The experience of going abroad for academic studies or cultural exchanges is invaluable; doing these things on a cruise ship with hundreds of students from the ASEAN region and Japan is awesome!
The Ship for South East Asia Youth Program (SSEAYP) was launched in 1974 by the Japanese government to give students from around Asia a chance to share their countries’ cultures. Cambodians were invited to jump on board in 2000 and in the last decade more than 300 young professionals from the Kingdom have made the trip across the ocean.
“The purpose of SSEAYP is to promote friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding among the youths of Japan and ASEAN countries; to promote their perspectives on the world, as well as encourage them to be goodwill youth ambassadors in their home countries,” said Moeun Morn, president of SSEAYP International Cambodia (SIC).
The programme, which is completely free for people who win a spot on the ship, begins in the end of October when all participants fly to Tokyo, Japan, for a week of formal meetings with Japanese heads of state and sightseeing tours. Participants also give cultural performances to introduce and promote their homelands. While in Japan, SSEAYP participants also fly to various parts of the country to stay with a Japanese family for two or three days.
After a week in Japan the 300 ASEAN and 70 Japanese youth set off for the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
Chea Sovanraksmey, a 24-year-old who participated in SSEAYP in 2008, said that people from each country have a night on the ship to give a presentation about their culture. There were also group discussions about youth issues, environment, education and food safety that Chea Sovanraksmey said helped her improve her skills. “Participants start talking about what they will do after the programme to improve their community,” she said, adding that former SSEAYP participants have started projects around environmental and hygiene awareness and the importance of education in Cambodia.
If you want to secure a spot on the ship you need to take a written test about your general knowledge of ASEAN countries, as well as your English language skills, Moeun Morn said. He added that prospective participants should also “have the ambition to find something new and love community activities”.
For more information contact:
152 Norodom Blvd., Sangkat Tonle Bassak, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone: 012 299 804 / 012 553 155