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SOAS students take top prizes at UK Japanese Speech Contest

19 March 2013

SOAS students won first and second prize as well as the Lifestyle & Culture Research prize at the Japanese Speech Contest in March.

The annual contest aims to improve the speaking and presentation skills of students studying Japanese as a foreign language at universities in the UK and Ireland. It is staged by the British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) and The Japan Foundation London.

The top two places were won in the speech category by BA Japanese and Economics student Tim Joris Lameris (first prize) and BA Japanese and Korean Paulina Agnieszka Wilczynska (second prize).

The Lifestyle & Culture Research award, which was in the group presentation category for those studying Japanese at beginner level, was awarded to BA Japanese James Daniels, BA Japanese and Korean Emma Tiller, BA Japanese and Korean Estelle Tiller and BA Japanese and Linguistics Dominic Richards.

First place winner Tim said: “Using my Japanese in such a stimulating event was a huge reward for studying Japanese for a year. It was enormously rewarding to show the language skills I had acquired - and ending up as winner made the day even more memorable!

“I honestly believe the fact that both first and second place went to SOAS fourth-years students, plus the fact that five freshers from SOAS participated in the group contest, shows the high quality of Japanese language education at SOAS. I am above all extremely grateful to my Japanese language teachers, without whom all of this would not have been possible.”

Second-place winner Paulina described studying Japanese as "wonderful and unforgettable" and "the Japanese Speech Contest was, apart from being a pleasure to take part in, a source of inspiration to me. I am happy to have won the second place on a personal level, but it was truly amazing to meet other participating students passionate about the Japanese language and just determined to do their best at something they love."

SOAS Head of the Department of Japan and Korea Professor Andrew Gerstle added: “The fantastic success of two SOAS students being awarded first and second places in the top category is unprecedented and attests to the high quality of the SOAS Japanese programme both in language and intellectual skills. The first-year group prize reflects a strategy of teaching in which students are giving time in 'language clinics' to work together in language study and to learn from each other.'

The event, held at Regent’s College London on 2 March 2013, was the eighth annual contest to run in the UK. It is open to all students studying Japanese in the UK.

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For more information on learning Japanese at SOAS visit http://www.soas.ac.uk/japankorea/