29th of July 4 amazing girls, Cecilia, Yara, Greta and Eman, packed their backpacks and started their adventurous trip to Japan. This experience has been very enlightening, the lessons you are about to learn will stay with you for the rest of your life!
To start with, the espresso house in the center of Malmo became our meeting point where we first hugged each other and started to plan the trip. There was no doubt that we were very excited to be chosen for this amazing opportunity, but we also had many practicalities to deal with such as flight tickets, accommodation, the amount of cash, clothing etc.
We were very lucky to be covered with travel insurance by the Malmö University. However, the insurance covered only our stay in Hiroshima, where the summer school is held. The rest of the time that we were traveling, we had to provide our own insurance.
Even though the Summer school in Hiroshima is an amazing experience in itself, we highly recommend that students experience more of Japan on their own. Since the programme of the summer school is so tight it is not possible to experience other cities in Japan during this time. Therefore, traveling around in Japan either before or after the summer school in Hiroshima gives one a great opportunity to experience other cities in Japan. We started off our adventure by traveling to the beautiful city Tokyo, which is a must if you want to get a proper Japan experience. Both Greta and Cecilia also travelled after the summer school and visited Kyoto where shrines and temples are everywhere to be found.
To travel to Tokyo was extremely easy. The metro system is very well organized. For example, each station name was written in Japanese and under it, an English version was always provided. In most of the stations, we could easily find an information center where people spoke good English. Plus they always provided us with English maps and good directions, sometimes even an advice of where to eat or see. Besides it, the possibility to connect to the free wifi is amazing in Japan. Many places have free wifi and some spots in the streets have access to the internet. At the same time, the Japanese are extremely friendly people and they always helped to find our ways. To be honest, younger people spoke better English and they were a bit more open to stop and talk with us. However, we also had many situations where body language became our tool to communicate with locals.
The Summer school in Hiroshima consists of a busy schedule where you get to learn and have fun at the same time. First two days we got to spend it with our country groups, the groups that we had been assigned to represent the countries in the upcoming role play. In these groups, we were a mix of Japanese and international students. We got to know each other and do many fun activities such as visiting the breathtaking Island of Miyajima.
The following day was more emotional because it’s the day where we get to attend the peace memorial ceremony and to remember the time of the Hiroshima bombing that happened on the 6th of August. The ceremony was accompanied with a tour of Hiroshima’s museum, and even the pleasure of listening to an atomic bomb survivor. Rest of our days were spent in Hiroshima university filled with workshops and seminars where we got to experience how the United Nations work and how it’s like to be a part of the General Assembly. Our advice is to enjoy your time, the seminars are important but try to find time to have fun and go out with your newly found friends.
It is quite important to know that Japan, especially Tokyo is a place with a high amount of tourist and therefore it is important to book the place to stay in ahead. Hostels are a great way of saving money and meeting locals. Furthermore, the hostel that we stayed in had a high standard (assuming that it is this way in all of Tokyo/Japan) Also, during the summer Japan is extremely hot and humid meaning that thin layers of cloth, a hat or ever and sunscreen are recommended. Since it is so hot outside there is always air condition inside and a light jacket is a great idea.
To be part of the summer school in Hiroshima was an experience you get once in a lifetime, The people you meet and the things you get to experience will change your view on the world. We are forever thankful for Malmö University for giving us the chance to be a part of this great adventure.
Thanks for reading and taking part in our journey!
Eman, Greta, Yara and Cecilia