95 participants from 19 countries and territories joined together in Karuizawa for ISAK Summer School 2013. Following is a selection of the comments we received from students after the program.
- Thomas Chu-Yuan Wang
- Emily Uematsu
- Anna Yoko Suzuki Ozaeta
- Yashwini Selvaraj
- Rex Ryunosuke Kingston
- Keito Nishii
- Ysabella Bride Conway
- Tenzin Norzom
Thomas – Taiwan
I love how ISAK has the ability to find the perfect balance- weaving between creative thinking and academic performance. It is something I would never have thought of experiencing in a school.
Before arriving at ISAK, I thought I was broad-viewed already by just knowing of some international news. As the ten days passed by, it was the deeper aspects- background, culture, thinking, history- that surprised me of how narrow-minded I was. It was an amazing experience of reaching out to people and knowing who they are.
Instead of associating leadership with large lectures or speeches in front of groups of people, I now consider it as a positive way of viewing different facets of the same event and improving our own surroundings.
Emily – Japan
The most important thing I learned at ISAK was that different people have different perspectives. It could be where they live, their culture, religion, or friends and family, that influences how they think about things. It is not good to think that you are always right and to treat others differently. From now on, I won’t decide things just because we see things in different ways.
I really had a great experience, and I feel like I am an entirely different person from who I was before I came. All of the classes were very interesting, especially as all of the students have different opinions about things because we come from different backgrounds. The teachers here rely on and trust students, so we are motivated to take initiative or make changes when there is a problem. I think I have become a more responsible person.
I now know how much I can do just by working with others, even if it is a hard situation. Even if we have different ways of thinking, by working with others we can make an even better result than what a person can do by oneself. It was such a great experience I can’t even express it in words. Once again, I thank all teachers, counselors and staff for making such a great experience for us.
Anna – Philippines
In the 10 days of camp at ISAK, I have learned many more things than I had expected both academically and not. I was able to understand more about diversity and the different cultures of other countries. At ISAK I was able to understand more about being a great leader and the different ways of being one, in addition to learning about taking risks, being able to be in a community with people from all over the world and also understanding people for who they really are.
The ISAK experience was one of the best experiences of my life. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to come here and learn about so many things. Meeting other students from all over the world has taught me more about diversity and it was very interesting to know the cultures and traditions of their countries. This was a great experience and hopefully I get the chance to come back here again.
Yashwini – India
I learned that everything that is impossible could be made possible if you just learn to trust and believe in yourself.
The environment at ISAK is beautiful and the people who work here are friendly and caring. Everyone feels really special here. I Love ISAK. I not only learnt about being a leader but also learnt to face hard situations in my life. This was very interesting because when I look back at all of the arguments and conflicts I have encountered, I realize the solutions are often simple and easy.
It was interesting to learn how the brain works and how we need to learn to think for ourselves. We had many activities which made us understand the world better.
Rex – Australia
The most important thing I learnt in ISAK is that leadership comes in many forms and that friendships are really important. I also learned that no matter the person it’s not good to judge people because sometimes the people you judge can become some of your greatest friends. Before I came here my perspective was influenced by the country I live in and the media I watch. However, I learnt that I was often wrong and that every country had positive sides that I did not know about.
Keito – Japan
At ISAK, we learnt various things, and one of the things that stood out was learning and trying to find out what in life is most important to ourselves. This had me thinking and will for many years.
I learnt a lot about leadership, and how to keep mentally strong and stay positive no matter what the circumstance. I am thinking of applying this shift in everyday life, as it keeps me mentally strong and relaxed. I also learnt practice is key and it takes small steps to become better.
I was introduced to different cultures and backgrounds and everyone in the camp was friendly. In the country presentation I felt surprised at how differently our cultures can change our perspectives. In the diversity workshop I learnt more about people and understood that people were living under different circumstances. I greatly enjoyed seeing my friends and going through challenges and fun events.
Ysabella – UK, Swaziland
I learned about self-control and awareness about other cultures and being respectful of them. I learnt that though you may be coming from an entirely different background, and meeting people as a complete stranger for a mere 10 days, people who you allow close to you can become some of dearest and most valuable friends.
I learnt about and met so many inspiring people and I also learnt many techniques on how to be in control of your own life and emotions. I learnt so much about other cultures and I came to hear about issues I wasn’t even aware of (e.g. Palestine) and it was really a wake up call for me to get more informed about things that are going on in the world around me.
Tenzin – Tibet
The most important thing I learned at ISAK is that nothing is impossible to us. Only we are responsible for the things which we cannot do. It is easy to get scared but the truth is we all have the power to do things. I learned to never give up.
I learned that you have to practice, practice and practice in order to become a better leader. And leaders should be able to take risks to overcome their fears. We should take initiative and be able to take responsibility.
ISAK is a place where I am able to make different friends and get to know their countries. It is a place where I have helpful, supportive and caring staff and teachers. ISAK allowed me to share my country’s identity with many different people of the world. I was able to improve my English by talking to new friends in English. During the ten precious days in ISAK I was able to learn many new things. I want to thank all of the staff and teachers for making me a part of this community and supporting us in every moment. Thank you so much.