Sabina Šimková is 16 years old student at Lutheran Academy in Martin. Her essay had brought her excellent opportunity – visit and study in Japan! “Asia was and still is a challenge for me, my dream and desire because it always is tugging me to the east”, said Sabinka short after her return home from summer studies in Japan. Here is what Sabina has to say about her experience:
Students from 23 countries
When I received information from LEAF (Slovak non-profit and non-governmental organization focused on young people with the potential, note) offering a scholarship for summer school in Karuizawa, Japan, I did not hesitate. I had filled the application form and wrote an essay. Pretty soon I had a Skype interview with LEAF. They were selecting 80 students from 23 countries! I, 16 years old student from Lutheran Academy in Martin was one of them. I got the great opportunity and thanks to helpful people and organizations I left on July 17th. Viktor, another Slovak student from Bratislava, also traveled with me.
Before my departure to the “Land of the Rising Sun” as we tend to call Japan, I had a lot of preparation to do. The intensity and amount of curricula scared me a little, but on other hand I already could not for the program to start.
Days in summer school started at half past eight in the morning, ended about a quarter to eleven. They gave me a lot of work! Morning lessons were mathematics, biology and history can sound boring, but it was certainly not, under the guidance of lecturers from ISAK summer school. Each lesson led to a final project in which we worked in small groups.
We propose “perfect antibiotics” in biology and discussed about the history of the economy. The afternoon continued with non-traditional classes, such as leadership, theater and programming.
My expectations have not been met – it was better!
My 14 days in Japan flew by. We were expected to learn about how to behave in particular situations and how to resolve these situations, as if we were leaders. We learned that our life is really ours, so we have the right to decide to what we want to give our time and effort and in what areas we want to understand better ourselves. We learned that whenever we get into difficulties, we have three options – we can completely give up, we can blame someone or something for our failure or just learn from this situation and try to do it better again. We didn´t learned it as a theorem, we learnt it through practice and it was excellent!
A circle of many compliments ☺
An activity called “a circle of many compliments” was the best part of the program for me. One person was standing in the middle of the circle in this activity, while everyone standing around him tells him one thing that they like about him. You may think that people can quickly invent some random praise … and maybe sometimes it was so, but from my point of view there is always one thing that I consider attractive with each person. Therefore I had no problem to be truthful and honest in this activity.
The most beautiful thing with this activity was the fact that the person in the circle was intended not only to answer a simple “thank you”. He or she also had to say “thank you, I know!” It was very difficult for most of us, or even impossible to realize that people should be able to like something about us.
Meeting of youth from different countries and cultures
It is difficult to describe the atmosphere that prevailed in the campus for two conducted weeks. I spent every minute with strangers, whom I had to learn to work with. We have learned to cooperate and live together, and although we came from different countries and cultures, it was not an obstacle. ISAK summer school had taught me to be more independent, fearless, purposeful and helpful.
I met people who are very close to me and we became good friends, despite the fact that they live on the opposite side of the globe. When I was leaving at six in the morning on the last day of my stage, a few people woke up, got out of their bed and came to say goodbye… I realized then how much I am grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me, for the experience that I have witnessed and for the friendships that I have gained.
16 years student at the Lutheran Academy (bilingual high school) in Martin (shortened)