|From Harlan to Yamaguchi, via Centre
RELEASED: May 12, 2005
DANVILLE, KYWhile many of his Centre College classmates will be worried about being late to their first class this fall, sophomore Drew Blanton is concerned about getting lost in the airport and missing his flight to Japan.
The chemistry major from Harlan, Ky., recently won the first international scholarship for foreign students offered by Yamaguchi Prefectural University in Yamaguchi, Japan. The scholarship will cover Blanton's airfare to Japan and provide a monthly stipend of 80,000 yen ($760).
"Drew's interest in Japan and the Japanese language has been constant and enthusiastic. I think it's wonderful that deserving students can receive this kind of financial help to travel and study abroad," says Steve Csaki, visiting assistant professor of philosophy and Japanese. "The basic necessities, primarily travel and food expenses are much more expensive in Japan than other countries, (let alone the U.S.), so extra money should make for a more enriching experience. I couldn't be happier for him."
Blanton will study in Japan during the fall term and CentreTerm, the College's three-week winter term in January.
"I knew when I came to Centre I had to study abroad," says Blanton, who has never had the opportunity to travel outside the country before. "Where else am I going to learn how to make hagiyaki (Japanese pottery) or do Japanese archery? This program is so different from anything else."
In high school, Blanton took Spanish classes but also wanted to try something different and more challenging. He began studying Japanese as a Kentucky Governor's Scholar and will complete his second year studying the language this year at Centre.
Blanton says he chose to take Japanese because, "it's a great conversation piece" and also "Steve Csaki and Yoko Saito (Centre's Japanese language assistant) are great teachers and will help you with anything."
So far Blanton has learned two different alphabets and 300 Kanji characters, which represent words, parts of words or phrases in the Japanese language.
In addition to the Japanese language, he will study Buddhism, archery, pottery, calligraphy, Japanese social issues and Japanese economics while at Yamaguchi. He'll have 12 classes over the five months.
Blanton will also live with a Japanese host family for the time he's there.
"I'm most looking forward to the interaction with my host family," he says. "I want to try to integrate myself into the culture. Centre builds a sense of camaraderie and has helped me be more social. Hopefully that will help me when I don't know what people are saying all the time, and will also help me get over the challenge of meeting new people and getting around the city."
After graduation, Blanton hopes to return to Japan to teach English as part of the Japan Exchange Teaching programme. The JET Programme works to develop understanding and build relationships between the people of other nations and the people of Japan, especially youth. JET participants spend a year in a Japanese classroom or government office to foster ties at the one-on-one level.
- end -
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422
Public Information Coordinator: Telephone 859-238-5714