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On being a Japanese UWC

A message from our Head of School Malcolm McKenzie What does it mean to be a UWC? Is there one answer to this question? There are 18 United World Colleges, sharing the same label and ...
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Junita’s journey: Empowering Women in Liberia

Empowerment through Education and Leadership Amidst the chaos of a country plagued by teenage pregnancy, drugs, and risky behaviors among its youth, one young woman rises to make a change. Junita, a member of UWC ...
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Mayuki –for diversity and passion in Japanese education

Leading the Way in Education: Mayuki's Inspiring Journey Meet Mayuki, an inspiring alum from Nagaoka, Japan, who is leading the charge in revolutionizing education for her peers. By Grade 7, she had already developed a ...
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A Culture of Forgiveness

A letter from Head of School Malcolm McKenzie to the UWC ISAK Japan Community on a culture of forgiveness. December, 2022. I am pleased to be writing to you as this year ends, because it ...
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A story of community to mark UWC’s 60th year

One-of-a-kind education produces one-of-a-kind solutions This year marks the UWC movement's 60th anniversary and presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the unique qualities of the movement. At the end of 2021, those qualities came to ...
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A Day in the Life of a UWC ISAK Japan student

Written by Emilė (Lithuania / Class of 2024) from our school newspaper ISAK Insider. Pictures by Bernard (Hong Kong / Class of 2024) and Federico (Portugal / Class of 2024)   6:30-7:00 - Wake up. ...
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Denzel (Zimbabwe) published his first novel!

A story from Zimbabwe In December 2021, Denzel (Zimbabwe / Class of 2019) self-published his first novel, Shame and Anger (left picture in the hands of his History teacher Ms. Hasham). It is the second ...
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Ainu, diversity and indigenous cultures in Japan

Written by May (Japan / Class of 2025) and Anisa (Bangladesh / Class of 2024) Special visit from up north From November 17 to 19, UWC ISAK Japan Grade 10 students received a special visit ...
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Thai Alumni Launch Game for Waste SDGs

A talented team comprised primarily of Thai UWC ISAK Japan alumni Thailand won a Thai SDG Game Fest award for their multi-player video game educating about waste management in a fun way. The game, titled ...
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Tree house build by Kai and Rin

High School in a Forest

In late August 2022, Kai (Japan / Class of 2021) returned to the UWC ISAK Japan campus. He met with some of his former teachers, but the primary purpose of his visit was to check ...
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How education changed a life, from Zambia to Japan

Expanding horizons through education "Education at UWC ISAK Japan opened up my world," recalls Cararise (Zambia / Class of 2021). Now studying Economics and Political Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, she feels confident thanks ...
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So, UWC ISAK Japan 2020 alum at his company Skyland Ventures

Fostering curiosity and leadership through education

A grateful employer UWC ISAK Japan is still a young school, with our first class graduating in 2017. As such, all our alums are at the beginning of their careers. But take a glance at ...
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An Unexpected Journey: One New Zealander’s Adventure from Karuizawa to Princeton

A Three-Year Pursuit of Passion Meet Simon (Class of 2022 / New Zealand). His portrait in the recently published high school yearbook is faithful to his character: a smile from ear to ear. But don't ...
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How ISAKx helped a young Ukrainian embark on her UWC journey

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 ...
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Mafer (Venezuela / Class of 2019) at her UWC ISAK Japan Graduation Ceremony

Reconnecting to her roots: An alumni story of giving back

Meet Mafer, UWC ISAK Japan alum from Venezuela Over the years, we've observed that everything is more accessible and inclusive whenever Mafer is involved (Venezuela / Class of 2019). So, it is fitting that her ...
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UWC ISAK Japan Nippon Foundation scholars in Fukui prefecture

Alumni thank Nippon Foundation for life in Japan

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 ...
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UWC ISAK international G10s

Lessons about intentional diversity in the Covid-19 era

Japanese borders restrictions in the Covid-era Japan adopted one of the strictest borders restrictions in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, our students from abroad entered the country only in the fall of ...
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Project Kamaishi and Atlantic Pacific team member at Kamaishi local High School

After the Great East Japan Earthquake: bringing back to Kamaishi

Teaching sea safety and preservation One of the first things Lin (Japan / Class of 2020) told us was that she was not good at public speaking. Yet after graduating from UWC ISAK Japan in ...
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Ata inaugurates Safura School land in Afghanistan near Kabul

Alum gives back to his community in Afghanistan

Fostering a better education in Afghanistan In February 2020, Ataullah, aka Ata (Afghanistan / Class of 2017) and his local community celebrated the purchase of land for the planned Safura School in Afghanistan (pictured on ...
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UWC ISAK Japan students umping in the air with local farmer and his vegetables to celebrate their CAS project

