The 46th SSEAYP: Sum up & What I Have Learned

Sabtu, Januari 18, 2020

I was one of the lucky ones to sail on M.S. Nippon Maru around Japan and ASEAN countries for 52 days with 300 over youths from different cultural backgrounds at the Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Programme (SSEAYP) in 2019. 

One of the main highlights of SSEAYP was the homestay experience at the various port-of-call countries. As a participating youth (PY), I had the privilege of staying in a Japanese tatami house & onsen in Ryokan, experiencing the “Good food” in Vietnam, learn about how Singapura handle their ports, feels like finding out my sisters in Malaysia and visiting the world’s oldest Buddhist stupa in Myanmar. 

I also got to immerse myself fully in the lifestyle of the locals and cooked dinner with my host family in Japan & Vietnam. Despite the language barrier, we had lots of fun helping our host mother prepare the ingredients to cook up a hearty meal! 

I was blessed enough to have been chosen to represent my country as an Ambassador of Goodwill together with youth leaders from other parts of Indonesia, we’re falling in love with Indonesia more and more every day as we learn new things about our country. 

Life onboard Nippon Maru was interesting. To sum up, there are 2 main programs in SSEAYP. There are Country Program (Homestay) & On-Board Activities. 


The most memorable moment of sseayp that I could recall was the homestay experiences. Imagine you have met and stayed with 5 families within a 52 days journey. Who would have thought that after joining sseayp, I would have gained 5 more parents and a countless number of cousins? I just love the idea of staying with the host family. Even though it was only a short period of time, we couldn’t deny that we have gained so many experiences from these activities. Homestay program was beyond amazing, I couldn’t tell which host I love the most because all of them have given me unique experiences, therefore, I love to spend my 3 days 2 nights with them. 

The saddest moment of sseayp is actually when you have to leave or say goodbye to your host family. This is when you can see most of the people on port crying. everyone cried actually. The music actually played a major role in squeezing our tears. The moment that the ship is slowly departing the port while the participants and the host family waving goodbye to each other in their hand holding friendship ribbons was killing me. 

On Board Activities Summary 

  • Discussion Group Activities 
DG activities carried out with 9 themes this year as follows: 
  1. DRR> Mr. Dino 
  2. Diversity & Social Inclusion> Ms. Kaya  
  3. Education> Mr. Dimas 
  4. Employment & Decent Work> Mr. Jay Aldecoa 
  5. Environment & Sustainability> Ms. Malu 
  6. Good Health & Well Being> Ms. Fai 
  7. Information & Media> Ms. P-Thor 
  8. Soft-Power & Youth Diplomacy> Mr. Koki 
  9. Entrepreneurship> Mr. Andy 

Each DG has a Facilitator who facilitated discussion sessions, while on board we get a total of 5 DG sessions, 1 DG Wrap-up, and DG Evaluation. 

I get involved in DG 6 consists of 37 people namely Japan: Maru, Rika, & Nana, Vietnam: Evee, Mark, & Doan, Singapore: Sanjay, Mandy, Xin Yi, & Tiffany, Myanmar: Yamin, & Lynn, Malaysia: Naga, Afiqah, Balqis, Sai & Lyana, Brunei: Ahmad, Kin, Jannah, & Sofia, Cambodia: Chan, Lor, Sophany, Indonesia: Rijal, Laos: Boupha, Mounivong, Niphalak, Philippines: Arman, Valen, Jezza, & Mariuz. Thailand: Kultida, Panchua, & Sanghirun. 

