En månad i James Madison University, USA!

Under Sommaren 2017 fick jag chansen att åka till James Madison University som utbytes student via Malmö Universitet. Under en hel månad skulle jag tillsammans med ett 10 tal andra studenter från, Kina, Taiwan och Argentina, lära mig mer om ledarskap.

Det bästa med programmet var att jag fick lära känna vänner från olika delar av världen. Tillsammans bodde vi på fräscha “dorms” i grace street som dessutom hade air-condition!   Den goda Buffé maten som skolans egna matsal erbjöd var dunder! Och dessutom var den gratis för oss! Där serverades frukost, lunch och middag. Vi fick även tillgång till universitets egna gymnastiksal som innehöll Gym, simbassäng, klätterställe, tennis, basketboll, squash mm. Jag kan väl säga att James Madison University och de ansvariga studenterna tog hand om oss väl och vi blev lite bortskämda.

2 dagar in på programmet var det 4:e Juli. Vilket innebär självständighetsfirande för det amerikanska folket. Harrissonburgs torg omvandlades till en festival med hoppborg och country music.

Varannan dag var vi på universitet och hade seminarier tillsammans med duktiga professorer. Och varannan dag gick vi ut på utflykter. Vi var ute och campade i skogen, Sov 2 nätter i Washington DC, besökte virginias berömda amusement park, besökte caverns, gick på outlet mm. Det bästa för mig var då vi besökte “boys and Girls club”. Det är som en fritidsgård för socioekonomiskt utsatta barn. Under en dag fick vi leka med barnen och lära känna dem.

Jag har bifogat bilder från resan!

Fierce sun, heavy rain and emotional goodbyes

Before the magic of Bali fades from our system we will try and relay what happened the last couple of days. The plan was to upload more posts during the journey but three days in to the conference it all became so hectic and the days became so long, there was simply no time. BUT here we are. for one final round. And what a fantastic couple of days we had.

The committee had done a fabulous job in keeping us busy, having planned to field trips per day for Thursday and Friday. On the first day we got to go snorkeling to see how the coral reef around Bali was coping with the climate change. As with most things climate related, it wasn’t all happy faces, however, we got to get insight into how the organisation Reef Check Indonesia is working towards a more sustainable way of enabling locals to take care of the reefs. And the waters around Bali were as wonderful as ever, giving some of us a glimpse of three playing dolphins.

Getting ready to snorkel at the Japanese Shipwreck.

After the reef check we moved on towards the next sight for sore eyes; Tirta Gangga; a spectacular water garden built in 1946 for the royal family.

Inga & DIna; Sweden, enjoying the gardens wearing fashionable sarongs.

At Tirta Gangga we were also given the pleasure of seing, and participating in(!), traditional Balinese dancing.

The dancers put on a spectacular show…

… and some of the people how chose Balinese dancing as their cultural activity a few days earlier were put to the test by the masters! 

On the second day of field trips we got up almost equally early and set out for the next spectacular day. This time we headed for the mountains to see an organic farm.

After an initial introduction to the farm, the corps and the farm’s way of using eco-friendly fertilization and pesticides we were put to work. Inga and Khalil; Sweden, doing a terrific job planting lettuce.

Before going to the farm, we were explicitly told to wear pants and not skirts. When asking the reason for this, as we were wondering if it was religious, we were given the information that it would be very cold and windy. Well… it was safe to say that for the Swedes this was not quite an issue as the temperature was still around 25 degrees and when, after an hour, the sun came out we all came home later that evening with quite a sunburn…

After having a phenomenal lunch at the farm, getting to taste their produce we got back on the buses and headed towards the next destination; Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. As we got there it was quite foggy and after an hour or so it started to rain, but all in all it was another wonderful (long) day.

Fernesto; Indonesia, displaying the temple depicted in the 50 000 Rupiah bill. 

SO. After three days of lectures, seminars and work shops and two days of field trips we finally had our free exploration day. Now, I won’t go into detail on what each of us did here, because I could go on forever showing you a million pictures of everyone’s fantastic adventures. If you want to know more about that; you’ll simply have to ask us!

However, we are moving towards the end and the last day was probably the biggest adventure of them all. We got up at dawn to participate in the grand finale organized by the committe; The Amazing Race. We all set out at 7.15 without breakfast, without a clue of where the race would take us. Unfortunately at 7.30 it started raining. Heavy. And it didn’t stop. By the time we reached the second challenge it had turned into a full blown storm we were all soaking wet and the committe decided to cancel the race.


