28 May 2010
At the end of February, seven Imperial students took part in the fifth All UK Japanese Speech Contest for University Students, competing against students from over 20 other universities. Second year student William Kwangwon Kim (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), who won first prize, describes his experience:
“I decided to take Japanese this year as an optional humanities course, as I studied the language for two years at high school. My Korean background helped me a lot when I first took up Japanese, as many expressions have a similar structure and many words come from the same root. In January, I came across this competition organised by the Japan Foundation. With support from my teachers, and after an essay assessment and a phone interview, I was chosen to compete at the finals at SOAS. My speech was entitled Patent and its side effect and I spoke about the contradictory side of the patent law that hinders technological advancement of the world. On the day, I thought that the topic could be too serious for the audience in front me and, because other competitors presented their speeches with such style and confidence (including two from Imperial), it really came as a surprise when I was announced as the winner.
Later I found out that the judges gave extra credit for the topic and content of my speech, which I think was because the contest was sponsored by Japanese technology firms, including Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electronics. Other than the speech itself, I really enjoyed speaking to the people from Japan and other students studying Japanese from universities around the UK.”