Students and Alumni

A Life-long Unforgettable Trip: International Youth Exchange Programme in Kagoshima, Japan

Student Writer:
LEUNG Hoi-yan Michelle
Department of Applied Social Sciences

Jointly organised by the Home Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR and the Commission on Youth, the International Youth Exchange Programme aims to broaden young people’s horizons beyond Hong Kong and encourage the exchange of ideas with people around the globe. Thanks to the nomination by the College and selection by host organisations, I finished both outbound and inbound trips respectively in August and September 2016. Therefore, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of the organisations for inviting me in this international exchange programme. Working with the rest of the fourteen group members, I have absolutely understood the theme of Social Innovation and the sub theme of Youth Participation comprehensively.

During the 7-day outbound trip, I had my fill of Japanese cultural activities, trying my hand at traditional weaving, home staying, cooking Japanese-styled curry and even sand bathing with hot springs. One of the most memorable episodes in the trip was a courtesy visit to Kagoshima Prefectural Government Office, which provided a precious chance for all the youth delegates to discuss about social innovation with the magistrate directly.

Meanwhile, during the 5-day inbound trip, Japanese delegates visited a number of places in Hong Kong. Apart from swinging by the Peak and the Lantau Island to do some sightseeing, they also had a taste of our traditional festival at the Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnival, not to mention an “intellectual tour” to the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Museum of History.

If you ask me what inspired me the most in this exchange programme, I will have to say recycling. In recent years, global warming has been a social issue and waste problem is indisputably a main culprit. In order to reduce garbage production, the Kagoshima government not only puts into practice the wastecharging scheme, it has also brought forward a more diversified recycling system. Even though each family is charged the same no matter how much rubbish it produces, the Japanese are nonetheless dedicated to recycling works as a token of gratitude to the Earth. The youths in Kagoshima are doing their parts as well. For example, a group of teenagers established Food Bank Kagoshima in 2011, bearing similar ideas as Hong Kong’s Food Angel. These youngsters are willing to shoulder the social responsibility while thinking out of the box to alleviate the long-term waste problem. If our next generation are willing to have a hand in environmental protection, our homeland Hong Kong will also become a much eco-friendlier city.

I believe learning stretches beyond the lecture room. If similar programmes can be held more often, I’m sure students will be more than happy to explore the world and become better global citizens themselves.