be present, punctual and prepared. As a result, Khrystyna credits ISAKx with making her more mature and responsible.
Before spring 2022, Khrystyna had never ventured outside of Ukraine. For Khrystyna, ISAKx was her gateway to the world. As of May 2022, Khrystyna can now call herself a global traveler after representing Ukraine at the 2022 International Philosophy Olympiad held in Lisbon, Portugal. The Ukrainian Junior Academy of Science selected her to represent Ukraine among 45 participating countries.
In the future, Khrystyna would like to work in movie animation. “I’m definitely an Arts person,” she recalls. Eventually, she hopes to go to countries like China, Taiwan, Korea, or Japan, where the animation industry is bustling.
We look forward to seeing where the rest of her UWC journey will lead her, but we hope she will eventually make it to our campus in Japan!