From July 18 to August 2, 2016, eighty junior high school students from thirty-three countries joined together at the ISAK campus in beautiful Karuizawa, Japan. The theme for this year was Growth & Change. Through the program, students experienced many different ways to achieve awareness, and they took steps to change themselves as they evolved into “change-makers”.
“Every single decision, action, invention or solution starts with awareness.”
“There are lots of different people in the world with different hopes, dreams and desires.”
– Matvey (Matt)
ISAK Summer School 2016 was two full weeks of exciting, engaging and enlightening experiences taught and supervised by world-class educators and counselors. The curriculum included leadership, design innovation, academics, outdoor education, multi-media arts, international negotiation, Japanese culture, and much more. Read below about some of the highlights!
Leadership by Design
Leadership by Design teacher, David Mochel, is a brain scientist who has also helped to develop the leadership curriculum at ISAK. Mr. Mochel taught students that leadership can be nurtured by practice. Mr. Mochel’s class offered a human-centered environment where students could find their strength and unique leadership style. No matter what your background or personality, Mr. Mochel taught that everyone can be a leader. Students learned to see problems as opportunities and practiced leadership through several engaging activities in the Leadership by Design class and throughout their time at summer school.
“I learned that leadership is practice. I also learned a lot about the brain and how it works in the leadership by design class.”
In our Design Innovation program, students developed the skills of empathy through observation to discover the true needs of others. Then, they used these skills to understand individuals as well as to find out what is at the core of today’s global issues. Students shared different perspectives and views about the world and their communities, and they gained confidence to address the problems that arise in and outside of their comfort zones. Most importantly, students learned how to move from awareness of a problem to an action that creates positive change.
“Here at ISAK, no one says ‘NO’ to other people’s opinions. Because of that, I had a chance to get to know the ideas that I had never thought of. I was able to combine my ideas with my friends’ ideas in order to create something better.”
Mindfulness + Art
Mindfulness + Art gave students a creative way to accept things (and themselves) just as they are, without judging or criticism. The class combined mindfulness techniques with modern tools such as i-pads in a creative environment. Most of the lessons were done outside in the rich environment of nature in Karuizawa. Students used drawing and photography to see the world in a variety of angles and perspectives.
A highlight for many international students was attending a Japanese local summer “Dragon Festival” in nearby Miyota. Japanese culture came to life with the dragon, dancing, Japanese drumming, street food and fireworks. It was a great opportunity for the Japanese Intensive English Course (IEC) students who had the opportunity to share Japanese culture with their new friends from overseas.
A hike to Mt. Sekisonsan gave students a chance to use some new skills. One group fell behind and left the other groups waiting for about 30 minutes. The counselors were very impressed to see that the waiting students did not get frustrated. Instead they organized activities to pass the time. While the scenery on the hike was lovely, the most beautiful part of the hike was seeing students apply their newfound leadership skills from class to a real life situation. We believe if they all practice what they’ve learned at ISAK they will be able to think positively and take appropriate action, even in the most difficult situations.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to our donors and volunteers whose contributions were essential in making this year’s summer school such a tremendous success. The program would not have been a possible without you, and we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your generosity and kindness.
Summer School 2016 Donors
- United States- Japan Foundation
- The Kamenori Foundation
- Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
- Hoppy Beverage Co., Ltd.
- Mr. Takashi Oyagi
- Nomura Holdings, Inc
- Aioi Nissay
Summer School 2017
We will have Summer School 2017. The details will be posted on our website. We look forward to receiving your applications.