Just over a month ago I returned from Hiroshima, Japan after attending a student seminar for global citizenship and security, and in that time I have been able to reflect on my experience and the things I have learnt. Whenever anyone asks me what the best part of my trip was I never hesitate in my answer, the people. During my experience I was lucky enough to meet some of the most amazing people from all around the world. Every single person contributed something unique to my experience, and while we were all passionate about security and peace our approaches were vastly different and that was the best part. I have learnt so much from so many people from all corners of the world. I have been exposed to perspectives on issues that I would never have considered before and have gained a greater understanding of the issues which affect everyone, but also how the affect everyone differently.
While over in Japan we were lucky enough to explore temples, gardens, and all range of cultural sites. We were also fortunate enough to attend the memorial service for the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and were able to visit the memorial museum. We were also given the opportunity to listen to two survivors of the bombing speak about their experiences and hopes for the future, and from these experiences the most important message that was shared was the extreme desire the Japanese have for an event like this to never be repeated. They hold little in the way of grudges towards those who did this too them, rather they focus on spreading the message that what happened was a catastrophe and should never be repeated.
As part of the actual conference we all participated in workshops and a United Nations mock assembly. These aspects of the conference were extremely informative and interesting. We learnt to interpret different situations from the perspective of gender and gained a greater knowledge of these issues most prudent within gender studies today. The mixed nature of the workshops which allowed us to interact within students from all around the world also meant that we were exposed to a range of different viewpoints and contrasting ideas which challenged the way we approach different issues and ideas. All in all the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I am truly grateful for. Through this experience my role as a global citizen has expanded and developed and I have grown as a individual as well. I have also made friends for life, who I will treasure and remember and hopefully one day meet that at the General Assembly within the real UN.