Located in the beautiful Hakuba Valley in Japan, Hakuba International School (HIS) is a new boarding school dedicated to answering the question: What kind of education enables people and planet to flourish? Outdoor education, project-based learning, social emotional learning, and residential life all play essential roles in enabling students to develop the knowledge, skills, values, and perspectives necessary to realize their full potential. On its website, HIS says,
From daily interactions in the local forests to extended expeditions in the mountains and rivers, nature is the first teacher at HIS. The exploration of the mountains, forests, and rivers will be integral to the students' experience and learning at HIS.
HIS sits among the stunning Japanese Alps, providing walking distance to ski slopes and many opportunities to enjoy nature, forest bathe, and improve well-being during every season. Hakuba is approximately three hours from Tokyo by train, bus, or car.
Pending accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), HIS focuses on personal and environmental well-being, using methods such as inquiry-based learning to develop leaders who can solve the world’s most complex problems. In its founding year, 2022, HIS enrolled 20 students in Grades 7 and 8 but will add one grade level per year through Grade 12. Currently, 25% of its teaching staff is from Japan. The school aims to evolve toward a student population that is 50% Japanese and 50% international, over the next three years. Beyond that, HIS desires the percentage of international students to increase further.
The five elements of social emotional learning—Self Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making—are integrated throughout the curriculum and school life, in Advisory, in projects, on the sports field, and in outdoor expeditions.
Opened in August 2022, HIS’s first dormitory building, called The House, is a renovated, traditional Japanese inn. The House includes a Boys Wing and Girls Wing, with space for approximately 35 students and three faculty residents. The House has a commercial kitchen where a chef prepares delicious, wholesome, locally-sourced food. The House also features a dance/workout room, a dining hall, study space, and a public field directly adjacent. It is a five-minute walk from Mont Bien, the school’s first classroom building, and a short walk from the nine-acre land parcel that is being developed into the long-term HIS campus. Another dormitory property under development will be ready to open for the 2023-24 school year.
At HIS, students are trusted with high levels of responsibility. They form committees to help make decisions for the operations of the House. During after-school, evening, and weekend time, students can participate in activities and clubs of all kinds, or they can use the open time to relax, study, and connect with friends.
HIS hires singles and couples of diverse profiles wishing to teach overseas, including couples with a non-teaching partner, newly-certified candidates, and seasoned teachers without certification. They will also consider interns. Teachers need not hold an academic degree in the subject they will be teaching, and there is no age limit in Japan to obtain a work visa.
The benefits package includes allowances for moving, settling in, and monthly housing. Also provided is annual airfare for international teaching employees and their immediate dependents. Tuition for one child is free for those who are teaching abroad, and they are eligible to apply for a scholarship program for additional children. International teachers also benefit from being part of the Japanese national pension plan system. Local health insurance is fully covered, and HIS provides opportunities for professional development.
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Please note: The information presented about this school was valid on the date published. This information may change, and the most up-to-date information can be found on the school profile.