It was very cold and very wet and we were not very happy. 

I cannot in words describe how wet we were, the only way to fathom it is by me telling you that as we got back to the hotel, we got in the pool fully dressed, and it didn’t make any sort of difference in terms of wetness.

After recovering for a while the day moved on to the poster presentation prepared by each group. Now this layout was a bit unfamiliar to many of us and the afternoon became a lot longer than we anticipated. Nonetheless we got to see many great posters proposing many good ideas for change.

At 5 pm we were all dressed and ready for the closing ceremony where we had been asked to wear traditional formal wear. Seeing how this is more common in Asian countries and not something you see everyday in the west, the surprise factor was quite high when Sofia showed up wearing an Ingelsta-dräkt belonging to her mother. In just a few minutes she, and everyone else who dressed in their absolutely beautiful traditional wear became tourist attractions with pictures taken left and right.

Sofia together with the Bangladesh delegation.

The closing ceremony was great with everyone receiving their diplomas and us getting to see several cultural performances and getting a final chance to say goodbye to each other, sharing laughs and tears from the past week.

So to sum up; this has been an absolutely incredible phenomenal adventure from start to finish and we would recommend anyone and everyone to part take in it if the opportunity is given next year. What you should know is this; the days are LONG, the cultural immersion is HIGH, and the experience is PRICELESS. Below is a list of things we would like to share with future delegations.

  • January is wet season in Indonesia so when they say bring raincoat/umbrella – do. Because it will rain. At times A LOT.
  • The cost of being in Bali is not very high. We had exchanged between 800 and 2000 SEK and depending on how much shopping you did, this was perfectly enough.
  • You will be tired. The days will be long, warm and require a lot of energy so EAT. Plenty and often.
  • If there is anything you don’t understand in the conference guide write and ask the committee; they will answer and clarify!
  • Don’t bring to much clothes; you will not wear it all. You will not change as much as you think.
  • The sun in Indonesia is fierce; use sunscreen. Indonesia is on/below the equator; respect that.
  • Take every opportunity to speak with the other delagations; get to know them; talk about their cultures, and ask as many stupid questions as you can think of. This is the knowledge and experience that you cannot put a price on.
  • Oh, and drink water! Keep track of yourself so that you don’t become dehydrated. Dehydration is no fun.

There. If you stuck with us this long; congratulations! We’ve had a wonderful journey and we hope you’ve enjoyed it with us. In hindsight we are still in awe both that we made it to Bali but also that we made it home..!

 Three exhausted girls on the train from Copenhagen after 24 hours of travelling (Khalil was on a different flight than us 🙂 ) 

Thank you for joining us this past week!

/Dina, Inga, Khalil & Sofia/


My last weeks in Australia

Once university had come to a close I still had more than 2 months before I had to be back in Malmö for my next semester. I spent this time working and travelling.

After I handed in my last exam I started working a few hours north of Brisbane. Most of my days were spent under the hot sun planting trees. But on my days off I was able to enjoy the coast. After working, I had saved up enough money to spend some time in South East Asia. I visited Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

This is how I spent most of December, planting trees!

On one of my days off, Vappu came to visit me!

I explored Thailand by scooter!

The Grande Palace, Bangkok

One day we found some baby elephants taking a bath at the beach!

The bust streets of Bangkok, Thailand

The lush rice fields of Bali.

Our temporary home in Lombok.


My tour guide in Singapore!

Back in Malmö.

These past six months have been a great experience. Not only was I able to live and study in Australia, but it also gave me the opportunity to explore a part of the world I had never been to. Now I will try to settle back into a very different pace of life here in Malmö. I am glad to be back.

Workshops, lectures and an anniversary-celebration

Another two more days filled with workshops and lectures have passed since last. Each day has consisted of three workshops all designed to make us think about and discuss different aspects of climate change ranging from biodiversity to economy and tourism.

Daniel; Indonesia and Daphne; Spain hard at work at one of our quintuple helixes regarding climate change in the Galapagos Islands.

When we arrived we were all invited into nine subgroups of nine people. Each of these groups are required to make an informational poster on a certain environmental topic to present to the rest of the conference on Sunday before the closing ceremony.

