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CONNEXT ASEAN: THE STUDENT ORGANIZATION THAT CONNECTS ASEAN AND JAPAN

Author: Putri Nurdivi

Published on October 24nd, 2019


Creating harmony and good relationship through exchange of cultures. CONNEXT - ASEAN is an international student based organization that educates cultural awareness of ASEAN countries to Japanese through educational camps and volunteer activities.

Connext ASEAN is a non-profit organization established by students from different South East Asian countries at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University back in 2014. The objective of this organization is to build a greater generation of ASEAN youth that is actively contribute to the development of ASEAN countries. Muhammad Ihsan Ananta (Ihsan) from Indonesia, the former leader of Connext ASEAN 2017, gladly explained more details of the organization to us. 


“To achieve that, we always try to spread awareness and a good understanding of ASEAN throughout the projects by building a community of young leaders who share the same vision with us,”


 


 

Within the past 5 years, Connext ASEAN has successfully held many projects, one of the most attractive ones is the annual Indonesian Camp and Thai Camp. It is designed to all nationalities of APU students to participate as a volunteer teacher in local schools. 

Moreover, many exciting activities also listed in the camp program. Participants could taste the local cuisine on the culinary tour and explore the famous sites of the country. For the past two years, the Indonesian Camp has received a precious opportunity to visit the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta. Ihsan is pleased to share how Connext ASEAN has built and managed partnerships with many prestigious institutions, schools, and NGOs in many countries. 



“Most of the time we build the networking from the ground up by approaching them through online communication from 6 to 12 months before starting the project. Then we follow it up by visiting their office with our representatives in each country. After the project has finished, it is important for us to always report back and express gratitude to our partner in order to stay connected. We hope this meaningful relationship will last longer for the next generation.”


TEACHING JAPANESE PEOPLE SOUTH EAST ASIAN CULTURE AND VICE VERSA


We interviewed two APU students who were participating in the previous Connext ASEAN Camp, Hinata Oiwa (Japan) from the Indonesian Camp 2017 and Ayane Nakahara (Japan) from the Thai Camp 2018 to share their experience. Through the Indonesian Camp 2017, Hinata has made new friends with fellow participants from different countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

 



“I was beyond excited since the Indonesia Camp 2017 marked my very first time visiting the South East Asia country. It was truly a fascinating journey as I could experience new things, for instance had a chance to interact with local people that were unexpectedly really welcoming foreigners and gaining valuable experience through the cultural exchange activities with high school students.”


On the other hand, this camp was Ayane’s second time visiting the ASEAN countries. Though she realized that she has gained more confidence to communicate by using the universal language, English, with people from different cultures and backgrounds.


“I am very enthusiastic in local culture especially the ethnicity which is really different from Japan. I will definitely find more opportunities to visit more parts of ASEAN in the future”


Both of them realized that the program further spark their interest in exploring South East Asia countries. As for Hinata, she could comfortably travel around ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and lastly had an opportunity to do an internship in Cambodia.