What Happens After I Am Selected To Participate?
You will start by meeting with you fellow delegates and national leader over conference call or online. These meetings are mandatory. In order to prepare for activities on the ship, you will need to participate in brainstorming and organizing at least one pre-departure committee. For example, on the Gift Committee you might be responsible for selecting and purchasing gifts for Japanese and Port-of-Call officials. Fundraising committees may solicit businesses for donations of items or funding. SWY20 USA actually received sponsorship from Best Buy in 2008. Committees may include, but are not limited to, the National Party, National Presentation, Fundraising, and Gift Committees. These meetings and committees are a great way to get to know your fellow delegates and bring your own creativity to the group.
You will need to fundraise or agree to submit a delegation fee of at least $350 (per person) to pay for your delegation's gifts, national costumes, and other expenses your delegation will incur in preparation of the National Party and National Presentation.
In order to receive all appropriate updates regarding the SWY program and to ensure adequate participation, you will join the Ship for World Youth Alumni Association USA e-mail list serve and be required to reply to e-mails within five days of receipt. You will also be required to attend the USA national delegation training (hotel accommodations provided) three days before your scheduled departure. Additionally, you will be partnered with an alumnus mentor as part of your pre-departure preparation, who will advise you on how best to prepare for your SWY experience and answer any questions you may have. Additional requirements may be included in subsequent programs as deemed appropriate by the Japanese Cabinet Office and SWYAA USA, and participants will be notified of any such changes prior to the program. The ship is governed by Japanese National Law, which you must agree to abide by upon arrival in Japan and throughout the duration of the program in addition to on-board facilities rules and restrictions. You will receive a packet with all of this information upon confirmation of your candidacy. If you are unable or unwilling to comply with the program requirements, your candidacy may be revoked and an alternate selected.
What Will I Be Doing During The Program?
Participants will be flown from their nearest international airport to the location of the pre-departure USA orientation session. The purpose of this session is to provide cultural competency training and ensure delegates are fully prepared to represent the United States. This session also allows delegates to meet each other in person before the program and finalize the pre-departure committee activities. From here, delegates will be flown to Tokyo, Japan, where they will receive an orientation introducing them to Japanese culture and ensuring participants understand all program rules and expectations. Participants will stay in a hotel or dormitory-style hostel while making site visits at locations like the United Nations University or Tokyo School for the Deaf and taking in famous Tokyo landmarks like Asakusa Temple and Tokyo Tower. Activities and site visits change with every program. Following this, participants will enjoy a short home-stay experience with a Japanese family living in another prefecture before returning to Tokyo to meet the Japanese delegation for the first time. All SWY participants will then board the Nippon Maru ship and spend a night acclimating to their new environment and making new friends before sailing out of port the following day.
There are many activities that you will participate in on the ship, both voluntary and mandatory. Before arriving in Tokyo, you will have selected a course to take during the program, and you will be attending mandatory course meetings to learn, discuss topics, and create projects relevant to your course. You will also be assigned to a "letter group," which serves as your ship team when participating in some ship-sponsored activities. You will meet with your group every morning for roll call and meet on scheduled days to discuss activities you will host or projects you will be collaborating on. You will also be meeting with your fellow USA delegates to begin preparing for your National Presentation and USA social. Additionally, you will represent the United States at the ports of call for each country visited during the program. These activities include:
1. Courtesy calls with local government officials and other representatives
2. Visits to various facilities as organized by the port of call organizing committee and
approved by the Japanese Cabinet Office
3. Meaningful Exchanges with youths of the port of call countries through interactive and
4. Other appropriate activities deemed by the governments of the respective countries visited
and approved by the Japanese Cabinet Office
During your downtime, there will be club meetings, seminars, workshops, discussions, and entertainment activities available on the ship. Because many of the activities on-board the Nippon Maru are facilitated by you and your fellow delegates, every SWY voyage is unique and exciting! The creativity and interests of you and your fellow delegates will determine what clubs, workshops, think-tanks, and recreational activities will be offered during your voyage. If you want to make your own club, present a workshop, or facilitate an activity, be sure to plan ahead and bring everything you need with you! Clubs in the past have included learning a new language, performing a cultural dance, creating an international comic book, and learning first-aid. Some participants have even organized seminars about non-profits they work with and started business networks. Additionally, each voyage has invited special guest lecturers to facilitate seminars in their fields of knowledge and offer an international perspective. SWY provides an environment where you can learn from others while offering each delegate the opportunity to be a leader and educator.
What Is Life Like Aboard The Nippon Maru?
The Nippon Maru is an eight-level cruise ship you will share a cabin with two other cabin mates. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower and toilet. The ship itself has full cruise facilities including catered dining, an indoor swimming pool, bar, gift shop and vending machines, library, self-service laundry, sports deck, rooms for lectures and entertainment. There are also special facilities that operate with restricted hours such as the Japanese bathhouse and Japanese tatami tea room. However, the Nippon Maru staff is not at the participant's service. Each participant is expected to play an active and responsible role in ship life, respecting Nippon Maru rules and Japanese national law, and carrying out the mandatory duties of a delegate member.