How Juan became a Rise Global Winner - UWC ISAK Japan

How Juan became a Rise Global Winner

A life-changing news

UWC ISAK Japan Juan Global RISE scholarship winnerSometime 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 dollars to spend on tuition fees, a stipend, and incredible lifelong support and networking opportunities. The promise sounded too good to be true. Until it finally became official. On a dark October night in his dorm room at UWC ISAK Japan, he learned a piece of news that would change his life. Juan was announced as one of the inaugural Rise Global Winners. He is part of a cohort of 100 students from all over the world. 

From Medellin to UWC ISAK Japan

Born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, Juan grew up alongside his twin brother Mateo. They applied together to UWC’s National Committee in Colombia. And both succeeded! They respectively went to UWC ISAK Japan and UWC Norway. But it was Mateo who convinced Juan to apply for RISE. And so, the twins each went for it and applied. And despite Juan being the only one of the brothers named a Rise global winner, his brother could not be happier for him.

UWC ISAK Japan diversity culture

Quality education through sustainability and diversity

Juan (Colombia / UWC ISAK Japan Class of 2017) hiking Mont Fuji (Japan) in the night as an Outdoor Education Leader

Both brothers felt connected to the mission of UWC, notably in terms of sustainability, quality education, diversity, and encounters with brilliant minds. The RISE program shares a similar vision for the world, and Juan felt it was natural to apply. The environment of UWC ISAK Japan helped Juan prepare for this challenge. Among the UWC movement, no fewer than 10 UWC students were named RISE winners—a clear sign that UWC schools foster similar skills to those required by the Rise program.

“Only when I joined the UWC movement did I realize the full diversity fo the world. Now I don’t even know what home is. UWC ISAK Japan gave me that perspective of the world.” The diversity encountered here allowed him to enter a competition with 50,000 other people from no less than 170 different countries worldwide. And to not stress a single second about it!

High altitude training

Juan (Colombia / UWC ISAK Japan Class of 2017) with a group of friends hiking Mount Fuji (Japan) as an Outdoor Education leader Becoming one of the 100 Rise Global Winners felt like reaching the summit of Mount Fuji. Juan had previously organized an actual trip to the summit of Mt. Fuji after a dark and cold night of extreme hiking made him feel incredibly grateful and happy. Becoming a Rise Global Leader reignited the exhilarating feeling of reaching the summit and looking down on the beautiful world he is motivated to benefit.

How to become a Rise Global Leader

UWC ISAK Japan Juan's manual to educate passionately

He described the process of applying for the RISE scholarship as a fun and entertaining one. First, Juan had to present his project, A Manual to Educate Passionately (left), and explain why he wanted to win the prize. After he passed this first step, he joined the 500 finalists online “competition,” a weekend-long group-work test with other finalists. And now you know what followed.

Juan hopes to inspire kids from Colombia and UWC ISAK Japan’s students. He believes that their dreams for the future can become a reality thanks to quality education. Entering UWC ISAK Japan strengthened this motivation as he could observe his life change drastically for the better.

We look forward to seeing where life will lead Juan and hope he will contribute to “educate passionately.”

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UWC ISAK Japan
5827-136 Nagakura
Karuizawa, Kitasaku-gun,
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