What is SWY?
SWY stands for the Ship for World Youth. It is a programme run and entirely funded (i.e. its free to participate) by the Japanese Government to further cultural understanding and leadership, and is aided by the UN. It sees approximately 150 Japanese youths and 150 youths from around the world (youth is generally aged 18-35) spend a couple of weeks in Japan, staying with a host family, touring the city and participating in various activities before boarding a cruise ship that spends further weeks sailing to other countries. On board the ship, everyone participates in a national presentation of their culture and, academic sessions on topics that vary from the UN to the environment to youth development, and other fun activities.
How have I been involved?
What did I get out of it?
Like-minded friends from interesting countries, knowledge about some really diverse cultures and personal growth. Staying with a Japanese family was amazing, as was visiting Tonga and Vanuatu with new friends from those countries as tour guides. I learnt Japanese dancing, became assistant leader of my group, and presented on the topic of cross-cultural communication. It was a phenomenal experience, a really intense two months, and now I am part of a global network that sends each other imformation about similar experiences and mets all over the world!
How do you apply?
SWY NZ Alumni page here, and flick me an email so I know you're interested, and I will email you the application once it's out. Applicants should be between 18 and 30, and be involved in working for or volunteering with young people. Decisions are made by the Ministry of Youth Development, SWY NZ Alumni, and the Japanese Embassy. If you are from another country, you can check whether or not you're involved on the SWY website here. Other countries participating in 2012 are Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, India, Japan, Peru, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Venezuela. SWY24 will visit Singapore, Sri Lanka and India.
Ship for World Youth New Zealand - click here
Ship for World Youth International - click here
You can also see the photos I took during my trip here, here and here.