Ryugaku Fellowship

Nurture future leaders that embrace global challenges

What is Autonomous Strength?

With the mission to nurture future leaders that embrace global challenges, we support young people’s proactive learning through demonstrating studying abroad as an option for academic career.

Ryufellow encourages young people to critically engage with and design their own learning with the hope that they apply their knowledge to change the society for the better.

Under the calls for educational reform today, many have focused on improving pedagogical methods such the development of “active learning” and “project-based learning.” Instead, Ryufellow situates learning as a tool to critically examine and engage with one’s own life. Focusing on the questions of “why we learn” and “what we learn for,” we encourage young people to see their own learning beyond their classrooms. By demonstrating the option to build one’s own career path based on this continuous reflection, we hope to expand the possibilities through designing one’s own learning.

One of the approaches to learning that we support is studying abroad. Since studying abroad for college is not widely encouraged for students in Japan, making the decision to take this path requires critical examination of oneself, seeing options for learning beyond what is given, and having courage to step outside of the familiar. The learning process does not stop with making the decision to study abroad; students must continue designing and redesigning their learning in a foreign, demanding environment.

Since our establishment in 2014, we have been running two flagship programs primarily for high school students: Caravan and Summer Camp. Caravan is a series of career development workshops held across Japan that aims to consider various ways of learning, including the option of studying abroad for college. Summer camp is a week-long writing intensive program that provides practical counseling and support for prospective students preparing for foreign college applications. In these programs we value critical reflection through dialogue with peers, college-level mentors, and teachers.

Demonstrating the option of studying abroad is only a starting point. However, it is a rather significant one, as it embodies the vast possibilities that open by designing one’s own learning. Our ultimate goal is to create a society where each individual can design his or her own learning and pursue it. Choosing a college is only a means to an end. In Japan where the value of university education is deemed especially low, we believe that sharing this vision of college as a platform of learning is essential to nurturing leaders that can embrace global challenges.

Critically examining and engaging with oneself can be a lonely process. That is why our projects focus not only on individual growth but also on community support and network development. Through valuing the interactions between students peers, college-level mentors, teachers, and other support groups, we strive to connect and expand the communities of learning.

President, Ryu-fellow
Ryosuke Takashima

Our Activities / Results

Our Activities

▼Support for High School Students, by College Students
Our college student members who are currently studying abroad work to introduce high school students to various approaches to “learning” and the opportunities that sprout from those insights. By sharing real-life stories and experiences, they contribute to increasing the number of high school students who take on the challenge of “studying abroad.”

▼Establishment of a Learning Platform for Global Individuals
By introducing the option of “Universities abroad,” we hope to establish a new approach to education that is based on active learning that emphasizes singularity and uniqueness. In doing so, we bring current college students, Japanese high school students and teachers together to build a new platform for “learning.”

Ryugaku Caravan Trek


Meeting a wider world of learning through “study-abroad.”
At Ryugaku Caravan Trek, we conduct future planning workshops with college students that helps high school students reflect on their own future paths. By meeting college students who are currently studying at universities abroad, you’ll be able to learn what daily lives are like at universities abroad, as well as the process they went through to get to where they are now. We hope that through the Caravan Trek, high school students will be able to realize that they too, have the option of going to foreign universities.

Ryufellow Summer Camp

Summer Camp Program

Our Mission

Grasping the pathways to “studying-abroad” with your own hands – this summer camp is designed for high school juniors and seniors who are aspiring to study abroad. Led by current college students, participants will be able to address their self-identities through self-analysis/self-reflection workshops, while also developing their writing skills needed during the college application process. The main goal of this camp for participants is to finish one essay by the end of 5 days of camp. Participating in this summer camp also enables participants to apply for our scholarship program.


1.Self-Analysis Workshop
In order to appeal your personalities to college admission officers, it is most important to understand who you are, what your strengths/weaknesses are, what you are interested in etc. Through working on dialogue-based workshops which participants reflect on their backgrounds and crucial experiences that shapes who they are today with the help of mentors, participants will consider what their future visions are, and what kinds of academic career paths reflect their aspirations the best.
2.Self-Expression Workshop
In applying for colleges abroad, it is important to have a rich understanding of how to express yourself. Essay prompts students presented from their applying colleges range from essays to short questions which require only 2-word answers. Interviews are also an important part of college application. Furthermore, the ability to assert yourself to others is a necessary skill to be able to work in global settings after graduation. Working closely with mentors who have been practicing this skill in their actual daily lives at school, participants will gain hands-on practices during the camp.
▼Free Interaction
After workshops, participants and mentors get together under one big roof and interact with each other. From small chit chats about their daily lives to heavy discussions on their dreams, social issues and politics, the space is devoted for participants to be inspired and find their own role models among their mentors and peers. Not only does the interaction motivates the participants, but it also provokes them to come up with unique essay ideas and future collaborative activities among participants after summer camp.
▼Personal Essay Mentoring
A personal essay is the most crucial part of foreign college application processes. Since the Japanese college entrance exam is usually knowledge-focused, the importance of personal essays is not well recognized in Japan. In this program, mentors are devoted to reading each participant's essay from the first day to the last day in order to help participants improve their essays. In revising essays and discussing with participants, we focus on if their essays fully convey their personality and their message they found through self-analysis workshops. Our main goal of mentoring is to make participants become “independent writers.”

Overview of the Organization

Founding Date June 2014
Board Members PDF
Charter PDF
Location 3-4-7, Okamoto, Higashinada-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 658-0072 Japan
Abbreviated Name Ryugaku Fellowship / Ryufellow