UWC ISAK Japan’s Summer School is an exciting opportunity for middle school students to live and learn together on our beautiful campus in Karuizawa, Japan. Get a taste of life at UWC ISAK Japan!
Summer School brings together bright, curious, motivated young people (ages 13-14) from a diverse range of countries, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds for what many students say is a “life-changing experience.”
At a Glance
What You Will Learn
Summer School focuses on leadership, mindfulness and design thinking, enabling students to become aware of themselves and others, to identify and solve problems individually and with a team, and to gain the inner strength necessary to overcome various real-world challenges. Students become more globally-minded as they develop the skills and confidence needed to become change-makers who can make a positive impact for the greater good.
Summer School students will live 12 days in the school dormitories. Residential life is at the core of the Summer School experience, since it challenges students to settle in a new environment away from home with new friends—a first time for some! Students eat all three meals at our delicious cafeteria, participate in cleaning activities, casual board games and musical sessions, and so much more.
Summer School staff, including a full-time nurse, are always present to support students in their residential life to help them make the most of their time at UWC ISAK Japan, their home away from home. Every day before bedtime, students connect with their advisory groups, where they check in with two adults and their peers to discuss what they are learning and to learn more about each other.
Leadership & Project Work
Leadership is the principal at the core of UWC ISAK Japan education. We hope our students will become transformational leaders who can make a positive change in the world. A transformational leader is someone who consistently identifies what is most important and what is needed, takes action in the face of discomfort, uses diversity as a strength, and supports others in this practice.
At Summer School, our goal is to introduce our leadership model to students and give them as many opportunities as possible to put it into practice. Project work, events, activities and residential life in order for them to experience and challenge their leadership skills first-hand. Our workshops are all carefully designed to show how leadership can show up in different forms.
Workshops, Events, Advisory, and more
The classroom at Summer School takes many forms. Sometimes it is indoors around tables; sometimes it is outdoors on the grass or in the forest. At Summer School, we take advantage of our facilities and the beautiful environment surrounding campus. This goes beyond the classes and applies to our many nature hikes, cultural events, talent shows and other activities. Students have daily free time to play sports, make music, discover their artistic side, read or anything else they want to do.
In this class, students explored humanity through various systems of communication and the construction of community in order to critically analyze our positions in the world and create innovative solutions for how we can become catalysts for positive change.
A central theme in this science course deals with humanity’s role in relation to the changing global climate and our use of natural resources. In the activities that make up the course, students learn and have a chance to use the scientific method to research and brainstorm solutions to this global crisis. Each student will take away an understanding of the issue from both a scientific and social perspective enabling them to become transformational leaders within their own communities.
In this class students created an understanding of the power of language. What are different ways of communicating? How does language influence my identity? And what is the role of language in social conflicts? These are all questions students explore, allowing them to learn about themselves and the diverse world around them.
Design Thinking is a creative problem-solving framework that centers on the humans for whom you are trying to design (your users). It focuses on building empathy to better understand what’s important to your users, and then prompting you to get creative about meeting those needs. It’s an iterative, intentional approach to creation which results in solutions that are more elegant and better suited for their users. It’s also best learned experientially, so we guide students through group projects using design thinking that will directly affect their own experience at summer school and that of their classmates.
Film & Diversity provided an opportunity for the students to learn and engage in the steps of filmmaking from start to finish. In the process, students learned to think critically about diversity in film and media literacy. Students were divided up into groups of 4-5, and each group had chosen a combination of themes for a short film they developed over the course of Summer School.
Students had the opportunity to explore drawing and photography in the beautiful natural environment of ISAK’s campus and the surrounding area. Students kept traditional sketchbooks and use iPads for photography and digital painting. In each exercise, students explore art-making as an expressive way to pay attention: to the world around us, to our thoughts, and to the work we are creating together.
Students rated Summer School with a 9.6 in 2021 and a 9.1 in 2022
While attending Summer School is not a prerequisite for applying to UWC ISAK Japan for Grade 10, many students find Summer School an excellent opportunity to experience our school culture.
July 19, 2024 - July 30, 2024 (12 days)
Who Can Apply
January 12 through March 1, 2024
You are 13 or 14 years old (born between July 16, 2009 and July 15, 2011)
Requirements to Apply
How to Apply
Check your eligibility: You are born between July 16, 2009 and July 15, 2011 (13 or 14 years old during Summer School)
Complete your application which includes some short essay questions and a 2-minute video assignment by paying the application fee (Non-refundable application fee is 4,000 JPY or 2,000 JPY if you apply before February 9th).
If you need to apply for financial assistance, please fill in the financial aid form within your application. Financial Assistance requests submitted after you have submitted your application will not be considered. Be aware there is limited financial assistance available for Summer School and it is always need-based (not merit!).
Submit your application as soon as possible and before the deadline of March 1, 2024.
Results will be available by March 22, 2024. We will try our best to release them as soon as possible in order for you to start planning your trip.
2024 Registration opens on January 12
How do I determine if I am eligible for Summer School?
You are 13 or 14 years old during Summer School (born between July 16, 2009 and July 15, 2011).
Is the Summer School application only available in English?
Yes, applications for Summer School must be completed in English.
What is the application deadline?
March 1th, 2024
I have attended Winter School, can I still apply to Summer School?
Yes, if you went to Winter School you can still apply for Summer School. Summer School will build upon Winter School. Make sure you tell us why you think you should experience Summer School as well in your application.
I attended Summer School last year, can I still apply to Summer School this year?
Yes, you can apply. However, please note that we give priority to new students in our selection process as we would like to give as many students the opportunity to experience UWC ISAK.
I have applied for G10 starting in September 2024, can I apply to Summer School?
No you can not apply to Summer School if you have applied for G10 this year. Please do not start a second application.
