The process of selecting one student from Scotland to embark on a ‘transformative’ learning experience in Japan as the winner of the 2020 Thomas Blake Glover ASI Scholarship is about to begin.
Applications have been received, and 36 students from universities across Scotland are vying to be the next recipient of the prestigious scholarship.
For the last decade, the scholarship has been funded by Aberdeen Standard Investments to promote connections between eastern and western cultures by enabling one lucky student from Scotland the chance to experience Japanese education and business through learning language skills at a Japanese university.
2019 winner Daniel Robertson from Edinburgh spent his summer in Japan.
He said: ‘My connections and experiences on the Thomas Blake Glover Scholarship transformed my ability to speak Japanese and deepened my desire to work in Japan for a longer period.
‘Without the sponsorship of Aberdeen Standard Investments and the support of the Japan Society of Scotland, such an extended, immersive experience would be beyond me. I hope that I can continue to forge links between Scotland and Japan, both professionally and personally.’
Interest in the scholarship remains high, and applications have been received from students on a diverse range of courses from different colleges and universities right across Scotland.
Callum Farquhar, of the Japan Society of Scotland, said: ‘We have an equal mix of male and female applicants who are studying a richly diverse range of courses, including aeronautical engineering, filmmaking, cybersecurity, accountancy and theology.
‘We will begin the interviewing process in the new year and name the winner after that. The standard of entries remains exceptionally high, which reflects on the unique experience this scholarship offers, so it’s going to be a difficult task for the selection panel to pick the 2020 winner.’
The scholarship was created in recognition of the work of Thomas Blake Glover, the Aberdeenshire-born entrepreneur credited with opening Japan up to the West.
After settling in Nagasaki in 1859, Glover established an agency for his employers, the Scottish trading house Jardine, Matheson and Co. He played a critically important role in opening trade links and became known as the Scottish Samurai.
He introduced the first railway locomotive to Japan, started the Kirin Brewery and influenced the development of Mitsubishi as an industrial conglomerate. The scholarship aims to recognise these successes by providing Scottish students with the opportunity to learn about business and culture in the hope of further improving Scotland’s historic links with Japan.
The candidate interviews take place in the new year, with the winner having opportunities to gain a unique insight to the country’s business and customs. They visit Aberdeen Standard Investment’s office in Tokyo with the opportunity to visit Osaka, Japan’s commercial centre, in a programme customised to maximise business and cultural exposure by considering the successful candidate’s interests.