During our time in Japan, I was able to learn a tremendous amount about Japanese culture. Our first week in Hiroshima was a tremendous learning experience for me. The atomic bombings were a topic that I learned very little about through school. It was lightly mentioned in history classes and framed as insignificant in many instances. Being able to travel to Hiroshima opened my eyes to the harsh effects of the bomb on the city and its people. Having the opportunity to speak with survivors and their family members is something I will never forget. This portion of our trip was where I first began to cultivate a deeper meaning for the term peace leadership. I was able to see first hand how the community of Hiroshima decided to send a message of peace to the world after this incident. In many similar scenarios, countries have waged war and harbored hatred, but Hiroshima established a mission of eliminating nuclear weapons. Visiting the City of Peace was a very meaningful experience that inspired me to see how the best outcomes can come from terrible situations.
The remainder of our trip was also a rich learning adventure. Traveling across Japan was a privilege that I will always be thankful for. Being able to see various cities and learn from various organizations was an exciting experience. I’m glad to say that I was pushed out of my comfort zone during various parts of the trip. I am a firm believer that most learning comes from these uncomfortable experiences. Staying in the Buddhist monastery was a prime example of this. Being silent and unstimulated is a very difficult task, especially in the generation that we currently live in. I feel as though I grew very much from our mindfulness and meditation practices. I learned a tremendous amount from this trip and have acquired new goals and motivations for this summer and the coming year.
By, Freddie DeLaRosa