Aspect of HIS
I could hear my heart beating. As a 6-year-old boy, holding on tight to my father’s hands, I went into the classroom. That was the first day of school, going into kindergarten. I could hear people talking in a language I have no idea how to speak. At that time, the only language I could speak was Japanese. Saying bye to my father, I was left alone. However, much to my surprise, the first friend I made was somebody that didn’t know how to speak Japanese.
Later on that year, after spending time with him, there came a time when I suddenly noticed that I was able to speak English. Then I went onto Elementary school in the second floor of the school. Every new friend I made, was from a different country. This was the first time I noticed how much diversity in culture, this environment holds.
In 3rd grade, I moved to another school. Nearly bursting out in tears encountering the differences, not knowing what to do, I was left alone in the corner of the classroom. With more than 50 people in one classroom, everyone is blind to their surroundings. This one phrase asking if I was doing fine never came from anybody. After 3 months of suffering, I finally came back to the original school.
By the time I noticed, I was graduating from elementary and moving onto middle school.
From the moment I started in middle school, I could feel the damp air filled with pressure and stress from other older students. That was the first time I experienced academic struggle, especially in Math and Language Arts. As for Language arts, I started out as a developing student. High school was for me, a completely new atmosphere, and in front of me was a huge monster I can’t see. Academic struggle and the pressure to get good grades were relieved by something I never unexpected: Clubs. As I joined the soccer club, I regained the joy of sports and was able to make connections with others. After making soccer one of my biggest passion, the damp heavy atmosphere seemed to change into a welcoming community.
By the time I was getting out of middle school, I realized I was able to cope with Honors level in language arts. Moving to high school, I started to gain leadership roles. The weight of responsibility gets heavier, tormenting my brain with stress. However, this was the time when my love for music comes in as I started to play the piano along with cello that I have been playing from before.
Now, I am a junior struggling through classes in high school. In this brief narrative about my journey in this school from a Kindergartener to becoming a junior in high school, I haven’t yet explained one aspect of the story, and that is the people of this school. In times of struggle - with English, academics in middle school, the pressure to succeed, and the stress of responsibilities - and the improvements that followed, there were a lot of people who supported me - my ELL teacher, my friends, coach and more.
Hokkaido International School isn’t a huge community. Each classroom is in average about 20 students. In smaller classrooms, it can even reach down to a class of about 3-8 people. This allows each student to receive enough attention so that they could be supported and guided through harsh times like numerous people have done for me in the past. I wouldn’t have been able to go through this whole journey with numerous walls and curves without the people that supported me. A school is a place for improvement. This school allows you to improve alongside pieces of advice and support that people individually think of for you. Because these bits of advice from teachers and peers are made for you as an individual not for 50 people as a group, we can grow more.
This is the story of myself and Hokkaido International School for the past eleven and a half years.
I have been to many different schools - five different schools - but my experience in Hokkaido International School has been a particularly colorful and an exciting one. This is because I have spent my secondary school life in a dormitory, a living environment closely tied to the school community. Living in this environment can be a big challenge for some students, but I believe that everyone has the capacity to overcome or turn this into their advantage, just like I was able to.
I recently started to realize the significant character development that the HIS dorm gave me over the three years; as a senior, not having much time left in this school has made me reflect about the beginning of my secondary school life in the dorm. Before deciding to live in a dorm, I was worried about not getting along with dormmates or my roommate, having too much distraction for studying if I do get along with the other students, time scheduling, and the use of my allowance, and a whole bunch of things that other students would worry as well.
The third year into the life in HIS dormitory, all of these worries were solved and returned with two greater gifts, which are skills required in various fields outside of school as well. First of all, I attained a much-improved sense of responsibility because we are in an environment where we essentially have to depend on ourselves for every choice we make in numerous situations. Responsibility brings a wide range of skills, mainly effective time management, self-control, and money management. These skills specifically helped me to find a better balance between work and rest by effective scheduling of time, restraining from distractions, and adequately spending my allowance in consideration of living expenses and school events. I believe that I would not have been able to achieve these skills if I have not lived in the dormitory. I am now able to prioritize what is really important with my given amount of time in the most productive way possible.
The second most considerable positive change I have gone through was increased sociality. I used to be a very introverted person who had trouble talking to people I saw for the first time, especially if it was in an environment that I have never encountered. Because the dormitory is an environment closely tied to HIS, all students experience simultaneous interactions with the whole HIS community. As many people know, HIS being a community which many people from diverse backgrounds gather together, the dorm enhances and deepens this relationship between various types of people. Getting to know friends with different interests, personality, and culture has opened up more possibilities for me to connect with even more people, in addition to giving me more confidence. Respectively, having a sense of belonging in the school community more than any other schools, and giving me confidence has led to a broader adventure in my life. I took part in events and discussions that involved new and many people by participating in events such as jazz/rock band performances and felt comfortable talking to adults or school friends that I haven’t talked to.
Attending a boarding school in a dormitory is an extremely privileged experience. I’m grateful that I could experience what it feels like to be in a community so firmly tied to the school community. I came here with a lot of worries, many were able to develop into better students and members of society through the diverse experiences provided by the valuable time, people, service, and environment provided by the HIS dormitory.
Anh Tuong Nguyen
Hokkaido International School is a welcoming community where many languages are spoken, and many cultures interact. The school formed a small international playing field for its students to acquire new perspectives. There have been times some of us did not get along because our differences outgrew our similarities. However, with time, we all have developed a common ground and a shared love interest that brought the community together: Nature.
HIS outdoor programs heavily influence the school culture. There're so many chances for students to enjoy themselves with nature. Throughout the school year, there are hiking trips, white-water rafting trips, rock climbing trips, and my all-time favorite, snowboarding trips.
If you ask me: "Why do people love snowboarding?", I can spend a whole day lecturing you about the matter. It is utterly the sensation of the snow gliding through your face and goggles as you soar down the mountain.; the adrenaline building up inside of you as you get ready for the jump. Once you are on the air, the weight of the entire world falls beneath your feet, and suddenly, you realize how gorgeous the landscape is. The need for speed when riding is the beauty of snowboarding. You get the point.
"I wouldn't even call snowboarding a sport. For me, it's just a way of life. It's a chance to finally shut your brain off, and live within the moment. And, for as long as I am able, I will ride until the day I die" said Travis Rice-an American professional snowboarder.
With HIS Outdoors program in the known, snowboard club is made available to everyone in the school throughout the season. The club will take you snowboarding every Tuesday and Wednesday after school to BanK or Fu's-two spectacular mountains in Sapporo.
You will have your many firsts on the mountain: your first fall, your first crash, and then your first jump. Snowboarding is even more enjoyable when you ride with friends. These are the kind of experiences that you would want to hold onto as you progress in life. Furthermore, you could also earn "Outdoor Leadership Certificate"-a three-year commitment of taking leadership roles in Outdoor Pursuit and Outdoor Leadership classes and the fulfilment of others requirements. You will be presented a certificate and an official stamp on your diploma on your graduation day.
What are you waiting for? Grab yourself a snowboard and join us on the slope.