It’s easy to see the value of international education. Students are shown perspectives from around the world, they are encouraged to think bigger than they ever thought possible, and they’re given top-quality facilities and resources to do all of this learning and thinking in the most cutting-edge way possible.
But this is only what goes on inside the classroom and an international school; the benefits that come along with choosing an international school for your child go far beyond those classroom walls.
When parents choose international education for their families, they quickly see first-hand how students are empowered to think creatively, critically, and seek out incredible opportunities for themselves.
One of the main goals of international education is to bring different cultures, traditions, perspectives, views, learning approaches, backgrounds, and upbringings together in one place to help students foster cross-cultural awareness and international-mindedness.
Through the diversity of nationalities on campus, and through the students' multiple backgrounds and broad abilities, international school students learn to celebrate differences and see that multiple perspectives help give them a full picture of the world.
At Nagoya International School (NIS), this understanding is embedded in every offering we have for students – whether it’s the internationally recognized curriculum, the students, teachers, and faculty from around the world, our community partnerships, or the extensive list of co-curricular activities – one of which specifically focuses on teaching diplomacy and international relations.
Students who attend NIS have the option to stay in Japan after graduating, but an international education gives them the option to go beyond, to choose anywhere they want in the world and be able to thrive when they get to the place of their choosing.
An international education inspires students to see there’s so much more than just one “direct path” to success.
Rather than have a hyper-focus on a specific road map to a specific college or university, or career close to home, international schools encourage students to discover what their best path will be. By giving students autonomy over their careers, we know it helps unlock their full potential.
We know many parents envision their children becoming engineers, doctors or lawyers – and NIS graduates do indeed go down these paths. But the roads we choose and the careers we pursue are all unique to who we are as individuals. This is something that everyone in our community embraces at NIS.
Below, we explore three stories highlighting students pursuing their passions in activities that even go beyond the classroom walls.
Equipped with a thirst for learning, two Grade 11 students connected with a leading researcher at RIKEN in the Intelligent Behavior Control Unit. Rather than have a chat with the students, this individual welcomed the two into his international research lab – a true, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
They spent three hours a week in the lab working on a project involving experimentation on a robotics arm. Their goal was to build and program it to draw with a pencil – shading areas darker or lighter depending on the pressure. Then, they began programming their robotic arm to re-create sketches on the internet, analyzing the pixels for light and dark shading.
The work these two have done on the arm will hopefully have real-life applications in medicine – i.e. with the robot conducting COVID nose swabs.
That initial curiosity and leap of faith to reach out to the RIKEN researcher not only led to an incredible opportunity, it also helped them solidify their post-secondary pathways. One plans to pursue coding and the software side of science, and the other will focus on hardware design.
Completely embodying curiosity as a soon-to-be Grade 10 student, Maki, who was about to join NIS, dove into researching what life would be like in the next year – from the campus to the activities and, finally, to the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. A central part of the IB she learned is the Personal Project, a rite of passage for Grade 10 students.
Rather than wait for the school year to begin, Maki started brainstorming her interests and passions, ultimately determining her project would focus on creating something to help beginners learn how to code.
As she dove into the research, she discovered there was a competition to support young women interested in Informatics – so she decided to enter.
She joined the first-ever Japan Olympiad in Informatics for Girls (JOIG) competition in April – and won. Later in June, she participated in the first-ever European Girls’ Olympiad in Informatics (EGOI) with others who finished in the top four in the JOIG.
At NIS, beyond creating a how-to guide for her Personal Project, she hopes to inspire other girls to explore their interests in Informatics as the field is mostly still a boys’ club. And once she graduates, she hopes to pursue this passion for her career in some way.
Out of nearly 150 delegates who attended the Kyoto Congress Youth Forum from 35 countries and regions worldwide, Mina and Steven – Grade 11 students at NIS – were selected for significant roles. Mina was the overall Chair of the event, and Steven was a Rapporteur.
During the conference, students developed solutions and recommendations for the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto – the first time it’s been held in Japan in over 50 years.
Steven was in charge of drafting recommendations from the outcomes of his group’s discussions around youth commitment toward a safe information society. He was also responsible for reporting those recommendations to Mina.
As the Chair, Mina addressed the opening plenary session and sat in on the agenda item discussions. She also attended the actual UN Congress and represented all Youth Forum delegates, reporting on their recommendations to world leaders.
Positioned between Prime Minister Suga and Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado, Mina delivered her speech with composure and conviction! After her address, she officially presented the Youth Forum’s recommendations to Mr. John Brandolino, the Executive Secretary of the 14th UN Crime Congress.