Disaster Relief Japan Study

Earthquakes in Ecuador. Flash flooding in East-Asia. Hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Terrorist attacks across the globe. Natural and man-made disasters like these have far-reaching consequences for people all around the world. How do nations and communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events? And what role can each of us play?I have been accepted to the University of Maryland, Spring study abroad program for March 2018. Alongside other students, I will travel to Japan in search of answers to these questions. Through meetings and activities with government officials, non-profit workers, local students, educators, and small business owners in Tokyo, Sendai, Kesennuma, and elsewhere in the Tohoku region, I will learn how Japan’s experiences of disaster —both natural and man-made— have shaped public policy and their communities.

This program will allow me to develop broad knowledge of global disaster risk reduction, management, and recovery; and will also develop deep knowledge of Japan’s March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters. This program will aid in my long-term goals as a person majoring in Psychology interested in international studies and political science. My belief is that a person can not wish to try and understand the world from a deeper psychological sense without experiencing it; my interest is in a worldwide view of psychology, so an experience such as this is ideal. As an academic program, this directly contributes three credit hours to my Psychology Bachelors Degree.

Students like me, who are accepted in this program, will participate in two weeks of intensive pre-departure coursework here in the U.S., followed by one week of study and travel in Japan during spring break. Following the trip, there is an additional two weeks of coursework, culminating in a U.S.-based service project designed by all the students, which will showcase and apply the experience gained in Japan, in our own communities.

I have experienced first-hand how much difference one person can make, by volunteering at a local hospital for children here in Tampa, alongside volunteering at a local school to support and help children in an after school program to help in studies and socialization. Disasters, hardship and psychological trauma affects all levels and sectors of society, and this program will provide me with valuable experience, interacting with individuals from different cultures on an international platform, learning first-hand how I can address real-world issues and develop potential solutions.

The overall cost of this opportunity is fully funded by the students, and includes tuition fees ($1,500), air-fare and visas ($1,500), accommodation, and living expenses ($1,000) which I must raise by February 2018. I have applied for, and hope to cover some of these costs through scholarships, and I continue to raise money by working part-time while studying for my university degree full-time.

I am asking for your support in gathering any contributions towards the costs of this study-abroad program, which I will be truly grateful for. Funds will be gathered and paid directly to the University of Maryland. To further show my appreciation to anyone who contributes, I will be documenting and publishing updates of the experience through this site periodically while I am there. All contributors will receive a personal letter of thanks from me, adorned with some of my art. As an added token of my thanks, I will create a unique piece of artwork for each of the ten highest contributors.

Thank you for your support!
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Jo Hindle 
Lutz, FL
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