Group 9 is focusing on Climate Change, Human Impact and Resilience in Biodiversity.
Jessica; Indonesia, Rumpa; Bangladesh, Wandile; South Africa, Ferdin; Indonesia, Sofia; Sweden, Thoung; Vietnam, Stella; Indonesia, Inggita; Indonesia & Daphne; Spain. 

One of the lectures held during the days was on the East Bali Poverty Projects (EBPP). It is a project initiated by a British civil engineer in 1998 but driven and owned by the local community. The aim of the project is to reduce poverty, increase education, health care and creating a safer environment for the people of the distant and hard reached parts of East Bali, specifically on Mt Agung (the volcano that is currently acting up). A fantastic project and a fantastic outcome of nearly twenty years of incredibly hard work from the locals and their collaborators. Truly inspiring!

During lunch we got to take part of the 63rd anniversary for the UNPAR Uni. One of the coordinators and lecturers of the conference; Fiona, did the honors and cut the cake. 

After a long day ending closer to 19.00 Dina, Inga and Sofia went out for dinner and some catching up. As we are all located in different rooms and groups we haven’t really seen each other all week so it was nice getting to talk a bit and sharing and comparing our impressions of the week so far.

Tomorrow another adventure starts when we are being picked up at 5.30 to go to Amed and take part of the projects carried out to keep the reefs healthy and prosperous.

Till next time!

/Dina, Inga, Khalil & Sofia/

A warm day even by Indonesian standards


As we’re closing in on midnight, we’re reaching the end of our first official day in Bali! in the travel and hetlag we’ve sort of lost track of what weekday it is, but we’re being so well cared for by our Indonesian students it doesn’t matter.

The travel here went well, although it was long and tiresome; Dina, Inga and Sofia met up at four in the morning on Saturday at Kastrup airport and arrived in Denpasar, Indonesia, close to 19 hours later; Sunday morning around 10 am (GMT+7).

As we reached Doha, Qatar for our layover, we met up with Khalil and boarded our second, 10-hour, flight to Denpasar.

Once we landed we were greeted by the wonderful students of Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (UNPAR) and were transported to out home for the upcoming seven days.

Each of us are paired up to live with an Indonesian student, some more of a match than others. One of us is paired with a party girl who can handle cockroaches (great asset!) and another with a native Balinese who explains the culture to us – all in all a great way to get to socialize and share experiences.

Upon arrival our biological watches were all a bit messed up but after a short rest we went out for lunch and a walk around in the close-by area and down to the beach. As you can see the weather is cloudy at times and today we had quite a downpour but it was rather a welcome end to a VERY hot day.

At 16:00, the opening ceremony began with an opportunity to meet the other approx 70 students joining. We got to do some introductory games and everyone were good sports about trying to remember everyones names and working together.

As a starting point for the opening of the conference one of the teachers cut and offered the traditional nasi tumpeng which symbolizes different parts of Indonesian/Balinese food items. After that we all got to try the different components for dinner.

The evening was an early one for most of the jet-lagged people from Europe and the US so that we would be able to get up for the lectures today. During the course of the day we had four lectures, that were all very inspiring and interesting. The room we were in however soon reached ridiculous temperatures, even for the Indonesians, and a couple of people had to leave in order not to faint. 

One of the lectures was held by two young Indonesian girls, fourteen and seventeen years old. They came from the organisation Bye Bye Plastic Bags, an initiative started a few years back by equally young girls. Their aim is to raise awareness on the issues of using plastic bags and reducing the consumption. After their incredibly inspiring lecture (feel free to watch the initiators’ TED Talk!)  we were all invited to turn one of our t-shirts into a handy textile bag. Dina was chosen as the Swedish representative and below you can see her spectacularly pretty Malmö Uni-bag!

At the end of the day we all took part of a traditional Balinese culture activity; either painting, dancing or a certain religious ceremony. Some of us went dancing and others tried to see if we had a hidden talent for painting.

Joe from Thailand admiring three of the paintings we used as inspiration; turns out he had real talent! Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of his finished artwork. 

Sofia from Sweden, Clarissa, Jessica and Indi from Indonesia were by far the loudest group in creating their masterpieces. 

After a really long and hot day, the evening was free so a bunch of us went out for dinner and later drinks accompanied by a really enthusiastic reagge-singer. After heated discussions on everything from the climate to the LGBT-movement we’re calling it a day and going to bed!