How students won the Zayed Sustainability Prize 2022

Manami (Japan / Class of 2022) and Mari (France-Portugal) were action-takers before entering UWC ISAK Japan. When they arrived on campus, they had already gained experience working with Fridays for Future Japan and Fridays for ...
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UWC movement nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Written by Emilė (Lithuania / Class of 2024). Art by Hamid (Afghanistan / Class of 2020): https://www.hamidmubariz.com/ A prize to help end human suffering Alfred Bjørlo nominated the UWC movement for a Nobel Peace Prize ...
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How Juan became a Rise Global Winner

A life-changing news Sometime in the 2020-2021 Academic year winter, Juan (Colombia / Class of 2022) learned about a new scholarship thanks to an email from the UWC. This yet-to-be-known prize offered half a million ...
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Zayed Sustainability Prize winners UWC ISAK Japan

UWC ISAK Japan students win the 2022 Zayed Sustainability prize!

Written by Marian for ISAK Insider (Thailand / Class of 2023). $100,000 prize in the Global High School category for East Asia and the Pacific We are thrilled to announce that a group of UWC ...
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space engineer alumna at UWC ISAK Japan class of 2017 graduation ceremony

UWC ISAK Japan alum on his way to space

Space is where you shine When Yasu (Japan-Taiwan / Class of 2017) heard the phrase "space is where you shine (宇宙は君たちの活躍するところ in Japanese)" something clicked. The words first were first introduced to Yasu by space ...
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Alumni launch Tajikistan’s first English Summer School

For most of our graduates, their well-earned summer break begins the moment the graduation ceremony ends. But for two of our 2021 graduates, it was crunch time, and they were about to embark on one ...
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Eco team finalists for huge prize

Written by Pema (Bhutan / Class of 2022) The school’s environmental club has been shortlisted for the Zayed Sustainability Prize, an annual $600,000 award that is split between six winning schools. Towards a more eco-friendly ...
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Dramathon sees plays written and staged in 24 hours

Written by Pema (Bhutan / Class of 2022) You want drama? Writers Aditi, Lara, Mantaro and Pema produced a fully formed piece of theatre in a day. All-nighter wordsmiths They began at 8pm and powered ...
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What I learned from the Ainu of Japan

  Just as the new school year was about to start in the summer of 2020, UWC ISAK Japan students had a special opportunity of learning from the Ainu of Japan. A group of our ...
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a group of ISAK students jumping with mount Asama in the background

How We Teach Lifelong Leadership Lessons

Lifelong leadership lessons equip students with the skills they will need to be catalysts for positive change. In an increasingly complex world, these lessons can prove invaluable. But learning these skills and how to apply ...
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How I Learned that “Leadership is a Practice” isn’t a Catchphrase

Few would argue that 2020 was a rollercoaster of a year. For recent grad Gab Ponon (Philippines / Class of 2020), the past twelve months delivered a year with more ups and downs than he ...
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International diplomacy earns students the Changemaker award

A special effort in international diplomacy earned three UWC ISAK Japan students a Changemaker Award for their work to promote constructive dialogue between the youth of Japan and Korea. The award was given to Junpei ...
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The Impact of a UWC Education on a Young Venezuelan

In a world of inequality, obtaining a full scholarship to attend UWC ISAK Japan allowed me to experience the most powerful advantage of money: the ability to think of things besides money. Growing up in ...
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How Bikes & Castles Made a Teacher into a Creator

James Earwood moved with his family to Japan in 2017 to join the UWC ISAK family. Inspired by a budding interest in Japanese historical sites and his passion for cycling, James recently started a YouTube ...
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Winter School students gather at Honda Field with Mt. Asama in the background

How Winter School Delivered the Warmth of Summer

Written by Jason Underwood, Winter School Director In late December, UWC ISAK Japan held its first-ever Winter School. Initiated in response to the Summer School program of 2020 that was cancelled due to Covid-19, Winter ...
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Our Startup Weekend nearly failed, but we found a better way

Written by Yuka and Yuina (both Class of 2021 / Japan) In 2019, we organized a 3-day-long event called Startup Weekend Karuizawa at the UWC ISAK Japan campus. Our aim was to bring people from ...
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Pakistani boy With mustache wearing a traditional japanese yukata and smiling during a summer festival or natsu matsuri

