Written by Brendan McGibbon
Mr. McGibbon teaches G10 Design Innovation and IB Music. He is also the Activities Director at UWC ISAK Japan.
This year UWC ISAK started a new program to support students in the boarding houses and it has been going very well.
At the beginning of the year, each residential house selected one to two Residential Assistants (RA). A RA works with the residential team to make sure that UWC ISAK Japan is a safe, healthy and supportive campus.
The students had meetings every two weeks without fail (from 8:00pm – 9:00pm in the KAC) to share experiences and learn new techniques to coach students through troubles. Many of our techniques were based on a coaching methodology taught through the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. The method focuses on accepting responsibility to move others to purpose under circumstances of uncertainty. It is a wonderful program approach and I was very happy to bring this to our students. Our meetings were a lot of fun and our student leaders met each challenge with kindness, genuine desire to learn and a support for each other that was quite uncommon. It was a pleasure to work with these fine young people.
I am happy to say that we will continue the program next year under the expert guidance of Laura Earwood, our new residential coordinator.
Thank you to our Residential Assistants for 2018-2019:
|R1 – C – Vichy (Class of 2018, Cambodia)||R3 – A – Gavin (Class of 2018, Thailand)|
|R1 – D – Gurmukh (Class of 2018, India) & Vu (Class of 2019, Vietnam)||R3 – B – Long (Class of 2018, Vietnam) & Andre (Class of 2019, Taiwan)|
|R2 – A – Emily (Class of 2018, Japan/USA) & Zoe (Class of 2018, Cayman Islands)||R3 – C – Seb (Class of 2018, India) & Max (Class of 2020, Taiwan)|
|R2 – B – Gurbani (Class of 2018, India)||R4 Upstairs – Ain (Class of 2018, Malaysia) & Appy (Class of 2018, India)|
|R2 – C – Minami (Class of 2018, Japan) & Neo (Class of 2019, Japan)||R4 Downstairs – Fidalia (Class of 2019, Myanmar) & Esther (Class of 2018, Sierra Leone)|
Here are some quotes from a recent survey that tell something of our students’ commitment and spirit of supporting others.
“Be committed! Always be aware of your surrounding when you live in a house. Sometimes housemates have trouble asking for help or speaking up, so make sure you create space for them to feel comfortable and ask them how they are feeling once in a while.”
“Be calm and persistent. Respect doesn’t come from screaming and in an instant. Make sure they listen to you and respect your opinions, so that when you want to reinforce something, it will happen”
“You cannot be lenient all the time. It doesn’t fix an ongoing issue, as there needs to be someone that steps up and keeps everyone in check.“
“I would say, look through rules and make sure that you will be able to comply, and feel comfortable acting as the link between your house people and other houses/staff etc. It is a very rewarding programme because personally I saw people respect me more and people’s comfort with me increased, and also having this as an activity for college was an extra bonus. :)”
“Thank you for such a wonderful experience. This is one of the sweetest opportunity for me to serve my community.”
“It was a fun experience, and being alone was challenging but I really enjoyed getting to kind of represent my house. Also, I feel like i got closer to all members of the house compared to last year where it was only a few which was an experience that I really valued. Overall, I really enjoyed being an RA.”
“1. Sometimes things may not seem to work out, but during these times you may have to take a step back and help yourself
2. There are other RAs that you can get help from
3. Have a method of getting your house together (so it is easy to meet and understand each other)”