31 March, 2023
PORT Fairy’s Jacob Murray will join a select group of youngsters representing Australia at this year’s Asia Pacific Children’s Convention in southern Japan.
Eleven-year-old Jacob, a year five student at St Patrick’s Primary School, is one of only four Victorians chosen for the trip. The convention, to be held in Fukuoka in July, will involve more than 180 children from 43 regions across the Asia Pacific region, as well as the United States, France and Peru. Jacob’s 10-day trip will see him attend the Bridge Summer Camp and enjoy a stay with a host family. “I’ve only had one trip overseas so far and that was to Fiji so I’m really excited,” he said. “Mum made me some miso soup with tofu and I really liked it; and I love sushi. “I’m really looking forward to meeting my host family and going to school over there.” With just four Victorians chosen for the trip, the selection process was an intricate one. Applicants were required to submit an essay outlining the reasons why they believed they would make a great ambassador not only for their school and hometown, but also how they could best represent Australia on the world stage. The Australian Japan Society of Victoria accepted applications from all over the state. “As a school and a community we’re absolutely thrilled with Jacob’s selection,” St Patrick’s Parish Japanese teacher Anne Robertson said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for him to experience life in another culture, to learn about different customs and ways of thinking, and to allow others to begin to understand ways of life here in Australia that may be new or unfamiliar. “Even though Jacob has been learning Japanese here at school for the past five years, there will definitely be some eye-opening experiences and a shift in the awareness of the importance of mutual respect and understanding of other people, languages and believe systems.” Ms Robertson believes Jacob’s effervescent personality and readiness to be “brave in the face of new experiences” will help him make friends and reap the benefits of such an experience. The Australian Japan Society of Victoria will generously fund most aspects of the trip including airfares, accommodation and meals.