Dates: 27th July–4th August 2024

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023

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

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 participants in front of UCL main building

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 participants at UCL

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge is a prestigious annual summer school programme which has a tremendous reputation and impact since 2015. Pre-university students from Japan and the UK attend a series of university-style lectures on a wide range of subjects by academics from leading UK universities including UCL (University College London), and engage in UCL Grand Challenge Workshop. Participants also experience British university student life through staying in halls of residence at the University of Cambridge and UCL.

 

In the ninth year 2023, we are pleased to hold the programme on campus in the UK, after successfully delivering the programmes online between 2020 and 2022.

 

This programme was established in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Choshu Five and the Satsuma 19 students’ arrival at UCL. The Choshu Five were the first Japanese students who studied at a UK university, and upon return they played leading roles in modernising Japan. Since then, UCL and Japan have been enjoying close ties.

Why join us?

By participating in the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023, you can: 

Experience university style lectures

Experience university education by attending a series of lectures in various subjects.

Learn Japanese culture

Learn Japanese culture from a wide range of lectures and interact with participants from all over the country. You can make friends from Japan!

Study options

Learn how to get on to UCL and other top UK universities. The UCL admissions team guide you through the application process.

Engagement

Engage in lectures and activities around topics relating to this year’s programme: Resilience.

More opportunities to learn

Have information about the Japan Foundation, London’s programmes.

World-leading lecturers

Explore various fields with world-leading lecturers, engage in dedicated activities, and develop your ideas through participating the UCL Grand Challenge Workshop.

Theme: 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.

Resilience

UCL Grand Challenge Workshop

UCL Grand Challenges

As part of the programme, we host the UCL Grand Challenge Workshop on this year’s theme: Resilience (please see Programme outline below).

UCL Grand Challenges is an initiative of the UCL Vice-Provost (Research) to bring researchers from across UCL interdisciplinarily, which have changed the way researchers investigate the world’s problems, since 2009.

There are six UCL Grand Challenges; Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Cultural Understanding, Human Wellbeing, Justice & Equality, and Transformative Technology.

UCL Grand Challenge Workshop during the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge focuses on one of these challenges every year.

UCL Grand Challenge of Justice & Equality
UCL Grand Challenge of Transformative Technology
UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health
UCL Grand Challenge of Sustainable Cities
UCL Grand Challenge of Cultural Understanding
UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing
UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 - UCL Grand Challenge Workshop illustration

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023, UCL Grand Challenge Workshop illustation by Scriberia

Programme outline

On campus programme

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

 

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

 


 

You must attend Days 1, 4–8 (six days in total), i.e. the Rikkyo School in England programme (Day 1) and the London programme (Days 4–8).

 

The Cambridge programmes in Days 2 and 3 are optional to attend.

 

Accommodation is available at Rikkyo School in England, the University of Cambridge and UCL (University of London).

 

If you do not require UCL (University of London) accommodation, your last day on the programme is Day 8: Saturday 29th July 2023.

 

If you stay at UCL (University of London) accommodation, you will check out on Day 9: Sunday 30th July 2023.

 


DayLocationBreakfast

Participants staying at our accommodation only
MorningLunchAfternoonDinner

Participants staying at our accommodation only, except Days 1, 7 & 8
Day 0

Friday 21st July 2023

Participants from Japanese high schools only: check-in day
Rikkyo School in England, West Sussex RH12 3BE Participants from Japanese high schools only: arrival at London Heathrow AirportParticipants from Japanese high schools only: Rikkyo School in England
Day 1

Saturday 22nd July 2023

All participants must attend, first day
Rikkyo School in England, West Sussex RH12 3BE Participants from Japanese high schools only: Rikkyo School in EnglandWelcome event:
- Welcome talk by UCL Prof Shin-ichi Ohnuma, Chair of the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge
- Self- and school-introductions
Rikkyo School in EnglandIce-breaking activitiesAll participants: Barbecue at Rikkyo School in England
Day 2

Sunday 23rd July 2023

Optional for participants without our accommodation
University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1TN

(1 of 2 days)
Rikkyo School in EnglandMove to CambridgeRobinson College, University of CambridgeCambridge group sightseeingDining Hall, Robinson College, University of Cambridge

* Cambridge college formal dinner
Day 3

Monday 24th July 2023

Optional for participants without our accommodation
University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1TN

(2 of 2 days)
Robinson College, University of Cambridge- Lecture
- Post-talk discussion activities
Hughes Hall, University of CambridgeLecturesGarden Restaurant, Robinson College, University of Cambridge
Day 4