  • Solidarity Group Activities 

This SG activity was designed by the SG Sub-committee. SG Sub-com comes from representatives of 2 people each selected by SG group. SG activities were dominated by fun activities and become a place to increase friendship & bonding among JASEAN. We were also required to make morning-night calls. Most of the institutional visits at the POC we went out with SG as well as activities on ships which are mostly designed to spend more time with JASEAN. One group of SG consists of 28-30 PYs from 11 countries where there were 1 NL, YL & AYL. As part of SG-C, we have NL named Abang Chairul from Singapore, YL Chaw from Myanmar and AYL Charles from Malaysia. SG-C has 30 members namely; Brunei: Zul, Along & Hani, Cambodia: Grace & Jom, Singapore: Cassandra & Ervin, Malaysia: Charles, Naqib & Elisya, Indonesia: Andi & Weni, Vietnam: Chim & Lyn, Laos: Lex, Bee, & Mai, Thailand : Mild, Boss & Nas, Japan: Hayato, Harumi & Rika, Myanmar: Kongkong, Ariel (Gugu) & Chaw, Philippines: Rex & Raja. 

  • Voluntary Activities 

VA were activities carried out in our "spare time", there are VA from each contingent or from collaboration between several contingents and SG. 

  • PY Seminar 

PY Seminar is an activity held by a contingent of 11 countries participated by other PYs. At the beginning of the program, during the introduction of the PY Seminar, which was during the Seminar exhibition at Dolphin Hall, the PY was given a piece of paper to choose their 7 favorite seminars each. In total there are 8 seminar sessions in which one of them we had a chance to become the seminar organizer. 

  • GL Meeting / Sub-committee 

The YL / AYL, PY Seminar, DG, & SG Sub-committee gathered for a meeting to prepare activities on the ship. So all activities that take place on the ship were first discussed by the relevant committees. Usually this meeting was held after the POC. The contingent meeting was also held after the POC, the Indonesian contingent got a meeting place at Umi Lounge and was usually held every 5 to 6 pm 

  • Free day 

The free day was a time when PY can spend time to have "me time" sometimes. We usually get a free day after POC. 

  • Post Program Activities (PPA) 

PPA discussion was an activity that will be carried out when the PYs return to their respective countries. PPA Indonesia was planned to be conducted together with Lapas Anak in Tangerang, Banten. The theme raised by the Garuda 46 force was Raising Awareness of SDGs. 

  • Onsen 

In Nippon Maru there is a small onsen on the 3rd floor named Grand Bath for men and women which opens every 18: 15-22: 30 PM. Besides that, the PY also provided laundry facilities and Irons (1 piece) themselves. Although there is a paid laundry service the price is very expensive. So laundry, dryer & iron itself are highly recommended rather than using paid laundry services. 

  • Contingent Board 

One thing that was impressive on the ship was when we can exchange letters and gifts on the pouch in each of our contingent board. So each contingent has its own contingent board. The contingent board was displayed on the 3rd floor where the PYs spend a lot of time remembering the admin counter and notice board were on the 3rd floor of the ship. 

  • Influenza 

During the program, we had to use a full mask and every 05:30PM we had to go back to our own cabin to take a body temperature measurement. This was because there were 2 PYs who had influenza so that all PYs are encouraged to wear masks throughout the day including during sleep at night. 

  • Eating Schedule at Nippon Maru 

Breakfast was usually 8: 00-9: 15 AM, lunch was usually 12: 45-02: 00 PM and dinner were usually between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. 

  • Morning & Night Call 

Morning calls were usually at 07:00 AM and Night calls were usually at 11:00 PM. Morning & Night calls were conducted per SG according to a predetermined schedule. 

From the journey, what I have learned from SSEAYP? 

Exchange Culture 

In previous years, SSEAYP was seen only as a cultural exchange program where youth delegates get to mingle with other participants from different countries. However, in more recent years, SSEAYP has been transformed into a more impactful program where delegates are expected to contribute more to the community. This goal is being achieved through discussion groups where participants learn more about issues on environment and disaster, information and media, health, education, and so much more (DG topic dominated during the program, around 70%). 

As mentioned, SSEAYP began more like a cultural exchange program and it still is up to this day. Despite of ASEAN being a closely-knit region, each country has its own individuality and uniqueness. These differences and similarities are worth sharing and discussing among the youth. I am falling more in love with my country, and I hope to appreciate other country’s cultures the way that I do with mine. 


