During winter break, many of our students use the time to travel or return home. This year
a number of students made a different choice—stay in Japan and join the winter work program.
Beginning in December 2018 and running through the first week of January, UWC ISAK Japan ran a program aimed at providing employment opportunities for students who remained in Japan. This year 51 students joined the program and were sent to various locations, ranging from right here in Karuizawa to the foot of Mt.Gassan in (very) wintery Yamagata, about 500 kms from campus.
“We wanted to find a way to better engage our students over the break,” commented teacher Jason Underwood, who lead the winter break program along with Student Liaison Manager Hiromi Ohno. “In Karuizawa and throughout Japan we are blessed with a number of businesses that support the school’s mission and were happy to provide a number of opportunities for students to work and earn income that will help students through the last half of the academic year and college for Grade 12s.”
UWC ISAK partnered with 9 businesses engaged in the tourism, accommodations, and property management industries.
“I had a fantastic time,” said Deepa (Class of 2019, Mauritius). “10 of us spent three weeks at Pole Pole in Yamagata helping to staff their winter camp program. It wasn’t easy, but it was incredibly rewarding as we were able to teach some of the things we have learned in UWC ISAK’s leadership program to the junior-high schoolers that joined the camps. I’m very thankful for the experience.”
“My work experience has definitely taught me a lot regarding discipline and team-work. I definitely feel more ready to endure some other non-academic challenges after the break,” wrote Karina (Class of 2020, Peru), who worked at Nasu-Shiobara in Tochigi prefecture. Josefina (Class of 2020, Argentina) who worked at a local ski resort business, learned more about herself, “I feel like I could challenge myself because the work was coming from people that certainly have a totally different perspective on work and discipline.”
This was the second year the Winter Break program has run. In an effort to keep our students engaged whilst underscoring the value of hard work and commitment, we believe programs such as these have tremendous potential and hope to be able to offer similar programs in the future.