Surprise Summer Festival

Community Holds Surprise Summer Festival No summer in Japan would be complete without a festival ("Natsu Matsuri" in Japanese). But in a post-pandemic world, sacrifices have been made and public gatherings have never been less-in-vogue. ...
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Covid-19 Strengthened My Character: Lhamo, a nepali girl with glasses, Poses in a blue Yukata holding a fan with her name written in both roman characters and kanji on it. Her name means orchid and peach in Japanese. The background is an overexposed window which only highlights Lhamo more

Covid-19 Has Strengthened My Character

Written by Lhamo (Class of 2020 / Nepal) In December 2019, amid my second year as an IB student at UWC ISAK Japan, news of Covid-19 enveloped the world. I was taken aback by the ...
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How Small Talks Can Have a Big Impact

Written By Lucy Class of (2020, Canada) I started CAF TALKs in the winter. This is right around the time when the excitement of the first semester began to wear off, homework piles up, and ...
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Drone Delivered Redemption

Written by Gabriel (Class of 2020 / Philippines) I glared at the dust and debris that encircled its edges while pondering how best to start the repair. In my hand was a drone I pulled ...
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How a Digital Native Does Remote Teaching

Adam Atkin has a background in mechanical engineering and mathematics and joined UWC ISAK Japan after a successful period at UWC Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Amongst an already youthful faculty, Adam is one of ...
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Dr. Mandy Finds a New Formula for Success

Dr. Mandy Heddle (or "Dr. Mandy," as she is affectionately referred to on campus) is an optimist. She certainly recognizes the global pandemic for what it is—a crisis—but rather than looking at the obstacle of ...
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Passing the Torch to a New Generation of Leaders

Written by Lucy (Class of 2020 / Canada) Near the beginning of our second semester, Larry (Class of 2020 / Burkina Faso) and I found ourselves running SNOW. What is SNOW? Other than the frozen ...
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The Fab Lab: Building a Maker Culture on Campus

Before our new students arrive on campus each August and even before the return of current faculty, our school is buzzing with activity as we welcome and introduce UWC ISAK Japan to our new faculty ...
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Our Wonderful Winter Work Program Story

Written by Gianluca (Class of 2020 / Argentina) Each December, many students at UWC ISAK Japan go back home to rest and spend time with their families. Others pursue amazing work opportunities here in Japan. ...
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My Internship in the Center of Tokyo Finance

Written by Hasan (Class of 2021 / Libya) I am one of the students that chose to stay in Japan over winter break. As part of the Winter Work Program, the staff at UWC ISAK ...
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Finding a Way With Waste: Student Project Innovates by Upcycling

Written by Shota (Japan / Class of 2020) Each year, over 620,000 tons of food is wasted in Japan; enough to feed almost a million people for an entire year. When we first heard this ...
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UWCISAK Japan Students Win Startup Weekend

Earlier this Spring, two of our intrepid students, Yuina and Yuka (both Class of 2021, Japan), decided to take part in a startup challenge organized by Startup Weekend, which is part of the world-renowned Techstars ...
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Interfaith Festival: Silence (静けさ)

“Silence is the necessary soil for any thought to flourish” - Stephen Hough This Spring, UWC ISAK Japan’s Interfaith Dialogue Group held its annual festival. By employing the theme of Silence (静けさ), which the Group identified ...
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A Project Comes to Fruition: The Story Behind Our New Forest

Written by Yutaro (Class of 2019, Japan) On 6th of March during the community assembly, we welcomed government officials from Forestry Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery to sign a contract for the lease ...
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Denso Leadership Program with UWC ISAK Japan

In the mid week of February, our school welcomed 16 young leaders from Denso to our campus to collaborate on Denso Leadership Program. DENSO is a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components ...
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Transformational Leadership Comes in Many Sizes

Written by Abdullah (Class of 2019, Oman) The idea of student leadership is emphasized in UWC ISAK Japan, and so we, students, get to lead in the exploration of our interests, while also receiving support ...
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The Right Stuff

UWC ISAK Japan is blessed with the most eclectic and inspiring collection of students in the world (in our humble opinion). Recently, one of our G11 students, Alexandria (Class of 2020, Australia), received a special ...
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The Importance of Perspective in Leadership

“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives." -Oprah Winfrey Sympathy is a good thing. It comes ...
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UWC ISAK Japan SNOW leaders

New leaders poised to keep SNOW rolling

Written by Denzel (Class of 2019, Zimbabwe) As outlined in a previous blog post, SNOW is UWC ISAK Japan’s reformed Student Union. It stands for Seito NO Wa and the mission of SNOW is “to provide structure and resources ...
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Learning Leadership Through Writing

Miori loves writing. But while writing for an audience may seem like the obvious motivation for a writer, Miori (Class of 2020, Japan) has always seen it as a tool for thinking. Like transmission fluid ...
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A Grateful Community