Take care, and until next time; Selamat malam! (Good night in Indonesian)

/Dina, Inga, Khalil & Sofia/

Bali, an adventure from day one

First of all: For those of you wondering what Inga, Dina, Khalil and Sofia are all about, let us tell you; it’s Climate Change! In January 2018 we’re going to the International Student Conference (ISC) hosted by the Balinese Universitas Katolik Parahyangan to partake in workshops and field visits related to climate and the environment.

And this journey sure started out as an adventure. Practically the same day we had set our to meet each other for the first time in order to book our flight tickets, the Mount Agung volcano decided to throw a temper tantrum. As many are aware this affected a lot of the in/out bound flights from Denpasar but most importantly it affects the locals of Bali leading to massive evacuations of the people living nearby.

None the less, the volcano calmed down a bit, and after triple checking cancellation insurances the tickets are now booked and the four of us are getting ready to go on an actual adventure; making new friends, learning new things and last but not least bringing you guys with us to share our journey.

Last years students had a bit of problems with the wifi, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to keep you updated when in Bali.

Until next time; Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

// Dina, Sofia, Inga & Khalil


INU Global Nursing Workshop Hiroshima 2017


We were two bachelor students from Malmö university travelling to Hiroshima, Japan in august 2017, Camilla Perming (to the left) and Ludmila Betina (to the right). We were starting our sixth and final semester after INU workshop in Safe Quality Patient Care at Hiroshima University.


I, Camilla, travelled to Japan a week earlier than the workshop started because I wanted to experience Japan since I had the opportunity. I took a shinkansen to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan and the more cultural and traditional city in Japan. I would highly recommend doing so to those who are thinking of applying to the INU workshop for next year. Both Ludmila and I took some extra days to spend a little time i Tokyo after the workshop and I’m so happy that I did. Tokyo is a great and fun city!

Day 1
First day started with us meeting up with our fellow participant students from South Africa and Spain, we had met them briefly the evening before when we all arrived in Hiroshima. We took a train to Saijo where we met up with the rest of the students and had introductions and getting to know each other, followed by a lecture about LEAN theory held by representatives from Toyota. The reason for them inviting in Toyota was for us to learn about their high safety level and how we in health care can apply the same structures to avoid doing unnecessary work and to make our job working as a nurse more effective. In Sweden we learn about LEAN theory in our third semester in organisational theory but the focus was now on how applying Toyotas LEAN theory can increase patient safety.


Day 2
Second day started early with us going to the Peace memorial museum. We took a bus to Hiroshima city and walked through Peace Memorial Park where we got the see The Atomic bomb Dome for the first time. We only had a few minutes to stay and take some pictures which i thought was a bit disappointing. The whole day was very stressful. When we got to the museum (a bit late) we only had an hour to walk around and it wasn’t enough time to see everything. The museum wasn’t that big but I would have liked to stay longer because it was a lot to take in. It covered the whole history from making the atomic bomb to after it detonated and the time after. After the museum tour we hurried to the International Conference Centre where Mrs Keiko Ogura, an atomic bomb survivor, told us about her experience being born and raised in Hiroshima and being only eight years old when the bomb detonated. It was incredible to listen to her story; how she remembered the day the bomb detonated and the time after and how it has shaped her and other survivors life afterwards. I learned about the discrimination people experienced in Japan for being from Hiroshima. It was very inspiring to listen to her, her way of viewing the world wasn’t bitter nor in anger. She just wanted to speak up and work for a nuclear free world.
The afternoon was spent in a Call Medical Clinic which was very interesting. At the Call Medical Clinic they had MP, nurses and other specialist professions going out to homes and treating people in need of care. They could offer advanced health care treatment in the patients homes. We also had a look around their base clinic and learn more about how elderly care was provided in Japan. Most lectures were held in Japanese but we had Yumi, who worked at Hiroshima University, to translate for us.

Day 3
Early morning we took a bus to Peace Memorial Park where the University had reserved seats for us international students to take part of the Peace Memorial Ceremony. The Peace Memorial Ceremony is held each year on August 6th, the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Some 50,000 local citizens and visitors, as well as ambassadors and dignitaries from around 70 countries, gather here to console the spirits of those killed by the atomic bomb and also to pray for lasting world peace. Japans prime minister Shinzo Abo delivered a speech, amongst other noteworthy figures like Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and representative from the UN. A minute of silence was held 8.15, the same time as bomb dropped to remember the dead and a call to eliminate nuclear weapons.

