Tokyo Weekender spoke with Lin Kobayashi, Executive Director of  International School of Asia, Karuizawa (ISAK) to hear her views about international schooling in Japan and to find out a little more about ISAK, the first fully residential international school in Japan.


What is ISAK?

ISAK will be an international boarding high school for grades 10-12 located in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture.

The school will be the first international school in Japan that is fully residential, and if all goes according to plan, it will be the first high school accredited by the Japanese government that offers all classes in English and requires completion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme for graduation.

What is unique about ISAK?

Although diversity is already part of the international school experience in Japan, the residential element of ISAK and a substantial financial aid program will allow us to bring together students from truly diverse backgrounds to live and study together.

All of the participants in our 2011 summer school were amazed by the national, ethnic, socio-economic and religious diversity among their peers.

Based on my own experience, I firmly believe that the interaction between students outside the classroom is one of the most valuable aspects of international schooling.

We also believe that no other school offers our blend of leadership skill training, design education and focus on the Asia Pacific region.

We had great success with a pilot version of this curriculum at our summer school, and we are excited to see the growth of students who experience the full three-year curriculum.

Could you explain a bit more about the summer school?

ISAK Summer School, held in late July in Karuizawa, gives junior high students from around the world the opportunity to experience a condensed version of our full-year program.

Last year we had students from ten countries taking classes from drama to international negotiation, in addition to sports and outdoor activities.

The leadership workshops, a hands-down favorite among participants, proved to be particularly eye-opening for many students, which further strengthens my belief that the Asian region needs more schools dedicated to fostering leadership training and an interest in service.

We are looking forward to offering the program again this summer, and hope to attract many engaged and curious young people who enjoy challenges and are eager to contribute their ideas and energy to our group.

What would you like to say to students considering their options for high school?

Believe in yourself! Follow your heart, find what you are passionate about and be willing to take risks.

When I started school in Canada, I finally discovered the joys of studying a subject that I love, but I also want to see young people developing their talents and skills unrelated to academics.

My hope is that today’s students can develop into compassionate leaders and innovative thinkers in whatever field they choose to pursue.

I encourage motivated students who want top-level academics combined with an emphasis on leadership and service to consider ISAK for their high school education.

For more information about International School of Asia, Karuizawa or the ISAK Summer School 2012, please visit their official website.

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