Dive into the world of Outdoor Education (OEd) at UWC ISAK Japan, a core aspect of our unique educational experience. Engage in hands-on learning through diverse outdoor activities, develop leadership skills, and foster a connection with the natural environment. Discover the beauty and challenges of the outdoors, and embrace the spirit of adventure and sustainability.
About Outdoor Education
The Outdoor Education (OEd) program is a core part of the UWC ISAK Japan experience. It provides a hands-on educational experience through a wide range of outdoor activities and an opportunity to explore and appreciate beautiful natural environments.
Throughout their UWC ISAK Japan education, students attend OEd classes and a mandatory class trip each season (Autumn: hiking, Winter: skiing/snowboarding, Spring: rock climbing/bouldering). Every weekend, there are optional OEd trips for students to further develop their skills or engage in new activities (camping, mountain biking, kayaking, ice skating, snowshoeing…). During holidays, the OEd program offers multi-day expeditions further afield with locations such as Izu Peninsula, Mt Fuji or the Sea of Japan coast.
Outdoor Education at UWC ISAK Japan
Spring Cycling Trip
The OEd program mission is to provide inclusive and fun outdoor activities for the community while promoting sustainability. The program aims to develop students’ responsibility, resiliency, respect for each other and for the environment. Connecting with nature fosters students’ environmental stewardship while improving wellbeing. Besides mastering technical skills in various outdoor activities, students develop teamwork and self-management, gain practical life skills and reflect on themselves in the process.
Various OEd streams (‘red’, ‘blue’, ‘green’, ‘white’) are offered in order to cater for the whole school community regardless of ability levels. For example, ‘red’ OEd trips provide physical and mental challenges with full day or overnight trips covering long distance, steep elevation or technical terrain; while on the other end of the spectrum, ‘white’ trips provide opportunities for appreciation of nature or culture featuring scenic locations (i.e.moss forest, shrines and temples…)
Through the Outdoor Education program, students have an opportunity to further develop their leadership skills and become OEd leaders. OEd Leadership positions are open to students in Grade 11 and Grade 12. Students in Grade 10 are encouraged to take part in the OEd program as participants but can only apply as OEd Leader in Grade 11.
This is a great opportunity for students who are adventurous, collaborative, energetic and passionate about the outdoors and environmental sustainability. OEd Leaders work with the OEd Coordinator to help plan and run the Outdoor Education program at UWC ISAK Japan. Together they form the OEd Leadership Team. They meet every week to plan, review, get feedback and reflect on each trip. They discuss the needs of the program, lead or co-lead trips and take action to improve OEd experiences and streamline operations throughout the year.
To support the development of leadership skills, specific OEd training is provided (i.e. Wilderness First Aid training course, risk assessment workshop, overnight leadership retreat…).
Basic skiing skills: ski stance, speed control, turning, stopping, getting on and off ski lifts, ski etiquette
Kayaking / Rafting
Basic kayaking skills: launching and landing, strokes (forward, reverse, draw), pivots, stopping, lifting/carrying/emptying kayaks, water safety
Basic hiking skills: leave no trace, map reading and navigation, essential kit, setting up a tent
Basic cycling skills: road safety, using gears and brakes, speed control, uphill/downhill technique, cycling signals and etiquette
Basic rock climbing skills: climbing technique, belaying technique, communication climber/belayer/back-up belayer, safety rules
Basic snowshoeing skills: strapping on snowshoes, strides (stepping up, side step, kick step), breaking trail, essential winter kit
Basic surfing skills: position on the board, position on the wave, paddling, take off, balancing, riding the wave, water safety
Basic ice skating skills: standing up, balance and control, stopping, gliding, swizzles and wiggles, falling and getting up
White trips are low-difficulty activities designed for students to explore Japan through the outdoors