Published May 9, 2023
BY SARA EYJOLFSDOTTIR
From her work in This Club Saves Lives to her role on the Superintendent Student Advisory Council, CHS freshman Naina Singh has always had a passion for making a lasting impact on the world. She hopes to come one step closer to achieving this by attending the United World Colleges International School of Asia in Karuizawa, an international high school in Japan where she will be living alongside 200 other high schoolers from around the world who share her passion for environmental change and social justice.
With 18 international campuses affiliated with the UWC set on four continents and home to over 10,500 students, the campus in Japan motivated Singh to apply specifically because of its emphasis on environmental sustainability and leadership.
“I want to continue focusing on my passions over the next three years,” Singh says. “At CHS, I’ve been able to build on my contributions to the performing arts as well as social justice and environmental advocacy.”
UWC ISAK was recently awarded the Zayed Sustainability Prize, given with funds designated specifically to continue to make their campus more sustainable while also fostering a learning environment for environmental action-takers. Students attending Karuizawa study the International Baccalaureate program during 11th and 12th grade while also earning a Japanese high school diploma. The UWC campuses focus on service and leadership, aiming to help students be catalysts for positive change.
“We tend to surround ourselves with people who think about things in the same way we do and have had very similar upbringings and experiences” Singh says. “Being able to push thoughts, ideas and general views to an international community from all different ethnicities, nationalities and socioeconomic statuses was a large part of the appeal for me.”
An extensive application process, complete with three short-answer essays and three long-answer essays, makes attending any UWC campus a highly selective affair, but enables those accepted to earn a highly coveted IB diploma and a more well-rounded sense of the world and themselves.
“It builds character and independence,” says Jai Singh, Naina’s 19-year-old brother and UWC ISAK graduate, now attending Brown University. “You become comfortable being self-directed academically, and it helps that you’re going through having to grow-up faster with other people who are also away from home for the first time.”
With her brother’s positive results as an inspiration for attending this prestigious international boarding school, Singh expects that her three years in Japan will broaden her views and strengthen her commitment to the pursuit of social justice.
“I’m hoping for a more holistic perspective at the end of this experience,” Singh says. “I want to learn the perspectives of all these students from such completely different backgrounds so I can ultimately become more informed on my own views and decisions.”