It was a lot of people in the area and cameras and news teams with all their camera equipment. It was very hot even though it was early in the morning. Thankfully we were given headphones so that we could hear the translator throughout the ceremony. I had had a mental picture of how this day would be like before coming to Japan, I thought it would be a day to grieve and to mourn and remember the people that had died. And it was a day to remember the horrible consequences of the bomb but most of all it was a beautiful day with people coming from all over the world celebrating peace together. It was clear that Japan was proud over how quickly they had rebuild Hiroshima and now stood for the message that atomic bombs should never again be used. So I was surprised to see that it was such a happy day. Kids were playing and laughing everywhere and people were talking and enjoying themselves. It was a wonderful atmosphere to be in.

After the peace memorial ceremony we went on a trip to Miyajima. Miyajima is an island outside Hiroshima and the island is known for its torii gate and Itsukushima shrine which is UNESCO World Heritage classed. I learned a lot of interesting and fascinating facts about Japan’s two biggest religions which are Shinto and Buddhism. Most people in Japan embrace both religions, or both religions are practised in the same family. The Japanese people were encouraged to have two religions when buddhism grew popular in Japan so there wouldn’t be fights within families or between religions. So many of the shrines in Japan is a combination between shinto and buddhism. But there are some distinctions that can show which religion is most influenced in that shrine. We got to visit two shrines, one which was mostly Shinto and another that was mostly Buddhism.










On the island there are wild deers living that has gotten accustomed to people so they are walking around harassing tourists for food. They tried to open our bags nibbling on almost everything so you had to be careful. I found them absolutely adorable and they were so friendly, you just had to gently push them away when they got to close.


The island was breathtaking, Ludmila and I took a walk on the beach down to the torii, it was low tide so we could walk underneath it. And while we were walking back we took a moment to ourselves and appreciated being in Japan and getting all these experiences. It was a beautiful day and we were halfway around the world with wonderful people, getting to take part of unique experiences and we felt so blessed. If you ask me if I thought it was worth all the effort, the extra costs and the trouble of arranging and flying  for that many hours I will promise you that it is! I loved every minute, even after eating all that damn rise! 😉




From the boat we could see how the mountains shaped a head with a crack in the mountains where there was a waterfall and the crack formed the eye of the head. We were told that it was one of the reasons why many japanese thought of the island as spiritual and holy place. On the picture you can see the face, it starts with the forehead to the left and then the “eye”, nose and lips. The face is looking up to the sky. In front of it is the torii.


We didn’t have that much time on the island though, we wanted to get back in time for the lantern ceremony. While back in Hiroshima we walked to the atomic bomb dome where we could color and make our own lanterns.

It was nice watching the lanterns with the word like “peace” or “love” written or painted on them. Some lanterns drowned but after awhile the lake started getting filled with lanterns. We didn’t stay long enough for it to become very dark since we had another full day of workshop the day after. The days were long and so hot so you got pretty tired. The apartment where we stayed were really nice though, this day we had to go the the spanish girls apartment to use the wifi to finish our presentation about swedish health care and send it in. 



Day 4
It was time for our student presentations. It was interesting and nerve wrecking. I don’t enjoy giving presentations but we pushed through it. We also got to listen to the other students presentations on how their health care system work in their countries.

After the student presentations we transferred to Mazda museum. This day was rainy and windy which was welcoming, the other days had been so extremely hot. We got a guided tour learning more about their cars and how they worked. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures where they worked putting the cars together. That was the most interesting part to me, watching them work and seeing how a car is put together. Then we listened to a representative from Mazda who talked about their safety work.

Day 5
The pre-noon was spent listening to lecturer Gwen Sherwood explaining about QSEN – quality and safety education for nurses, which was a great and inspiring lecture. She has been working to improve nursing education to improve safe quality patient care and by telling us the story of Lewis, a 12 year old boy who died as a result of improper treatment lacking several patient safety measures and she made most of us cry. I was very affected by Lewis mother’s story whom Gwen worked alongside to improve patient safety in health care. The Lewis story was used as a case study that we based our group presentation on. We were divided into four groups with students with different nationalities. We were given three key words, transparency, culture and error reporting and we were given free hands in how we wanted to present these key patient safety factors implementing them into the Lewis story.

