Promoted by UWC ISAK Japan

UWC ISAK Japan: Nurturing entrepreneurs and future leaders

Not many 16-year-olds dream of ending world hunger or revolutionising agricultural practices. Students at UWC ISAK Japan, however, benefit from an entrepreneurially infused leadership programme that encourages them to start and lead projects that address social needs. Grade 10 students Amine and Ethan have been working on Project Sprout as part of the school’s signature Leadership Programme, which leverages project-based work that empowers students to identify important needs in their communities and encourages them to take action to address those needs. To inspire, it includes workshops and talks by experienced entrepreneurs.

“Project Sprout is about using types of light that we can see from satellites to analyse forests and farms to help increase agricultural yield and aid reforestation efforts,” explains Ethan. “We are currently working on boosting reforestation in Ghana and Madagascar with the support of a social business based in Singapore.” While their project may seem succinct at present, its development has undoubtedly required a considerable amount of time and effort.

Initially, the boys aimed to immediately spark global-scale change, a massive undertaking; but under the guidance of their coach, they were able to see the beauty in taking a few steps back. They pivoted to developing a satellite imaging solution that helps local farmers assess their crops’ health, with ambitions to expand globally.

“We just kept dialling it back and back,” says Amine. “Our ambitions are obviously still there. And our final goals will always be to end world hunger and solve all these issues. But all of that will come later. What we are looking at right now is increasing the yield of farmers.”


With the help of UWC ISAK Japan’s Leadership Programme, Amine (right) and Ethan (left) are able to make their dreams a reality.

The average age of a farmer in Japan is 68, above the retirement age in most countries. Scouting through plants for diseases can also be painstaking, so the duo got to work. After three months of in-depth research, they hit their first real setback. “I think probably the first biggest skill we learnt, from a technical point of view, is understanding what can be done in theory versus what can be done in the application,” explains Ethan.

While their project hurdle was a big one, their coach Scott, himself a successful serial entrepreneur, helped them push through. “We have had massive setbacks, like we’re ramming our heads into a wall because, for example, the thermal imaging camera would cost US$10,000, which is absolutely unrealistic,” says Amine. “When it came to things like that, Mr. Scott would show us how to rethink our process. Instead of just telling us what to do, he would also teach us the necessary soft skills and show us how to look back upon ourselves so we can find ways to improve moving forward. He knows that both of us want to do this for a long, long time, so more than just helping us accomplish our goals, he also helps us strengthen ourselves for the future.”

Both students have truly reaped the rewards of learning methodologies that prioritise immersive, hands-on experiences. They owe it all to the school they know and love, which tirelessly encourages learners to proactively tackle complex tasks, overcome formidable obstacles, and effect positive shifts within their community. UWC ISAK Japan also recognises that leadership comes in diverse forms and scopes and acknowledges that not every student will walk the path of entrepreneurship. The school strives to guide each student according to their unique aspirations, preparing them for life after graduation.

The University Advising Office (UA) at UWC ISAK Japan plays a crucial role in this process. It offers personalised guidance for every student, starting with selecting their IB courses. The advising journey explores each student’s strengths, personality, and interests, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions about potential university majors and future careers. Whether the next step involves university, a gap year, or other plans, students receive the same dedication and structured guidance.


UWC ISAK Japan is uniquely located, so students learn from nature as much as each other.

UWC ISAK Japan first opened its doors in 2014 as Japan’s first full-boarding international high school. Since then, other schools have followed its pioneering example, but UWC ISAK remains the benchmark among international high schools in Japan for its leadership programme and a learning and residential environment unparalleled in its diversity. The school aims to foster a spirit of innovation, responsibility, and proactive problem-solving in its students and its vision is heavily influenced by its 100 founders — many of whom are entrepreneurs.

The vision of the founders was to cultivate a truly diverse student body with an entrepreneurial spirit geared towards addressing local and global needs. Today, it is home to 200 students from over 80 countries — all of whom are eagerly learning from each other’s backgrounds. Adding to the enrichment is the fact that over 70% receive financial assistance. In this, students gain exposure to various socio-economic perspectives.

“A lot of people here are not necessarily like-minded, but we kind of all vibe in the same way,” says Amine. “We all fit into one bigger picture, so I instantly found myself comfortable.” Representing a broad range of nationalities, students do, however, have one thing in common: They are all dedicated, innovative thinkers who possess a remarkable level of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Given the rigorous and challenging nature of the IB curriculum, it’s easy to understand why.

In addition to its comprehensiveness, the IB Programme at UWC ISAK encompasses an essential component: Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) projects. These tasks play a pivotal role in fostering holistic learning among students. Complemented by the impactful Leadership Programme, these combined experiences equip students with the necessary tools and skills to drive tangible and meaningful transformations in the world.

“I think it set a much more realistic view of what it looks like, rather than a more dreamy illusion just because of the sheer amount of real-world experience we can get through the leadership project,” says Ethan. “Overall, I think compared to nine months ago, we’re both a lot more prepared to go into entrepreneurship and help global issues.”


UWC ISAK Japan students come from all over the world to be part of a community focused on entrepreneurship and leadership.

UWC ISAK Japan embodies a profound commitment to its students’ growth as individuals and as leaders, regardless of the path they choose. Whether they become entrepreneurs, pursue university, or other passions, the school is dedicated to equipping every student with the tools and experiences necessary for success, both academically and personally. The spirit of the school is not only about fostering entrepreneurship but about inspiring and guiding leaders who will positively impact their communities and the world at large.

To kickstart your journey at UWC ISAK Japan, click here to apply now.

Follow UWC ISAK Japan on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.