What level of English is required to participate in the program?
The program is delivered in English. The applicant should have the potential to contribute to the program in English, even if his or her English capabilities are slightly limited compared to other participants. A conversational level of English is fine.
How will my application be assessed?
Your application will be assessed based on a few short essays and a 2-3 minute video that you will submit in your application form.
Will an equal number of applicants be accepted for each grade?
We have not set a specific number of students to be accepted for each grade level. However, in order to diversify the ages of students, we will try to achieve a balance between multiple aspects of diversity, including age, nationality, gender identity and personalities.
Is there a limit to the number of students who are accepted from a specific nationality?
There is no limit for the number of students accepted from a specific nationality. The program will accept students based on their individual qualities, as well as the overall diversity of the student body.
Are there interviews?
No. There are no interviews but you will submit a 3-minute video introducing yourself. Make the most out of it!
Will there be a waitlist?
Yes. Strong applications might be added to the waitlist. This means that you will have the chance to attend Summer School if a place opens up.
Is there any financial aid available?
Yes! Please submit a financial assistance form with the Summer School application. Financial assistance will be determined based on financial need. We will provide full and partial scholarships based on proven need.
My child is participating in extracurricular activities at school, which includes practice during summer vacation. Is it possible to join the Summer School for only part of the program?
No, all students accepted are expected to participate in the whole Summer School. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accept participants who can only attend part of the program.
Is it possible to visit while Summer School is in session?
We will hold a virtual parent session, which will allow you to get a glimpse of the experience your child is having. If you are in Japan, you will have the opportunity to drop off or pick up your child from campus. However you will not be able to enter the school buildings, but are able to drive around campus.
How do participants get to and from Summer School?
Transportation to and from Karuizawa is not included in the program, so parents will be responsible for making travel arrangements for their child.
Karuizawa is on a major transportation route, so travel to and from Karuizawa station is relatively simple. We will assist students in getting from Karuizawa station to and from campus. We will most likely also arrange for a bus leaving from Tokyo Narita airport and Tokyo Central Station area. This will be bookable closer to date and based on the needs from all participants.
How will class composition be determined?
We will try to achieve a balance among nationalities, genders and personalities when dividing students into classes.
Will there be an equal number of male and female students?
We try to attain an equal number of male and female participants, although the ratio changes slightly from year to year.
Please explain more about the dormitory facilities at UWC ISAK.
UWC ISAK’s residential buildings are constructed as townhouses, which means that there is a row of attached units, each with its own door to the outside. Each building has a mix of units for faculty and students (faculty lives in private units adjacent to the student units, and with internal access to the student units). The student units are single sex (male and female students live separately), and each unit houses approximately twelve students, with two or four students sharing each bedroom. A living room/seminar area provides communal space for students to study and relax together outside of class hours. During the Summer School, counselors also live in the same units with students in the dormitories.
How are roommates assigned? What are the housing options? Are ‘single’ rooms available for students?
All students will live in single-sex apartments. Students will be mixed by age, grade and nationality. We seek to encourage cross-cultural understanding through interaction, and thus students will not be permitted to have single rooms, and many students will have up to three roommates.
Can you describe the food plan at UWC ISAK and the costs involved? Will students be able to get vegetarian or special meals?
Students will eat meals in a communal cafeteria located in the main school building. The cost of meals is included in UWC ISAK’s fee for room and board, and meals will be provided three times a day, seven days per week. UWC ISAK’s cafeteria will be run by a catering company that takes pride in providing tasty, nutritious meals, which has extensive experience providing food to international schools in Japan with a wide variety of student dietary needs. We plan to offer alternative menu selections for vegetarians or students who have dietary restrictions due to medical or religious reasons.
What will happen in the case of an illness or injury?
Karuizawa Hospital is located just 10 minutes from the campus by car. In the case of an injury or if a student feels ill, there will be staff available to take the student to the hospital. Saku Central Hospital is also 30 minutes away from the campus. During Summer School there is also a nurse on campus and on duty during the day hours (08:30 – 18:30)
Can participants use a cell phone during the program?
No. In order for students to fully focus on the program and have interaction with students from UWC ISAK Japan, we will keep your cell phone and other electronic devices until you leave.
Do we have to bring our own computer or iPad?
No. We do not ask students to bring their own computer or iPad. We will have computers available for students so that they can contact their family or friends during the program.
How much money should my child bring?
During the program we are not going to have any shopping outings or there is no opportunity to spend money on campus.
Do students need to bring extra spending money?
No. There is no need to bring spending money. All activities and outings are included in the program and there are no shopping excursions during summer school.
When is the deadline for tuition payment?
The deadline for tuition payment is March 27, 2023.
Under what circumstances could Summer School be canceled?
Summer School could be canceled if: COVID-19 poses a significant threat; or, a natural disaster or other unforeseen event means it is unsafe to hold Summer School.
What happens if UWC ISAK Japan cancels Summer School?
If UWC ISAK Japan cancels Summer School, we will refund your tuition.
What happens if the student cancels their attendance?
A participant can cancel up to April 15 and receive a refund. Cancellations made after April 15 can not be refunded. Please send us an email to cancel.
Will the Summer School take place on campus this summer?
Yes. We are currently planning to hold Summer School on the UWC ISAK Japan campus in Karuizawa. We will work closely with local health authorities to ensure we are taking the utmost caution and employing virus prevention best practices. Our final safety measures will be determined by the up-to-date circumstances as we approach the start of Summer School in July.
I am coming from overseas and need to organize travel and quarantine. Will UWC ISAK take care of this for me?
Unfortunately, we can’t help with international travel and quarantine arrangements. If you are able to come to Japan on your own and meet us at the set date and time you are welcome to apply.