Afternoon was spent visiting Hiroshima University Hospital were we learned how japanese nurses worked from a patient safety perspective. It was very interesting and we also got to see patients rooms, nursing station and different equipment that the nurses used.

The visit was followed by another lecture in patient safety and risk management and then by a cultural activity where we were given the opportunity to try Ikebana, japanese flower arrangement. It was harder than it looked and who knew there were so many rules in how to make Ikebana?


Directly after we were taken to Ai Ai restaurant to eat Okonomiyaki, soul food of Hiroshima. The food was great and the entertainment equally so! Two brave students got up the to grill table to learn how to make Okonomiyaki and it was hilarious, first up was Raquel from Spain and then my partner in crime Ludmila from Sweden. Fun way to end a great and long day.



Day 6
We had a lecture by the American lecturers in system thinking, safety impacts, basic TeamStepps, team work communication and an interprofessional exercise. The lecturers drew a parallel from an NASA incident where a space crew were killed when NASA made a critical mistake than can be applied to nursing environment. The lesson learned from the NASA incident was how group culture can affect patient safety outcomes and it was relevant to the Lewis story. We got to do team exercises aswell and time to work on our presentations.

After the group work we transferred to a nursing home. The woman that ran the nursing home was very motivated to improve elderly care and I was very impressed with their different ways to stimulate the day to day live of an elderly patient living in the home. One part of their services was that they had a chef to special make the food so that it was easy to eat for the patients whom couldn’t chew but still contained the same taste and flavour as regular food. They demonstrated this with preparing a wonderful meal, we felt pretty spoiled.

After that we had an optional cultural activity to learn Kendo but unfortunately I skipped it for being very tired.

Day 7
We continued the lectures on QSEN qualities concentrating teach back as a method and SBAR communication model. Teach back as a communication strategy is used to make sure a patient understands the information that is being given to them. We had a team exercise that was a kind of domino game structured to enhanced the importance of communication and the different ways of communication strategies that we have. The exercise was to put domino bricks exactly as a picture but only one team member could see the picture and then having to direct the others in placing them as the picture.

We got time to prepare our group presentation and the cultural activity where we got to participate in a traditional tea ceremony that is called Ocha. Me and two other students got dressed up in Kimonos and photographed like models, because we were so pretty 😉 The tea ceremony was more complicated than I though, it’s not just drinking tea with a neighbour, it’s a whole process with bowing, kneeling and eating. It was fun to try. The tea is called matcha and its green and thick tea, tasted a little bitter.

Then we visited another kind of health service that helps patients with diabetes with information about preventative measures to reduce the use for dialysis, which is very common in Japan. They educate about food and other diabetes related health tips and the patients can call for information. After that we went to visit a hospice where we met nurses working with palliative care in a house that is privately owned. They didn’t make any profit and worked and lived in the same home. They were very inspiring people.

We ended the evening with a home party at one of the Japanese professors with sparklers outside. We sang and danced and ate good food and enjoyed ourselves. It was remarkable how well we got to know each other after such a short time. We were all living in a little bubble where we were all family.


Day 8
Day started with group exercises in SBAR, teach back and patient simulation practise, it was a great opportunity to practise what we had learned in lectures in the previous days. It was good to practise because it is harder than it sounds and the lecture demonstrated how using teach back as a method is very effective to make sure adherence with the patient is achieved. SBAR was new to many of the other students so it was a great opportunity to shine like a star 😉 We were also being subjected to a patient simulation exercise where the Lewis case was the background story and it was a way for us to feel how it feels to be unprepared and fail.

We had lunch at a traditional japanese lunch at a tofu restaurant and the rest of the day was spent filming for our group presentation and going shopping in central Hiroshima. We had so much fun this day, i laughed so much that i probably worked up some abs. We were beginning to realise that our experience were closing into an end and we started to mentally prepare ourselves for the sad day when we had to say goodbye.