School assemblies are a great opportunity for us all to spend some time together as a full school community to discuss important events and initiatives, to entertain, and to reconnect with each other. At one ...
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Winter Work Program

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 ...
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Interfaith Trip: Footprints of Infinite in Tokyo (Part 2)

Before we jump in, note that this is a two-part story so be sure to check out Part 1 here. Previously, we looked at some of the highlights of the trip. In Part 2, we ...
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Campus Opens for Model UN Conference

Written by Poum (Class of 2020, Thailand) On January the 18th, 2019, we welcomed 13 students from different schools. We, as the Model United Nations (MUN) Club, were very excited as this was something we ...
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Internet Legend Speaks at UWC ISAK

In late December, our Grade 10 students welcomed a Japanese Internet legend into their classroom. Masayuki “Masa” Watanabe, who built his name as a co-founder of DeNA, one of Japanese leading online service companies, before ...
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Expanding our Professional Network

One Life Realize Your Potential Be a Catalyst for Positive Change What do you hope to do with the one life you have to live? This is a difficult question for many of us, and ...
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Interfaith Trip: Footprints of Infinite in Tokyo (Part 1)

In late 2018, the Interfaith Programme embarked on a trip of discovery to Tokyo. It was the first such trip for the Programme, which was initiated in 2017 with the purpose to grow as individuals ...
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Alumni Feature: PanPan ‘17

With the beginning of the new year, in this edition of the Alumni Newsletter, we present you PanPan (Class of 2017, Thailand), interviewed by AJ (Class of 2018, India). PanPan is currently studying Social Innovation ...
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Commemorating International Human Rights Day

Written by Brunella (Class of 2020, Peru) and Valentina (Class of 2020, Colombia) On Monday 10 December, UWC ISAK commemorated International Human Rights Day. Members of the Peace and Non-violence Forum organised the events as a part ...
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Kiryu Excursion

Written by Lucy (Class of 2020, Canada) “I knew we were lost!” Marah, my roommate from Libya, wails worriedly. I pat her shoulder consolingly, but she pays no attention. “And it’s your fault!” She accuses ...
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What We Learned About Leading by Building “The Dome”

Getting Started At USC ISAK Japan, leadership is a central concept. We endeavor to weave a thread of leadership into all of our programs, but it's in our core leadership courses—Leading with Self and Leading ...
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New Faces Feature: Marie (Class of 2020, France)

Reporting live from a laundry room at UWC ISAK Japan, Marie (Class of 2020, France) and Apoorba (Class of 2018, India) had a great chat about all things UWC ISAK and beyond. Hailing from the ...
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Alumni Feature: Nora (Class of 2018, Myanmar)

In this issue of the UWC ISAK Japan newsletter, Dilrabo (Class of 2017, Tajikistan) interviewed alum Nora (Class of 2018, Myanmar). Nora is now in Decorah, Iowa, studying at Luther College and double majoring in ...
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External Mentors Guide Leadership Projects

At Grade 11, all our students embark on human-centered, collaborative, and action-based leadership projects as part of the CAS component of the IB Diploma. All these projects are entirely student-led, from conception to execution, with ...
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House Bonding Over BBQ!

Written by Abdullah (Class of 2019, Oman) One of the main aims of the residential program here at UWC ISAK Japan is to create long lasting bonds between students living in the same dormitories, or ...
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Culture, Awareness, Peace and Interaction (CAPI)

Written by Ayana (Class of 2019, Japan) on behalf of CAPI CAPI is a core activity club that was initiated by a student two years ago. The club aims to organize different events to promote ...
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Debating Perspectives At IIMUN

Written by Poum (Class of 2020, Thailand)  On Friday, November 16th, we set foot on an adventure in Tokyo! A group of 7 students from UWC ISAK Japan's Model United Nations (MUN) club participated in the ...
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Grade 10 Project Week

Written by Izumi Tsurumi Ms. Tsurumi coordinates the Leadership program at UWC ISAK Japan. She also teaches IB Biology. Leadership is required in times of uncertainty and challenge, not when circumstances are smooth-sailing and pleasant. ...
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15 Thoughts about University, Magic Tricks and Finding the Best Fit

Written by Damien Pitter Mr. Pitter is a University Advisor at UWC ISAK Japan. 1. As a university advisor, one of the questions I am most frequently asked by parents is, “What does my child ...
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New Faces Feature: Brunella (Class of 2020, Peru)

Written by Alina (Class of 2018, Singapore) For our second New Faces feature, we are excited to present Brunella (Class of 2020, Peru)! Prior to attending UWC ISAK Japan, Brunella spent her whole life in Lima, ...
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