The University of Bath sends its congratulations to Grace Ching, first year Psychology student, who reached the national final of the 19th Japanese Speech Contest for University Students on 2 March 2024.

The prestigious annual competition, organised jointly by the British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) and the Japan Foundation London, provides an opportunity for students from the UK and Ireland to showcase their Japanese speaking skills. Grace was selected as one of only five finalists in the individual presentation category and was an overall runner-up in the competition.

Grace has been attending the Skills Centre’s Japanese Lower Intermediate Course with Teaching Fellow Satoko Suzui since Semester 1, 2023. In her speech, Grace talked about the Chinese ligatures, including its history, formation, and her personal interest in this topic.

Grace said:

I joined the competition because I wanted to improve my public speaking skills. It has been a great opportunity for me to learn Japanese beyond the confines of the classroom.

I could not have done this without my teacher Suzui Sensei’s full support. I would like to express my deep gratitude to her.

Grace added:

I was very anxious on the day of the final as there was unexpected snow in Bath, which led to disruptions of bus and train services. I was truly delighted to see Suzui Sensei coming to support me in person in London; her warm and kind words really helped me calm down and I was able to perform well.

I also befriended like-minded people and gained new insights from all the speeches during the competition. It was really an unforgettable experience.

Japanese Teaching Fellow Satoko Suzui said:

Grace did a great amount of research and created a very comprehensive presentation, which is extremely engaging. It isn’t easy to write a speech in another language, but Grace spoke about this subject very confidently, expressing her thoughts well and using her knowledge of three different languages.

Grace gave the best performance that I have seen. She was praised by the judges and audiences who are also Japanese teachers across the UK.

Grace is now looking forward to developing her Japanese further in the future.

Japanese is one of nine languages University of Bath students, staff and members of the public can learn through the Skills Centre.