Khant Khine is a student of the B.E. (Hons.) programme in Electronics & Communication Engineering.
My name is Khant Khine and I am a third year ECE student at MIIT. Recently, I went on a journey to Japan and South-East Asia on a programme called “SSEAYP.” I wish to share my experiences from this programme.
What is SSEAYP?
The Ship for South East Asian and Japanese Youth Program, or “SSEAYP” for short, is a programme which started in 1974. It initially began due to the efforts of Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Over the years, other ASEAN countries joined the programme as well and today the participating countries consist of Japan and all the ASEAN nations. In this programme, youths from Japan and South-East Asia travel aboard the ship Nippon Maru and visit Japan and the ASEAN countries. The programme is held every year and the 45th SSEAYP was held in 2018.
What are the requirements?
SSEAYP is aimed at youths between the ages of 18 and 30. These youths must have a strong background in community service as well as extensive knowledge about the world. Every year, 28 participating youths (PYs) and 1 national leader (NL) are selected from each country, amounting to a total of 330 youths and national leaders participating in the programme.
What is done aboard the ship?
The participants of SSEAYP travel aboard the ship Nippon Maru. However, it is not always fun and games aboard the ship. Participants take part in Py-Seminars, where the youths from different countries share knowledge about the cultures of their homelands. There are also discussion groups (DGs), where the participating youths band together to address problems faced by their communities and work together to find out a solution.
Which countries were visited this year?
There are POCs (Ports-of-Call) every year and this year we visited five countries, including Japan. Our journey first took us to Japan, followed by Brunei, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In all these countries, we had homestays with locals. We also had institutional visits to local universities and community buildings.
My SSEAYP Journey
My SSEAYP journey began before I left Myanmar. After being selected a representative of Myanmar, I had to undergo two training camps at the University of Yangon over three months. Then, I boarded the plane for Japan and landed at Narita Airport, Tokyo. After arriving in Japan, the Myanmar contingent went to the cabinet office for a briefing on what to do and what to expect in SSEAYP. After that, we were sent to Hotel New Otani, where we stayed for three days.
We were given a free day on the first day and I went to Akihabara to do some shopping. The next day, we had an orientation in Hotel New Otani. On the third day, we went for an institutional visit to Mitsui Fudosan in Nihonbashi. On the fourth day, we all departed for the respective prefectures we had to visit in Japan.
Along with 29 international youths, I boarded the bullet train to Nagano. We spent around 4 days in Nagano with the locals. When we came back from Nagano to Tokyo, we stayed in the National Youth Centre (NYC) for around three days. During that time, we had to exhibit some models that showcased our country. After our stay at the NYC, we departed for Tokyo port to board our ship, the M.S. Nippon Maru.
The Nippon Maru first sailed for Brunei, where we had institutional visits and homestays. After leaving Brunei, we went to the Philippines, followed by Thailand and Vietnam. Finally, after leaving Vietnam, we sailed back to Japan where we stayed for a day before boarding the plane back to Myanmar. With the post-programme dinner three days later, my SSEAYP journey came to an end.
SSEAYP was an important milestone in my life. I gained many new friends, as well as different perspectives of different nationalities. There were also chances for us to strike bonds with people from diverse backgrounds, allowing us better opportunities for building connections – both in social and economic aspects. However, the most important thing was the friendships and the global perspective that I gained during this time. I believe that alone makes SSEAYP a programme worth participating in.