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And who is SWY Australia?


About the program

Please note the 2022-23 SWY Hybrid program differs in format from that described below. Please see our SWY Hybrid page for more details.

In a rapidly globalising world, cross-cultural communication and cooperation are indispensable in every field.


The Ship for World Youth (SWY) is a unique international youth exchange and leadership program that allows participants to challenge their comfort zones while learning leadership and cross-cultural communication skills.  


Supported by the Government of Japan, this program provides approximately 250 youth from around the world the opportunity to come together to discuss common global issues, experience cultural exchange, and join seminars and workshops conducted by experts and the participants themselves. Participants also develop their skills through active involvement in running seminars, participating in on-board committees and engaging with different cultures.

By broadening global views and strengthening the spirit of international cooperation, the SWY program aims to cultivate the next generation of leaders who are ready to lead and contribute to globalised and diverse communities.

The SWY program changes every year. In recent years the program has included: 

  • Multi-day cultural exchange in a Japanese prefecture 

  • 1 week of 'on-shore' training in Tokyo - mixture of lectures, tutorials and excursions 

  • 4 weeks onboard the Nippon Maru cruise ship - continuing study and visiting various global ports 


We are looking for Australians who: 

  • are leaders in their community 

  • are dedicated to building social cohesion 

  • are passionate about developing stronger global connections 

  • work well in groups and under pressure  

  • have a desire to learn about and engage with other cultures 

  • will represent Australia to the highest degree 

  • are emotionally intelligent and self-reflective 

  • will participate fully in all aspects of the SWY program 

  • commit to ongoing engagement with the alumni after completion of the program 



SWY Australia works with the Japanese Embassy in Canberra to select young Australians to apply for funded places on the program. 

 Participants must: 

  • Be 18-32 years of age 

  • Be an Australian citizen 

  • Be able to participate in the entire program, including pre-departure training in Canberra (dates TBC) 

  • Have a good command of English (Japanese language ability may be an advantage but is not a requirement of the program) 

  • Have a desire to learn about Japan 


How often does the program run? 

The program is run each year by the Japanese Cabinet Office who are responsible for organising the entire program and inviting various countries to participate.  Each year, the Japanese Government invites the governments of some 11 – 15 other countries to send delegations. The participating countries vary each year with a mix of countries from various regions of the world. 

To be alerted when applications next open, subscribe to our mailing list here.

Pre-departure preparation 

Participating youth are required to attend a weekend (Friday to Sunday) National Workshop in Canberra. It is important you plan for this if you wish to attend SWY. This time is used to prepare for the program and for you to get to know the rest of the Australian delegation. Costs to attend the National Workshop are to be covered by the participants. Further details can be found below. 

You will also be expected to contribute a couple of hours a week helping the delegation prepare prior to departure. This includes activities such as the organisation of uniforms and preparing materials for onboard seminars/presentations. It is important that you are able to contribute to the delegation's preparation before departure. 



The Government of Japan very generously covers most expenses including flights, living expenses in Japan and the voyage aboard the Nippon Maru. Participants are responsible for some costs, including the following: 

  • Travel and accommodation to the National Workshop in Canberra 

  • Uniforms 

  • Small gifts for other participants, host families and international representatives 

  • Travel insurance for luggage and personal items (optional) 

  • Spending money and other personal expenses 


SWY Australia assist the delegation to fundraise to contribute to these expenses. Participants are also encouraged to undertake individual fundraising in the lead up to the program. 


About SWY Australia

The Ship for World Youth Leadership program is not something people complete and simply forget.  The Ship for World Youth Leadership program has lifelong involvement.


When participants return from SWY they become a member of SWY Australia, the alumni association for former participants of the SWY program in AustraliaSWY Australia is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and the third largest SWY alumni in the world after Japan and Mexico. 

SWY Australia supports young Australians to participate in international cultural exchange and develop their leadership skills. Our aim is to create safe spaces where people can reflect on their cultural identity and contribute as young leaders of Australia. Through this process we promote reconciliation, tolerance and mutual respect within Australian society. SWY Australia members are active community members who hold a range of responsibilities and roles; as a member of SWY Australia they increase their capacity and confidence to lead.​

SWY Australia supports the Cabinet Office and the Embassy of Japan in Australia by promoting, recruiting and facilitating the program in Australia. As an alumni association, SWY Australia also provides a network for former participants to socialise and develop their professional skills through a range of community service projects locally and globally. 

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“SWY is about looking at local problems from a global perspective and providing participants  inspiration from world's best practice”

— Megan Lock, SWY Australia President

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