Tuesday 25th July 2023

All participants must attend
UCL, London WC1E 6BT

(1 of 5 days)
Robinson College, University of CambridgeMove to LondonUCL- UCL Grand Challenge Workshop
- Group work
International Hall, University of London
Day 5

Wednesday 26th July 2023

All participants must attend
UCL, London WC1E 6BT

(2 of 5 days)
International Hall, University of LondonLanguage lesson:
- English
- Japanese beginner
- Japanese advanced

(1 of 2 lessons)
UCL- Lectures
- Group work
International Hall, University of London
Day 6

Thursday 27th July 2023

All participants must attend
UCL, London WC1E 6BT

(3 of 5 days)
International Hall, University of LondonLanguage lesson:
- English
- Japanese beginner
- Japanese advanced

(2 of 2 lessons)
UCL- The London Borough of Camden event
- UCL tour
- Group work
International Hall, University of London
Day 7

Friday 28th July 2023

All participants must attend
UCL, London WC1E 6BT

(4 of 5 days)
International Hall, University of London- Visit Camden Town Hall
- Group work
UCLSymposium (including group presentation) & ReceptionAll participants: Buffet at the Reception
Day 8

Saturday 29th July 2023

All participants must attend, final day for participants without our accommodation
UCL, London WC1E 6BT

(5 of 5 days)
International Hall, University of LondonLondon group sightseeing (and lunch) Not providedFinal ceremonyAll participants: pizza party at UCL
Day 9

Sunday 30th July 2023

Participants staying at our accommodation only: check-out day
International Hall, University of LondonDeparture

* We reserve the right to change or modify any of the programme details, at any time and in our sole discretion.

 

Participants will be provided a detailed itinerary.

Fee

Japanese high schools should refer to the join us page in Japanese, as the fee is different from that for the UK-based participants.

The fee below covers the complete cost of the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023.

To secure your place on the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023, you will need to pay your fees in full. Details of how to pay your fees will be provided as part of the application process.

 

£100

 

* Our standard programme fee was £300, however by courtesy of various sponsors in the UK, we are pleased to announce that the fee for UK based participants has been reduced to £100.

 

** If you require accommodation, additional fees will apply.

Homework

In order to deepen participants’ understanding of this year’s theme, homework will be provided in July.

UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 & the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The UCL-Japan Youth Challenge may count for your Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) through the Residential section.

You must make sure that you meet the requirements if you wish to be awarded a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award through the Residential section before you apply for the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023.

Your participation in the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023 on its own does not grant a DofE Award.

 

For more information about the Residential section and its requirements, please refer to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award’s website: Sections | Residential section FAQ | Residential Session Plan | Checklist

Lectures

Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge

Lecturer
Resilience during fall of Kabul

 

Sir Laurie Bristow KCMG

President

Hughes Hall

University of Cambridge

Lecturer
Post-talk discussion activities

 

Dr Pete Dudley

Governing Body Fellow, Hughes Hall

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

University of Cambridge

Robinson College, University of Cambridge

Dr Michael Ishida
Soft materials introduce resiliency into robotics

 

Dr Michael Ishida

Postdoctoral researcher

Department of Engineering

University of Cambridge

Dr Liza Emirali
Change is in the air

 

Dr Liza Emirali

TTI Fellow

MRC Toxicology Unit

University of Cambridge

Lecturer

Dr Corinne Roughley

Governing Body Fellow

Director of Studies in Archaeology

Hughes Hall

University of Cambridge

Dr Bertrand Flipo
Developing a resilient mind and body through Aikido and Chado

 

Dr Bertrand Flipo

Project Manager

The Welding Institute

UCL

UCL
Introduction of UCL Foundation courses & Undergraduate

 

Mr Martin White

Head of Student Recruitment, Marketing & Communications

UCL Centre for Languages & International Education

The UCL Academy
Global leadership: what the books bought at airports don’t tell you!

 

Mr Chris Chivers

Philosophy Teacher, Head of Year 13

The UCL Academy

Dr Jim Berry
Leadership Under Uncertainty

 

Dr Jim Berry

Lecturer (assistant professor)

Director – The UCL MBA

UCL School of Management

Dr Adnan Mehonic
How Big a Deal is Hardware for AI, Now and Down the Road?

 

Dr Adnan Mehonic

Lecturer in Nanoelectronics

Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering

Faculty of Engineering Sciences

UCL

Embassy of Japan in the UK
Japanese fellowship for UK-based students

 

Ms Yoshiko Matsunaga

Embassy of Japan in the UK

JSPS London
Japanese fellowship for UK-based students

 

Ms Kaori Fukuyama

The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) London

The Japan Foundation
The Japan Foundation, London talk

 

Ms Iona Vos

Assistant Programme Officer for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange

The Japan Foundation, London

Affiliations are correct as of July 2023

Symposium & Reception

We welcomed the public to our Resilience Symposium & Reception on Friday 28th July 2023.

