Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Long Awaited Dream Comes True For Mackay Year 12 Student

For years, Year 12 student from Mackay State High School Dean Contemplacion has been envisioning being able to travel to Japan and experience the fantastic culture and heritage.

And this dream is about to come true, being accepted as a Youth Ambassador for a cultural exchange program with Mackay’s sister city, Matsuura, a city in southern Japan in the Nagasaki Prefecture.

Dean is one of 12 students to be selected for the exchange, having to write a 500-word essay, be interviewed, and have an endorsement from his school.

Once he returns, he will pen a report for the Mackay Regional Council.

“I’ve always longed for the day that I would fulfill this dream of mine and be immersed in such a wonderful community,” Dean said.

“Now that I am given the chance to go, I am so excited to immerse myself in their culture, eat and drink the same food as them, learn more about the history of the country, speak in their language, and witness the sights and wonders of Japan, the nature, and the cities.

“I want to make my 14 days there not just to strengthen the bond of Mackay and Matsuura, I want it to be about living as a Japanese native.”

The Matsuura Sister City Program began in 1989 and encourages a cultural exchange for Matsuura students as well.

Matsuura students will stay in Mackay with host families and experience Mackay and Australia with activities organised by the Mackay Council.

Dean will live with a Japanese host family and be heavily involved with activities organised by the Matsuura Council, and even attend high school for a time.

He will be able to venture to iconic Japanese sites, including Mount Fuji, Akihabara and various temples and shrines.

Dean is funding the 14-day trip himself, and will also venture to Tokyo and Osaka following the program.

“Being accepted as one of 12 ambassadors to go took great effort, and I believe being financially held back should not overshadow the qualifications I show to be part of the program.

“I am hoping for donations and the support of you and anyone else willing to assist me, I will be able to attend the trip in June 2023 and fulfill this long-awaited dream.”

Following the trip, Dean plans to return to Japan, and explore the country further.

“After the program, although I won't be able to go to university there, I plan to migrate there one day after my educational goals.

“Even if it's still a long way ahead, I already have my sights set to live there someday, and bring over family and friends, because I know that this is also my cousins' and friends' dream.”

“This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, I'll soon be in university next year, the busiest years of my life are about to come, and if there's one last childhood dream, I would want to fulfill before all that happens, it's this one,” Dean said.

Dean Contemplacion is excited to spend 14 days in Japan with Sister City Exchange. Photo supplied

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