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International rewards

Wrange Walther, a recent graduate with a Japanese minor, shares about his recent Gold Award in the Japanese speech contest, J.LIVE Talk.

Photo courtesy of Yuki Waugh

By Alix Poth ’18

Wrange Walther, a recent graduate in Aerospace Engineering with Japanese and mathematics minors, was recently awarded the Gold Award in a Japanese speech contest. The 5th Annual J.LIVE Talk (Japanese Learning Inspired Vision and Engagement Talk) competition — a “college-level Japanese language presentation competition that emphasizes a comprehensive range of learned communication skills” — took place at The George Washington University on Nov. 10.

The award includes a cash prize of $300 and a scholarship to study in a summer intensive Japanese course at Nanzan University, including one round-trip ticket and a $3,300 stipend.

Stefanie Harris, interim head of the Department of International Studies, said “Wrange worked hard to prepare for his presentation and did a great job engaging the audience at the competition. Wrange’s success is shared by the excellent faculty in Japanese, including instructional associate professor Yuki Waugh, who attended the competition and was also awarded the J.LIVE Talk 2019 Mentoring Award.”

Photo courtesy of Yuki Waugh

Walther began studying Japanese in high school because of his desire to learn a foreign language and a google search of “the hardest languages for English speakers to learn.” 

“I began to study, but as I did I became more and more interested in the culture, and that turned a challenge made out of boredom into a genuine passion,” Walther said. “The more I learned the more insight I began to have into this foreign culture, and the more it really put my own culture and language into perspective.”

He has a long-held interest in world and space travel, reflected in his education path, and hopes to become an astronaut for his career. He entered the J.LIVE Talk competition as a chance to improve his Japanese speaking skills. Winning the competition allows him an opportunity to study abroad in Japan again and further his international network. 

“My future goals are to work at developing planes or spacecraft abroad, eventually to become an astronaut. I would like to have the opportunity to live and work with many different types of people, and especially to work on collaborative projects between different countries and help forge stronger bonds between the U.S. and other nations,” he said. “The College of Liberal Arts gave me the experience interacting with people from different cultures as well as improving my public speaking skills in both English and Japanese.”

Read more about international education opportunities here