All aboard the floating global village

Nicole Carlson reports on the unique academic and cultural experience offered by World@SEA 2017
Fan dance at World@SEA 2017
An immersion in Japanese culture included a traditional fan dance
Students customized their own curriculum by choosing seminars and private workshops from eight guest educators

From 10–23 August 2017, six selected SIM students were given an opportunity to experience a unique academic holiday in the World@SEA (W@S) programme. It was a three-part overseas programme to experience Japan, China and a myriad of academic and cultural activities on Peace Boat, a Japan-based international cruise dedicated to cultural exchange and experience.

In W@S Part 1, the group explored the highlights of Tokyo and their surrounding areas, such as Meiji Shrine, Sensoji Temple, Shibuya Crossing and Akihabara. Students tasted both traditional and modern Japan, from fresh sushi and takoyaki to an authentic Yukata and Tea Ceremony experience (pictured below left) – by far the most popular land activity at World@SEA 2017!

Yukata and Tea Ceremony experienceBSc Accounting and Finance final year student from Indonesia, Erika, was inspired by the kindness and hospitality she experienced in Japan. “We went to the most famous tourist spots, learned its history and tasted good food. Sometimes a tour can be so boring. This one made me fall in love with Japan, the people and the culture.”

During Part 2 of the journey, the group boarded Peace Boat from Yokohama, and was quickly immersed into the onboard international yet exquisitely Japanese environment. Students customized their own curriculum by choosing seminars and private workshops from eight guest educators such as Oshidari Kenro, the retired Regional Director for the United Nations World Food Programme; Fukatsu Takako (pictured below right), Vice President of the Association Montessori Internationale and founder of the Friends of AMI NIPPON; Suma Akira, the Director/ Producer for NHK Enterprises UNESCO; Lee Jeong Yong, Photojournalist and Director of the Advertising Bureau of Hankyoreh; and Lee Kwang Boon, Vice-President (former Secretary-General) of the United Nations Association of Singapore.

From Malaysia, Melissa was enthused by the wide variety of quality seminars and workshops. She shared: “The Peace Boat programme allowed me to learn knowledge that I didn't learn from classes. For me, World@SEA was a once in a lifetime experience which I would recommend to all.”

Fukatsu TakakoIn addition to attending lectures conducted by guest educators, Peace Boat also featured Japanese and Spanish language classes, as well as cultural activities such as salsa dance, yoga, and music. This was a truly unique platform as students gained knowledge and experience making friends across cultures, languages and generational boundaries.

About the entire onboard experience, Melissa reflected that she liked the environment as all passengers and staff were friendly. Even though she could not speak Japanese, she became friends with everyone.

In the final part of W@S, the group disembarked in Xiamen, China, to study life in the Chinese port city. They visited the famous Nanputuo Temple, traditional tea sampling, and climbed to the highest point on the Gulangyu Island. After completing their stay and academic experience onboard the Peace Boat, SIM students returned to Harbourfront, Singapore, in high spirits. Parting was nostalgic as they waved goodbye to their two-week home, Peace Boat, and to friends who had become more like family.  

Erika would encourage fellow students to pursue World@SEA. In fact, she quips: “I want to go for the next voyage!”

The following University of London students were the pioneer participants of W@S: Erika Wardoyo (BSc Accounting and Finance), Melissa Yew (BSc Accounting and Finance), Vanessa Koh (BSc Business and Management).

  • SIM GE is an Affiliate Centre for the University of London International Programmes.
  • Find out more about studying for a University of London degree in Singapore.