Scholarship won by language student

Bridget Gilchrist Language Perfect Scholarship 2014 winner and University of Otago Japanese language student Daniel Abbott on the University of Otago Union lawn. Photo by John Lewis.
Bridget Gilchrist Language Perfect Scholarship 2014 winner and University of Otago Japanese language student Daniel Abbott on the University of Otago Union lawn. Photo by John Lewis.
As if English and Japanese were not already enough, German and Maori are next on Daniel Abbott's list of languages to master.

The 18-year-old University of Otago language student recently won the Bridget Gilchrist Language Perfect Scholarship worth $5000 for his achievements in Japanese.

''I spent hours in front of my computer with cramped hands, competing in the Language Perfect World Championship.

''I was aiming for an elite award from the championship which meant I had to spend around five hours a day for 10 days, answering language questions online.''

Mr Abbott eventually won the elite award, and a surprise bonus was that it made him eligible for the Gilchrist scholarship, which he also won.

''I still can't believe it. I never thought I would ever win any scholarship.

''The scholarship was just for my course fees - I didn't get to choose what I spent the money on, but I am happy about that because now my student loan is $5000 less, which is great.''

Mr Abbott said he was fascinated by languages, especially those with a whole new alphabet, such as Japanese.

''I love being able to communicate with so many more people, I love how I can read and write these strange, funny looking characters, and learning another language takes a private conversation to a whole new level.''

For these reasons, he plans to learn German and Maori in the near future. After that, who knows, he said.

This year he is studying a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in Japanese and minoring in English.

As for his career aspirations?

''I still don't know really. I would love to make films when I am older, but I also want a job that will let me use my Japanese as much as possible.

''So maybe a Japanese film-maker?''

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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