UCL-Japan Youth Challenge


On campus summer school programme


Rikkyo School in England | University of Cambridge | UCL

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge is an annual summer school programme since 2015

Every year, pre-university students from UK sixth form colleges and Japanese high schools enjoy cultural interaction through various educational activities and events held at UCL (University College London) and the University of Cambridge.


The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 was held on campus in the UK between 22nd July and 30th July 2023.

Our aims at the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge

World map

Face and challenge social issues in a global sense

University style lectures

Experience in attending lectures delivered by the world’s leading academics

Path to world leading universities

Guide a path to the world’s top universities

Creative thinking

Have a good command of English


Interact and exchange ideas

Problem solving

Establish a positive attitude and become independent

Programme outline

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023

On campus summer school programme


Dates: Saturday 22nd July – Sunday 30th July 2023 (9 days)


* Participants from Japanese high schools arrived on Friday 21st July and stayed at our accommodation throughout the programme.


Day 1 | Saturday 22nd July 2023

Rikkyo School in England, West Sussex RH12 3BE

First day of the programme, all participants attend our welcome event at Rikkyo School in England, in Horsham, West Sussex


Days 2 & 3 | Sunday 23rd & Monday 24th July 2023

University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1TN


Days 4–8 | Tuesday 25th–Saturday 29th July 2023

UCL, London WC1E 6BT


Day 9 | Sunday 30th July 2023


Theme in 2023: Resilience

Our world in 2023 is experiencing diverse challenges, including natural disasters, war, the pandemic and economic recession. We need a society where it can adopt rapid and agile recovery from dynamic and unpredictable challenges. Therefore, we are confronting the topic of ‘resilience of the global society’ in the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 this year, offering opportunities to every individual to consider what resilience means to you.


2023 programme highlight videos

London programme highlights

UCL Grand Challenge Workshop

Participants’ thank you video

What our participants say

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2021

Participants from Japanese high schools present their school facilities, club activities, school events, and share their enthusiasm for the programme prior to their participation.

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2017

UCL-Japan Young Challenge 2016

(renamed to the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge in 2017)

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge has provided me a new point of view towards my global success. Undoubtedly, my passion towards this programme has had a magnificent impact on this society and has enhanced my self-esteem. (2020)

I enjoyed my time during the programme. Not only did I make friends, but I also learned more about teamwork and broadened my mind to other possible solutions to problems. (2020)

This programme gave me the opportunity to experience both cultural exchange and scientific enquiry. It also made me think about what it means to study abroad, which will help me to make better choices for my future. (2020)

This experience has made me realise the importance of being proactive. When I go to university, I would like to study abroad for a year, and I believe being proactive will be very important for that too. (2020)

I had wonderful interaction with students from different schools. Everyone, including the facilitators, kindly supported me in finishing this programme. (2020)

I was able to participate in discussion actively, and I learnt to express my ideas step by step, giving reasons and examples why I think so, and to speak in English. It was a very good experience for me as it was different from discussion I had at school. (2020)

By attending the valuable lectures on the spreading coronavirus, from various perspectives, I was able to deepen my knowledge and become interested in new fields, not to mention the fields that I have been interested in. In addition, by discussing in English with the UK students, I not only improved my English, but I also felt that we were able to cooperate with each other and deepen our friendship online. I am very glad that the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge was held online and that I was able to participate in this programme even though I could not meet people in person. (2020)

Although it was held online, the programme was very enriching as it allowed me to improve my English and become aware of cultural differences. I have very fond memories of the presentation that I made with my group members, even though it was done through a screen. It was a great opportunity for me to broaden my horizons by attending lectures by experts on coronavirus, which is still a global problem that is not uncommon in our daily lives. (2020)

Being able to meet high school students from all over the world, who I would never otherwise have the chance to meet, has given me a lot of new inspiration, but it has also given me the opportunity to see myself in a whole new light. The painful realisation that I was not good enough was the starting point for my current growth. (2020)

