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Student to pursue lifelong passion for Japan

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

MIT foundation programme enables student to pursue lifelong passion for Japan

Sean Tangiiti has always been absolutely fascinated with the Japanese language and culture and he says that the semester he spent at Manukau Institute of Technology’s School of Foundation Studies enabled him to pursue this lifelong passion.

His time at MIT not only provided Sean (18) with the foundation he needed to study Japanese at tertiary level, but it also presented him with a unique opportunity to visit the country he is so enthralled by.

The Henderson-resident, who is of Cook Island descent, completed an Advanced Certificate in Foundation Education bridging programme at MIT which has provided him with the skills he needed to enrol in the Bachelor of Arts (Japanese) degree at Unitec.

He was also one of only eight New Zealanders to receive a scholarship under the Japanese Government’s International Youth Development Exchange programme to spend three weeks in Japan in July.

Sean applied for the scholarship on the advice of Kirk Sargent, head of MIT’s School of Foundation Studies, while his lecturers at the school supported the application. “I had to write an essay to apply for the scholarship. The lecturers were a big help with that.”

While in Japan, Sean spent most of his time in Tokyo, but also visited Tottori, one of the country’s least populated regions. “With its millions of people, Tokyo was completely different from New Zealand, while Tottori was strikingly beautiful.”

The trip to Japan fuelled Sean’s love for the country’s language and culture.
“It was awesome being there and experiencing the language and culture in person, as opposed to just reading about it. We had the honour of participating in traditional rituals, such as the tea ceremony, which has not changed in over 200 years.

Sean’s interest in Japanese began at school where the language was his favourite subject. His ultimate career goal is to share his passion with others teaching Japanese in secondary school.

“But first I want to go back to Japan to work as an English teacher, once I complete my degree.”

According to Kirk, Sean is a great example of how the school provides people with the first step towards studying at tertiary level or entering the workforce. “We work closely with our students to tailor a programme that will help them achieve their particular goals.”

The school currently has 48 courses on offer, which include a core of mathematics, communication skills, and computing, with specialist streams in business studies, sciences and humanities.

“Next year we hope extend the breadth of courses to 60 to continue to meet the needs of our community,” says Kirk.


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