YKRF Forum [Day 1] in TOKYO

Monday, 16 January 2017

I joined somewhat of a club called the YKRF, essentially the initials of different schools (Yonsei - Korea, Keio - Japan, Rikkyo - Japan and Fudan - China) and this is an annual leadership forum that is hosted in respective countries in the Summer. Excellent students from their respective schools gather together in a forum to listen to specific lectures from professors and have discussions and ideas for the progress of peaceful partnership between the three countries. In 2015, it was held in Yonsei - Korea, in 2016 in Keio - Japan, and next year (2017) it would be held in Fudan - China. I applied, interviewed and got accepted as a representative of Korea for this forum together with a bunch of friends who were really accepting, friendly and just kind-hearted. I apologize the 6-month wait for a report on this, but I felt I really needed time to sit down and pen my thoughts after such a rich experience and the fall semester did not give me time like that.

So anyway, we met many times a week during the Summer holidays to practice for the culture show performance (we did a dance to Twice's Cheer Up, which you can watch at the end of the last post). Anyway, so the club is split into three departments, one for the culture show, one for the discussions and one for the YKRF introduction video. I was a part of the video team so we planned for the shootings, the message behind it and the post-production. It was really fun. So let's skip to the part where we flew to Japan. Met up with the students from Fudan in Narita Airport and got acquainted. We then got picked by Keio students and had a long drive to the University. Stay tuned for a huuuuuuge bunch of photos. (I already tried to reduce it as much as possible)

Arrived there, met up with the rest of the students from Japan (Keio and Rikkyo). Keio is one of the top schools in Japan, and apparently Rikkyo is the sister school of Yonsei (never knew that). The students were so sweet to hold up cards welcoming us. We then got a tour of the entire school before heading for the welcome party/opening ceremony with an excellent spread for dinner. 

We met our different groups. We had the sightseeing groups and discussion groups and we were all standing around getting acquainted. I found out that there was a Malaysian girl as well studying in Rikkyo University and she was here in the program too. Didn't feel all that different after that! It's funny how I joined a Korean program but felt so comfortable speaking to everyone since the main language used between the three schools was English though having a Japanese, Chinese or Korean second language would make communication much easier. 

It was sort of difficult talking to Koreans since my Korean isn't perfect nor native and they speak really fast when they're all enjoying themselves and excited. I just couldn't translate my thoughts and express them fast enough. However, being able to speak in English meant I could take the time to translate what I wanted to say and I was able to get to know them so much more and even though 6 months have passed I really must say those memories have stayed in my mind so vividly. 

Dinner was great, and it was a rather meaningful time of getting to know each other and listening to all the representatives of each school, professors who were in charge of the program of each school and how we were going to have a good time of exchanging our opinions and ideas for the progress and mutual advancement of each country. 

Finished up the welcome party, got on the train and headed to our hotels for the night. The hotel was really great and I shared the room with a guy from China (had no problems communicating there since I can speak Chinese) and it was the start of a memorable and exciting journey. Stay tuned for Day 2!

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