Day 9

It was time for our group presentations and in my group we were very excited to present. We had lunch in the conference hall and we got our certificates. Some of us were already saying goodbye that day and we started getting a little bit sad that it was now coming to and end, the workshop had just gone by so quickly.
So the japanese students took us into central Hiroshima again to do some last shopping and we went to a restaurant where we grilled our food on the table. We had lots of ice cream and took pictures in one of those japanese gaming hall were we all crammed into a photobooth and took pictures that we were able to draw on and design before printing out. It was so much fun. We also played for stuffed animals at the game hall and I won a pokemon teddybear and we all won at least one each that we carried around under our arms in Hiroshima while laughing and joking, it was the perfect end to a great week and a half. We cried while saying our goodbyes and promised to stay in touch.

To sum up the workshop was a great rewarding experience and if you love meeting new people from different parts of the world, learning more about other cultures and traveling around Japan you should definitely apply for a scholarship.

Big in Japan – Or “How I ended up in Asia. Again.”

Konnichiwa, fellow world explorers and those to be!

Before getting into the actual interesting part regarding my experience at the INU conference on SOGI issues held at Hiroshima University August 4th – 12th 2017, I’d just quickly like to hit you with some boring stuff and introduce myself real’ quick. My name is Leah, I am currently on my 23rd lap around the sun and I have just recently graduated from Malmö University with a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Born and raised in Germany and between finishing high school in 2012 and starting my journey with Malmö University, I had successfully dropped out of university in Amsterdam (it just wasn’t my thing…) but also worked and travelled my way through life. Never in my life would I have thought that Malmö University would be the place that would offer me so many possibilities to not only earn a degree but even more important: let me go. Yes, Malmö University wants their students to go. Go explore, go adventure, go learn, go see something new. In fact, I’ve only spent about 2 out of 3 years in Malmö itself. Within my program, I had the honor to be nominated twice for exchange studies and went to both, South Korea and Australia, in 2016. And the best thing about it? I didn’t have to take out a loan or sell my soul to the devil to do all these things.

Malmö U got you covered for the most part. Coming from a pretty average middle-class background I could have never gone without the bilateral agreements between my host universities and Malmö U. Between graduating from MAU and starting my Master of Science in Gender Studies at Lund University, I did not have many plans for my summer and so I’ve applied to basically all summer programs out there and seemed somewhat affordable. As soon as the deadline passed mid-May it was clear: I’d go back to Asia. Again. This would be my fourth time there and yet I was so excited to go. Again. Excited to go to Japan and participate in a conference with a topic I really cared for but it also meant that I would be able to go and see my friends I had made during my study exchange in South Korea after the conference. So there I was in May, planning a 1 1/2 month long trip from Sweden, home to Germany, to Amsterdam to see my friends from my first failed university experience, on to Japan for the conference and, finally, Korea for some reunion time.

So after catching up with my family in Germany and visiting my beloved Amsterdam, I finally got on a plane to Japan. My fist stop was Fukuoka because the flights to Hiroshima were just unaffordable at the time I had booked everything. Fukuoka is one of the major cities in the South of Japan and only about an hour away (given you are taking the Shinkansen aka bullet train) from Hiroshima. I had been to Japan before in 2014 and therefore already knew Tokyo and a couple of other cities, so I decided to go for the way cheaper option and just see Fukuoka. Traveling in Japan is easy. The trains are fast and comfortable (leg room for days!), however, quite expensive. You can also take intercity buses, however, it’s a little more complicated to figure out when and where to be with limited Japanese only.Arriving in Japan after a 13h flight, having had the whole aisle to myself on the way here #winning, my jet lag was so bad I feel asleep in the middle of a park as my hostel would not let me check in yet. It was hot and humid at an average of 38 degrees but a little breezy as well so it was alright. Japan, and East Asia in general, is very safe. I am usually more on the paranoid site of life but whenever I am in Korea or Japan I never feel unsafe. You can literally drop a $100 note on the street and be almost 100% sure that it will still be in the same place 40min later if the wind hasn’t blown it away. So if you feel a little uneasy about traveling on your own: start in Asia. I spent the next two days exploring and just trying to adapt to the climate and time zone before heading up to Hiroshima.

I got to the hotel late on the 3rd of August and didn’t really do much other than jumping on my hotel bed, taking a long, long shower and going to bed fairly early. The next day turned out to be quite mellow as well. We only got to meet everyone at a get-to-know-each-other-kinda-event on campus that night. We had lovely Japanese “finger food” (or should I say chopstick food, as eating with your hands is very much a no-no?) and it was fairly easy to get to talk to other students and participating teachers.

