Japanese language scholarship open for entries

The search is on to find the next recipient of the Thomas Blake Glover ASI Scholarship, which will enable one Scottish student to have the experience of a lifetime studying in Japan.

Initiated by the Japan Society of Scotland and sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments, the scholarship offers a fully funded opportunity to undertake an intensive language course at a Japanese university.

The winner will study in Kyoto and have opportunities to gain a unique insight to the country’s business and customs. They will visit Aberdeen Standard Investment’s office in Tokyo with the opportunity to visit Osaka, Japan’s commercial centre, in a programme customised to maximise business and cultural exposure, and considering the successful candidate’s interests.

It will take place during July and August 2019 at the International Christian University (ICU), a highly accredited institution located in Mitaka City, a suburban community adjacent to Tokyo.

The scholarship was created in recognition of the work of Thomas Blake Glover, the Aberdeenshire-born entrepreneur credited with opening Japan up to the West. After settling in Nagasaki in 1859, Glover established an agency for his employers, the Scottish trading house Jardine, Matheson and Co. He played a critically important role in opening trade links and became known as the Scottish Samurai.

He introduced the first railway locomotive to Japan, started the Kirin Brewery and influenced the development of Mitsubishi as an industrial conglomerate. The scholarship aims to recognise these successes by providing Scottish students with the opportunity to learn about business and culture in the hope of further improving Scotland’s historic links with Japan.

The scholarship attracts a strong field of candidates attending universities across Scotland, students with a demonstrable interest in Japan. Past winners have been students studying a diverse range of subjects, including law, medicine, artificial intelligence and computer science and have described the opportunity as “the experience of a lifetime”.

Mark Livingstone, a former pupil of Whitburn Academy, was studying digital media at Edinburgh’s Napier University, when he won the 2017 scholarship, which he credited with helping him become confident in speaking Japanese, as well as making connections to stand him in good stead for his future career plans.

Mark applied for the scholarship to support his ambition of working in 3D design and animation in the entertainment industry, an area in which Japan is recognised as a global leader and said: “I had the best time of my life, and words can’t express how grateful I am for having had the opportunity to go on this scholarship and experience life in Japan.

“The scholarship gave me the knowledge required to have short conversations in Japanese. This was enough to be able to have basic conversations with people I didn’t know and gave me the knowledge to be helpful in establishments where language barriers presented themselves.”

Martin Gilbert, co-chief executive of Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “The selected candidate will be following in the footsteps of Scottish entrepreneurs like Thomas Blake Glover and it is a great chance for Scottish students to experience Japanese education, industries and culture which can differ greatly from our own. The experience of past scholarship winners demonstrates that this is a special opportunity for learning language skills and building confidence while bringing eastern and western cultures closer together."

Entries close on November 23, 2018 and scholarship application forms can be downloaded from http://www.japansocietyofscotland.org.uk/scholarship.html

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