Yuzuki Saito (Graduates)

Be more active like an adventurer rather than someone who avoids challenges

Many students let fear of failure stop them from taking on challenges and reaching their dreams. I find that any path in life one takes has risks and mistakes and failures will happen. Life is like a river flowing to the sea. The time flies with or without actions, and is full of unexpected happenings. If things are going to regularly happen that are unexpected, then why don’t we just enjoy the journey? I started school at an elementary school connected to a music college and that was selected by my parents. I was a normal kid but didn’t like my life path being set and my schools automatically chosen by the system. I wanted to work in a field of international cooperation and that was why I wanted to choose a path that opened more doors for me. My mother suggested that Columbia would provide a global education that would open doors and help me reach my dreams. At Columbia, I found students were taught to take initiative and challenge themselves, to share their ideas and thoughts and learn how to learn and make leaning enjoyable. I put a lot of efforts into my activities every single day learning from my classmates and teachers and challenging myself to get better. Columbia changed my life a lot. Columbia taught me to make realistic life choices respecting my parents and family situation but to never lose sight of my dream to work in the field of International cooperation. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Naoya Shigeta (Senior)

When I entered Columbia International School in the 5th grade I was worried because I had never before gone to school in Japan. However, as soon as I entered the classroom, many students walked up to me and started introducing themselves and asking various questions. And that was before the school bell went off! Because of this, I was able to get along with everybody quickly. When I entered Junior high school, it was like stepping into a new world: new classes, new teachers, and new clubs. The teachers gave a lot of homework and assignments, which was honestly quite stressful. However, after completing and submitting our work, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, whenever we faced any questions or problems, the teachers were always there to help and offer advice before and after school. Classes also focused on group work and discussion between students, so we can strengthen our communication skills. I believe the good points about Columbia are the close distance between teachers and students, and that the coursework and assignments helps deepens our understanding and learning, and strengthens our communication skills.

Mizuki Kishida (Senior)

I have been attending Columbia International School since Grade 1. When I entered this school, I could not even spell my name correctly. Now, I am in Grade 12 and my English is still not perfect, but I am capable of writing essays of more than a thousand words. Looking back at my twelve years studying at Columbia International School I feel like I have developed skills to speak in public and express my own opinions and ideas. Before entering Columbia International School, I was very shy and introverted. Through interacting with students from various cultures and with different nationalities, participating in different clubs, and doing presentation in front of the class, I strongly feel that I became more positive and sociable. Furthermore, the public Japanese schools mainly test students by asking answers to closed-ended questions, where there is only one correct answer. I think this is very important too, but this does not help students to be creative and come up with their own thoughts and ideas. Oppositely, Columbia International School focus is to help students develop their thinking skills through letting the students debate various international issues and share opinions with classmates. Many tests given are always full of open-ended questions, which makes our lives harder but also helping us to improve the ability to think by ourselves and express our opinion. I believe these are the most important skills to be successful in this modern society. Lastly, my favorite point about this school is that since there are fewer number of students in each grade, my classmates are like real family members. We know each other very well, and I feel like I can endure any difficulties with my classmates. The time when I am laughing with my classmates is when I strongly feel that I made a correct decision by entering Columbia International School.

Ms. K (A parent of a Senior student)

My daughter joined this school in 2004 and she is now in grade 12.
There are many ambitious G10 students joining CIS after Japanese junior schools as they strongly wish to study abroad for their universities. Returnees may be different but most students from Japanese school may be nervous and worried but I am always surprised at their flexibility and speed of adjusting to a new environment.
CIS senior students are very busy with everyday tasks and assignments, preparations for presentation, debates, group work and preparing for university. As my daughter is going to complete her high school program, I want to emphasize that parents in Japanese schools tend to leave everything to their children, but parents whose children are studying at international schools should be involved as much as they can because there are many paths available to post-secondary education that are very different from the Japanese Juken or Hensachi styles. Parents need to know how to find information, how to filter or narrow down options. What may give my child more future opportunities? What requirements will my child need to meet? TOEFL? SAT? what are those passing levels? I am not saying parents should do everything for their children but need to have some background knowledge to support them and help them get started in the right direction.

I read a new article the other day and it was about Japanese University entrance exam reforms for 2020 and students will be required to have speaking skills so that they can explain their ideas logically. Students here at Columbia are already actively involved in logical and critical thinking every day. Don’t you think that will give children more opportunity in the future? I strongly recommend, if you join CIS, that all parents should ask their children about their school, participate in school activities and get to know what their children do there, keep reminding themselves of their own original goal and make their school life fun and happy.

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