People were split up into tiny groups of approx. 7-9 students each who got assigned to one country that they would represent at a Model United Nations role play on the last day of the conference. I had the pleasure to be with Team Brazil. Throughout the week we attended workshops about all sorts of topics (mainly related to LGBT and SOGI topics)  in the morning (my favourite one being about how different cultures tend to communicate) and worked in our little groups in the afternoon. Before the week of workshops and group works, however, we got to spend two days exploring around Hiroshima. From climbing up to Hiroshima’s castle, visiting holy temples and shrines, seeing the infamous Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island, trying all sorts of traditional food, trying Sake, seeing the atomic bomb dome, meeting and listening to the story of nuclear survivor Keiko Ogura, visiting the Peace Memorial watching Japan’s President Shinzo Abe holding a speech. You can check out my little video for non-conference related impressions:

  • How much does it cost? I received a travel grant from MAU over 3000SEK and the JASSO scholarship over 80,000 yen. Which comes to approximately 9000 – 10000SEK in total. The hotel was about 4000SEK for the whole stay. The flights came to about 10000SEK so you’ll have to make sure to have some money saved up at least.
  • How do I find cheap flights? You can fly directly into Hiroshima City or you check airports around the city such as Fukuoka or Okayama. Even airports further away such as Osaka or Tokyo might give you a good deal. Just be aware that taking the Shinkansen, the bullet train, can be VERY expensive from Tokyo to Hiroshima. Taking the train in Japan is one of the easiest, fastest and most comfortable ways of getting around though. If you are planning on traveling elsewhere you might want to consider getting a J-Rail pass which allows you to hop on and off trains for a certain amount of time (e.g. 3 days, 7 days, 14 days etc.)  You have to apply for the J-Rail pass BEFORE entering the country though.
  • Where is Hiroshima? Can I go to Tokyo? Hiroshima is located in the South of Japan. The distance between Tokyo and Hiroshima is about 900km. You can either fly or take the train between these two cities but most people just take the train as they go more frequently (every 10-15min) and can be booked more spontaneously.
  • Have you visited other cities than Hiroshima on this trip? I’ve been to Japan before and therefore didn’t feel the need to go up to Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto again. I’ve flown into Fukuoka and spent a couple of days there before heading into Hiroshima. 
  • How much time should I spend in Hiroshima prior or after the conference? As you will be exploring the city with your respective group, I don’t think you actually need to spend more time in Hiroshima itself prior or after the conference. I’d much rather use the time to go to other places.
  • Is Japan safe? Japan is probably one of the best countries to go to if you have never been to Asia or far away from home. The crime rate is insanely low. The Japanese culture is very polite. Even Japanese swear words would probably still be considered polite in other languages such as English.
  • Did you meet a lot of non-Malmö U students?  Plenty! In fact, I hardly got to see anyone else from Malmö as you get divided into different groups.
  • How was the food? JAPANESE FOOD IS INCREDIBLE. Try Okonomiyaki. You can’t leave Japan before you have tried it. Hiroshima is famous for it.
  • What about insurance? The insurance was covered by the university. 
  • On a scale from 1-10, how valuable has the experience been? To be fair, I didn’t have a ‘mind blown – never heard of this before’-kinda-moment in regard to the conference topic itself, however, it was great learning so much more about the Japanese culture and just meeting and networking with so many people from all over the world. It’s something no one can ever take away from you. You’ll come home with a full heart, that’s for sure.

Feel free to contact me in case of any questions.




Mid Semester Break Road Trip

For mid-semester break, I was lucky enough to have my brother and my father visit me. We rented a car and explored Victoria and New South Wales. We saw the ocean and the desert, and tried to spend as much time possible in the sun. Here are some photos from the trip!

My dad, brother and the Sydney Opera House

Nymagee – an old mining town

Crimson and King parrots!

The London Bridge along the Great Ocean Road


Hello from Bali!

We are now on our third day of the conference and we’re busy with going to lectures, trying different traditional food activites and making a social campaign. Since the theme of the conference is “Water, Energy & Food Nexus” we all have been divided into either water, energy or food groups. So right now we are busy with walking around in Kuta and finding inspiration and scenes to shoot for our social campaigns. Between the lectures and shooting we have also tried a lot of Indonesian food! Yesterday we tried Padang food and without knowing it ate cow brain and lungs. But it was good!

Unfortunately the wifi here is really slow so we’re not able to upload any pictures right now.