Is it possible to meet & have a deep talk with all 300 participants of the program? Maybe but not necessarily. Delegates will be grouped into smaller clusters for discussions and other activities and mind you, participants from the same country will not always be together. This is a great opportunity to meet new friends from other nations. Aside from co-participants, we’ll also get to interact with locals through our host families. We’ll experience living with them for at most two days per country. I remember hearing stories from our alumni that until today, they are still very close to their foster families even after the program. So do I.


No matter the difficulties in preparing for the program and being in the actual program itself, everything was worth it. They’ve told me nothing but success stories emphasizing how SSEAYP truly changed their lives and their size including me myself hehe. As most of the alumni said, they gained enough experience and opportunities to springboard their careers after the program. 

Train yourself to be a leader and followers at the same time 

The activities during the program were certainly not only gave me the opportunity to become a leader, at least to be a leader to ourselves but also a good follower to trained ourselves as a complete leader. The leader is not only the frontman in a group, right? 

This is a very important point emphasized in the journey. The process of being able to lead and be led to strengthening our bond of togetherness. Not an easy thing to accomplished but not impossible to be achieved. 

I appreciate the preciousness of time. 

Since Pre-Departure Training, being on time is a must, even in time is better. SSEAYP with its activities that have been arranged in such a way can really make anyone who is joined will be a person who really appreciates time. Because every second for 52 days will always be remembered for a lifetime. 


SSEAYP which was participated by JASEAN with more than 300 participants. Then we will meet with various human characters. So I really feel that this open-minded ability is very well trained so that each other's tolerance values ​​get better too. 


Although the ability of English language skills are limited, we as JASEAN mostly do not use English as our mother tongue. So from here I immediately realized that the most important thing is not how smart you used to speak in English but how confident you express your opinion in front and bring to the table. Because we support each other and learn from another. 

Collaboration & Manage our Ego 

During SSEAYP I really understood the importance of collaboration and managed the ego well. Because in the end, indeed we can go fast alone but we can go stronger together. 

No Internet, Talk to Other

During the program, because most activities are carried out in the middle of the ocean, of course, there is no internet. The internet was only available when POC and during the homestay. So that we get the chance to live more in the "real life" and leave the "virtual world" for a moment. I even realized that in fact, the "virtual world" was apparently not that important to know deeply or always get involved in it. Become wiser and prefers to spend time with the closest people rather than with those "strange" followers on social media who don't even know well about us or the news that flows so swiftly even with just one click away only.

Control Yourself & Mind. 

Personally, this was the thing that I learned the most during the program. SSEAYP was complex indeed, not only the program itself but also the people you met. Nothing is perfect including SSEAYP itself. So that problems and things that are not in accordance with your own values ​​will definitely be found, beyond expectations as well as the "happy moments" experiences. 

So that the process of becoming part of it allows me to train myself to be more in control so that it does not become toxic to myself or others. Be more aware of what's happening and what is thought. Meditate more when I had time because indeed living in the ship was not only "look busy" in real life but also in mind. 

In retrospect, SSEAYP was an eye-opening journey where I experienced many different cultures. Despite our differences, the issues we face in our respective countries are universal and we have so much to learn from one another. Having friends around the region has increased my awareness and understanding of issues in the region. The ties that we’ve established have made us more connected to each other than ever. 

Representing my country was not always easy and fun as you see in the photos. A lot of hard work, dedication and heart were put into the program to achieve its goal of fostering friendships between ASEAN countries and Japan. 

Whatever I get during SSEAYP, I believe that everyone who follows this program has their own expectations and ways of seeing the uniqueness in it. 

Are you among those who want to create the canvas of your youth life by taking part in this SSEAYP program and might just be your "new-self" as they said after heading back from the program? 

SSEAYP is always open for you! Let's become a big family of SSEAYP and sailing the blue ocean, once in a lifetime. 

I hope you will be inspired to join or follow the program in the coming years! 

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