Gladstone girl off to Japan with language prize
KAILEE Butcher always wanted to go to Japan, but she didn't think it would happen this soon.
The 16-year-old Rockhampton Girls Grammar School boarding student is one of only two winners of the 2017 Iwasaki Sangyo program presented by The Iwasaki Foundation, the prize of which is spending a month in Japan.
Kailee is originally from Gladstone and moved to Rockhampton for school at the start of last year.
The Year 11 girl received this award for outstanding performance in Japanese language study.
The award brings with it a one-month scholarship in a Japanese school, Shigakukan Junior High School in the Kagoshima region.
"I'm very proud of the achievement," she said.
"Never in a million years I thought I'd be able to spend a month in Japan living there."
There was fierce competition across all of central Queensland but Kailee's hard work paid off.
"Good marks were just part of it," she said.
Kailee had to supply a written application, with 1000 words in English and 500 words in Japanese, as well as undertaking a phone interview with a panel of four judges.
The daughter of a Queensland Alumina Limited supervisor in Gladstone, Kailee has been studying Japan's language and culture for four years and has stuck at it with determination.
Kailee aspires to become an astrophysicist and wants to study at a Japanese university and move to the country to live permanently.
"I want to work at a particle accelerator that's in Japan one day," she said.
"Working there is my main goal and I'll use my knowledge of Japanese to get there."
It's not just academia she's interested in however, and plans to make the most of her free time there.
"Japan is such an interesting culture," she said.
"It's a mix of modern and traditionalist culture, the landscapes are so beautiful and I can't wait to see them."
During her month's stay, she will integrate into the Japanese school system while staying with a local family and use the opportunity to learn all the subtle details of the spoken language.
Her language teacher, Nicole Graham, was delighted at her student's achievement and stressed the importance and honour such an award brought.
"This competition was held throughout Queensland and only two people were chosen," she said.
"It's not to be considered lightly and it's a real honour and she's been very clever to reach this far."