By Mick Jensen
Ashburton College Year 12 student Annemieke Burgerhout has won one of just two national scholarships awarded for a nine month study stint in Japan.
She departs next month and will immerse herself in the Japanese language and culture while studying at Osaka Kun-ei Girls High School .
Annemieke impressed scholarship judges with her initial written application, that included a 300 word bio and her reasons for wanting to study in Japan.
She followed that up with a successful telephone interview.
Annemieke said she was proficient in writing and understanding the Japanese language, which she had been learning since Year 9, but was less fluent in speaking it.
She admits to both nerves and excitement ahead of her trip and is swatting up on Japanese protocol and customs.
She will be a home stay student and will be reunited with three students from Osaka Kun-ei Girls High School who visited Ashburton College last year as part of an exchange between the sister schools.
In contrast to her school routine in Ashburton, she is likely to face a train trip to get to school in Osaka and will also need to attend school three Saturdays out of four each month.
She will wear the Japanese school uniform and must also be involved with an after-school club of some sort.
The appeal of Japan, says Annemieke, is its history, language and culture.
“I hope to come back more proficient in all aspects of the language,” she said.