I was inspired by many amazing people I have never met before, people who speak several languages and people who have been to universities abroad. (2020)

I learnt that it is important to keep a broad perspective and to think. I realised that it is not possible to find a solution only within the scope of one’s own thinking, but it is important to do research and listen to the ideas of others in the same group and from different countries. (2020)

The people I met at the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge are still my friends two years later, and we still support each other’s dreams regardless of where we are now. Those 10 days of meeting new people, learning and experiencing have broadened my horizons more than I expected, and led me to new possibilities and challenges. (2019)

After participating in this programme, I feel that I have less hurdles to challenge myself than before. The participants had different goals and dreams, and each of them took many actions to achieve their own goals. Seeing this in my friends inspired me to take the initiative in student council and club activities. (2019)

I was overwhelmed from start to finish by the high aspirations, sharp perspectives and English language skills of the participants, but I tried my best to keep up with them over the 10 days. The special experience of attending lectures at British universities influenced me in many ways and made me more willing to speak up and not be afraid. (2019)

What parents/legal guardians say

We wanted to thank you a lot for the exceptional quality of your programme. Our son had such a very enjoyable time.

He talked extensively about the lectures, challenges and great interaction he had with his Japanese pairs.

Building on the beginners Japanese course he received, he is now truly committed to learning Japanese on Duolingo.

Many thanks again for giving our son this wonderful opportunity which indeed confirmed his long interest into the Japanese culture and desire to study there at least for a year at university. (2023)

I would like to say a huge thank you to you, and all that were involved in making this UCL-Japan Youth Challenge possible. Our son had the most wonderful time, not only has this experience deepened his love and passion for Japanese, and the culture, but also given him ideas for his future. Also, and most importantly, it allowed him to have some independence and to push himself out of his comfort zone.

The whole experience, from start to finish has been more than we could have ever expected, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity given him.

Would it be possible for our son to attend next year? (2023)

What teachers say

Participants from Japanese high schools participate in the programme with their school teachers.

All the participants from our school were very satisfied that they had completed this intensive programme. Their parents said that they were really glad to have them participate when they saw how they were doing after returning home.

It was a great pleasure for me as a teacher to see how my students grew and developed their confidence during the programme. (2023)

The great thing about this programme is that we can network with other participating schools. We were immediately introduced to a forum and participated online.

There are many initiatives that overlap with several participating schools and I am hopeful that we can collaborate in the future. (2023)

Our students were able to immerse themselves in British English throughout the programme, visit Rikkyo School in England, the University of Cambridge and UCL to have lectures and talks by leading researchers and experts, meet the wonderful staff including the chair of the programme, Prof Ohnuma, and make friends from both the UK and Japanese high schools. It was a valuable experience in every way.

I also learnt a lot from the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023. (2023)

This summer school programme is organised by the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge Committee.

Chair: Prof Shin-ichi Ohnuma, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

本サマースクールプログラムはUCL-Japan Youth Challenge実行委員会によって開催されています。

実行委員長:大沼信一教授、UCL Institute of Ophthalmology

Committee members (first names by alphabetical order):


Dr Anawat Suppasri, Ayato Yamazaki, Emiko Asagoshi, Prof Hidekazu Kurebayashi, Hideyuki Miyahara, Kaito Mizukoshi, Kentaro Kimura, Makoto Yoshida, Manaka Abe, Dr Masazumi Tada, Dr Masako Shimato, Dr Miwako Kitamura, Momo Sakai, Risa Hanai, Seitaro Taketani, Sumire Kaimori, Wataru Tage, Dr Yasu Takeuchi, Dr Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, Yuta Nagano

Japan Foundation
Rikkyo School in England
Rikkyo School in England
UK Japan Institute
UK Japan Institute
Shimizu Corporation
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Tohoku University
Tohoku University
Tohoku University International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS)
Tohoku University International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS)
Daishichi Sake Brewery
Fukushima-15 Project
Mitoco Kawachi Corporation
UCL Grand Challenges
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