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Grant for IPU New Zealand Students

The Asia New Zealand Foundation and Japanese food giant Nakashimato Co have given a financial boost to three IPU New Zealand students who went to Japan to study.

Matthew Flanagan, Jenny Wong and Kayla Garrett each received a $1000 grant towards their studies, after being accepted onto an exchange programme in Japan last year.

Kayla, who enjoyed a six-month stint at a university in Okayama, says she had the time of her life.

“Living in Japan, attending school, as well as travelling and meeting new people, was so much fun. I can’t wait to go back soon and start working,” she says.

Kayla hopes to become an English teacher and relished the opportunity she was given to help out in the university’s English classes.

However, the experience wasn’t without its challenges.

“Being far away from friends and family was a bit of a struggle in the first few months. It took a while to adjust, but everyone was always kind and friendly and I soon got used it.”

For Fellow IPU New Zealand student Matthew it was his first time setting foot outside of New Zealand. He spent seven months studying and travelling around Japan – a trip which he says has given him lifelong memories.

While studying, Matthew took a variety of papers in Japanese including economics, current issues and intercultural communication.

“This gave me the opportunity to use and learn vocabulary that is not used in everyday conversation or studied in a Japanese class. Studying a second language in the country where it is spoken natively has helped me improve my Japanese abilities more than anything. It has also enabled me to experience the way a Japanese university works and better understand the culture within Japanese schools.”

Meanwhile, Jenny spent six months studying in Okayama, and agreed that the exchange was an ideal way to gain a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture.

“Ever since I started learning Japanese at intermediate I’d dreamed of visiting Japan. This was a great chance for me to experience living there and to gain a broader view of Japanese culture,” she says.

The food and festivals were amongst her highlights, and now, like Kayla, she has her sights firmly set on returning to Japan to become an English teacher.

Watch the video of Matthew Flanagan explaining how the scholarship helped him.

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