Study in Japan

Students of Scottish birth, descent or long term residency, can apply for the opportunity to study Japanese in the summer of 2015 through the Aberdeen Asset Management Thomas Blake Glover Scholarship. Entries for fully funded 2015 scholarship are now open with a closing date of 30 November 2014.

Students from all disciplines (other than those studying Japanese full time) are eligible to apply. Nineteen year old Giancarlo Bell, who is studying medicine at Glasgow University was the recipient of the 2014 scholarship and spent six weeks at the International Christian University in Tokyo on an intensive Japanese language course where he achieved A grades.

Giancarlo, who was 18 when he was awarded the scholarship encourages all eligible students to consider applying. He says, “The scholarship afforded me a life changing opportunity. I will remember the trip and the friends I made forever. But, more importantly I developed language skills and an adoration for Japanese culture that I will build on for the rest of my life. I realised that, despite my success in the beginners’ course, I am only scratching the surface of a massive, beautiful, impenetrable written and spoken language. The scholarship has built for me a secure base from which to build my Japanese, where before I could only squint at the thousands and thousands of kanji and feel helpless, unable to devote time to beginning my studies outside of my busy Medical course.”

The scholarship is intended to build on Scotland’s historic links with Japan and in particular the role that Scot Thomas Blake Glover played in the opening Japan up to the West. After settling in Nagasaki in 1859, Thomas Blake 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. His achievements include the introduction of the first railway locomotive to Japan, the founding of the Kirin Brewery and influencing the development of Mitsubishi as an industrial conglomerate. The scholarship aims to recognise these successes by providing young Scots with the opportunity to learn about business and culture in the hope of further improving Scotland’s historic links with Japan.

Professor Stuart Picken of the Japan Society of Scotland says, “The Aberdeen Asset Management Thomas Blake Glover scholarship allows a Scottish student to follow in the footsteps of Glover and other Scottish entrepreneurs of the Meiji Period and to continue a proud tradition of building bridges of understanding and communication between our two nations. As well as learning the language, there are opportunities to gain an insight into life and culture in Japan. The combination of these elements gives the scholarship winner a firm foundation for future professional links with Japan.”

This is the sixth year that Aberdeen Asset Management, which has a business alliance with Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporations in Japan, has sponsored the scholarship. Chief Executive Martin Gilbert says, “I firmly believe that today’s generation of undergraduates and graduates will continue to show the entrepreneurial flair and global mobility of their forefathers. We continue our support for this scholarship as it brings an exceptional opportunity for one Scottish student to boost his or her employability and to develop experience internationally which significantly enhances their career opportunities.”

Previous winners of the scholarship in addition to Giancarlo Bell, have included:
Kate Stephen from Inverness; a graduate of the University of the Highlands and Islands studying for a PHD in Health Science at Aberdeen University.
Jen Rourke from Dundee who was in her final year at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
Carolyn Ruxton from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, who was studying for a Master of Architecture at Scott Sutherland School of Architecture at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.
Lloyd Conaghan from Glasgow who was in his first year at Glasgow University studying psychology, business and management and economic and social history
Graham Riach of Glasgow who was studying a MA joint honours degree in English literature and French at the University of Glasgow

Applicants for the scholarship should be in full time higher education in the UK or be a graduate of a British university of not more than five years standing. Judges will look for their ability to articulate a defined interest in a professional field that relates to Japan and where study of the Japanese language would be beneficial or necessary. Candidates should be 30 or under. Students already engaged in a full time degree programme in Japanese will not normally be eligible. More, including how to apply, can be found at;  and

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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