If it hadn’t been for a change of heart, Michael might have missed out on the opportunity to go. According to his mother Julia Odintsov, Michael first heard about the program at school when his class received contest applications from the Japan-America Society of Georgia in January.
Excitement built for Michael as he learned about the contest that required writing an essay and creating a poster based upon international friendship. In a rush, he finished both requirements in one night.
Then uncertainty set in. Michael had previously traveled abroad with family and had been away from them overnight, but he had never experienced a trip of this magnitude so far away. He decided against turning in his application.
The temptation of adventure in a far away land must have gotten the better of him because after a week, he asked his parents if he had missed the deadline and discovered he still had time. He decided to give it a chance.
As it turns out, it was a fortunate decision. Michael’s submission was selected out of hundreds from across the state. After being selected again from a final contest round where children were judged on their cooperation and socialization skills, Michael was named a Junior Ambassador for the convention.
“He’s been excited about this trip ever since,” said Odintsov. “He was very happy to win and to be chosen to go.”
Michael departed for Fukuoka on July 12 and will return July 24. The beginning part of the trip brought together children from 40 countries at the convention for camp and today they will meet with Japanese host families and spend the rest of the trip staying with them and attending Japanese schools.
Follow photos and updates of the convention at www.facebook.com/APCCFukuoka.