As part of the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023, a prestigious summer school programme for pre-university students from both the UK and Japan since 2015, we welcomed the public to our Symposium and Reception on Friday 28th July from 1pm.

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.

We are delighted to welcome speakers from the senior team of the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR), including Prof David Alexander and Prof Joanna Faure Walker, Head of Department.

In collaboration with Tohoku University, world-leading researchers including Prof Shinichi Kuriyama, Director of the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) and Prof Masahiro Yamaguchi, Vice President for Education Reform and Global Engagement, deliver talks on the summer school’s programme theme ‘Resilience’.

We are pleased to return to the UCL Bloomsbury campus for the first time since 2019, inviting the public to this event to discuss our post-pandemic future in light of resilience.

The London Borough of Camden events

We hosted two special events in collaboration with the London Borough of Camden.

We invited the team from Camden and the Mayor Cllr Nazma Rahman to learn about the development projects in the borough, including the Knowledge Quarter, King’s Cross redevelopment and the development work at the British Library, on Thursday 27th July 2023.

Our visit to Camden Town Hall was on Friday 28th July 2023, where our participants from Kagoshima Prefecture delivered a speech to celebrate their friendship agreement between the prefecture and the borough.

The following article was featured on the Camden New Journal on Thursday 3rd August 2023.

150 years of special link to ‘Samurai’

(Article image courtesy of the London Borough of Camden)

Final ceremony

Risa Hanai, who participated in the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2019 & 2021, then completed the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate in 2023, made a speech to the 2023 participants during the Final ceremony.

When I was 15 years old, with no experience of staying abroad for more than two weeks, I was really excited to see a lot of students from all over Japan and the UK. But then from the third day we started to listen to the lectures. Did anyone understand all the lectures that we took in this programme? Honestly, five years ago, as a participant, I didn’t really understand them. But the important thing is what to do after not understanding the lecture. Did you search the lecturer’s name in advance? Did you try to ask questions with the limited understanding? Or did you just complain?

Resilience only arises from thriving to solve difficult problems. So when you are faced with such issues that you can’t understand the lecture or you can’t speak well in English or Japanese in discussion, find the way to go through them.

Resilience is about accepting new changes, even if it looks worse than before. And you are the one and only young generation that have survived pandemic and base the future on your experience. If you have a problem like that in your future, you can fight against it. Some might just curse their loss. But I hope you can accept the reality and attempt to perform better with what you have right now.

Finally, resilience is thinking about future. I hope some of you guys will come back to the UK with resilience you develop.

Risa Hanai

(Text as provided)

What our participants say

Thank you for an unforgettable experience, I have met so many incredible people and had a wonderful time. This has changed my life. I am indescribably grateful to everyone involved.

I am honoured to be participating in the UCL-Japan Youth Challenge 2023. I was able to make many friends and able to improve my English. I have a new dream to study abroad.

I enjoyed it very much. I got to know all sorts of values anew by getting involved with people. Thank you so much for creating this opportunity.

Thank you very much for 10 days. I am currently working hard to get into UCL, but this experience was a turning point in my life. Making lifelong friends in England and being able to actively ask questions in English in lectures are all my treasured memories. I will continue to study without forgetting what I learned this time so that I can become a person who can play an active role in the UK and the world in the future.

It was a really really great opportunity for me. I learned many things in this programme and made a lot of friends. I sincerely appreciate everyone. Thank you very much!

It was an excellent experience to take part in this programme.

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.

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?

What teachers say

Participants from Japanese high schools participated 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.

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.

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.

Programme highlight videos

London programme highlights

UCL Grand Challenge Workshop

Participants’ thank you video

Debrief meetings

Many of our participants from Japanese high schools reflect on their learning and findings through debrief meetings at their schools.

Participants from Seikyo Gakuen Junior & Senior High School held the debrief meeting in September 2023
Participants from Seikyo Gakuen Junior & Senior High School held the debrief meeting in September 2023

Seikyo Gakuen Senior High School

Participants from Fukushima Prefecture presenting at the debrief meeting in November 2023

Fukushima Prefecture

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

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

Committee members (in alphabetical order by first name):

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
UK Japan Institute
Shimizu Corporation
清水建設
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation
Fukushima Prefecture
Kagoshima Prefecture
London Borough of Camden
Tohoku University
Tohoku University
Tohoku University International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS)
Tohoku University International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS)
Fukushima College
Daishichi Sake Brewery
Kashiwaya
Fukushima-15 Project
Mitoco Kawachi Corporation
UCL Grand Challenges
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