BA Geography alum receives prestigious Daiwa Scholarship

A BA Geography alum has received a prestigious Daiwa Scholarship, a unique 19-month programme in Japan offered to only eight scholars in the UK.

Isabelle Ward, who graduated from the School of Geography in 2016 with a degree in BA Geography (International), has received this scholarship which gives her the opportunity to move to Japan in September 2019 for 19 months, where she will study Japanese and undertake a homestay and work placement in Tokyo.

After graduating from the University of Leeds, Isabelle worked at the Environment Agency in Leeds in the flood mapping team for new and existing development, before moving to London and completing an International Planning Masters at University College London. Once she completed her Masters course, she worked at the Department for Transport as a Policy Advisor for Crossrail 2.

Isabelle said: “Both my degrees have had the international perspective I've always found the most interesting part of city and environmental 'big questions' - what is the best way to house and transport people, how do you protect the environment in the long and short term. I think the best solutions often lie in an amalgamation of planning policies and practices from lots of different places.”

Applicants must demonstrate clear career objectives and a commitment to furthering UK-Japan links before being awarded the scholarship.

Isabelle explained: “I first came across Japanese housing policies when writing my undergraduate dissertation on cooperatives at Leeds and that, alongside my work for Crossrail 2, formed the second half of what they wanted to hear about in my application.

“They wanted to know I had a clear career aim – mine is to better fuse together social and environmental policies in planning, either at the level of an international organisation working on climate mitigation, or at the city level as an 'international planner' who learns from around the globe.”

They wanted to know I had a clear career aim – mine is to better fuse together social and environmental policies in planning, either at the level of an international organisation working on climate mitigation, or at the city level as an 'international planner' who learns from around the globe

“Obviously, I'm delighted to receive the scholarship and really excited to move to Tokyo and experience first-hand what I have only read about so far. I'm braced that learning Japanese shall be a lot of work, but it will be worth it to begin to understand how one of the biggest and most complicated cities in the world functions and to gain the cultural insight that learning the language offers.”

Isabelle will move to Tokyo in September, following a month of Japanese language study in the UK. 

The deadline for the 2020 programme is Thursday 5 December 2019.

Further information

Find out more about the Daiwa Scholarship.