Monash Arts student wins second prize in 51st Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest

Third year Monash Bachelor of Arts (Japanese studies and Philosophy) student, Tian He, was selected as runner up at the 51st Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest, for his speech Decadence: A Nihilistic critique of culture.

The contest includes two stages; the Japanese Language Speech Contest Victoria at state level, where Tian won 1st prize, followed by the Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals at national level, where he came 2nd.

Vice President of the Japanese Language Speech Contest Victoria, Dr Robyn Spence-Brown, says “the Japanese Speech Contest provides a unique opportunity for students to hone their language and presentation skills, and to present their ideas to a wider community.”

Encouraging students to practice and consolidate Japanese language learning skills, contestants from both the High School Senior Division, and Open Division that Tian participated in, are challenged to produce an original speech with limited assistance from teachers and native speakers.

“As a language learner, this is one of the best opportunities to refine my speaking [and] presentation skills, and [to] listen to other passionate speakers,” Tian says.

He credits the Monash Japanese language academics and teaching staff with providing constructive feedback, and assistance to help him overcome his fear of public speaking in preparation for his speech.

“The Japanese program at Monash has always inspired us to be creative and express our area of interest through Japanese, which in my opinion, is pivotal towards the making of a coherent speech,” says Tian.

“The Japanese course at Monash has encouraged us to interact with different aspects of Japanese culture,” Tian says. “[The course] has accommodated such diversity through the teachings of various topics, including poetics, politics and pop culture.”

Immersive study experiences are also available to students, where they have the opportunity to practice with Japanese native speakers through visitor sessions and online exchange programs.

Tian describes language learning as “an essential trait if one is to pursue any career in a globalising world.”

“Apart from improved memory functions and employment opportunities, one great merit of language learning is adopting a different method of thinking,” he says.

“Studying a language equips students with problem solving skills, allowing them to envision alternative solutions in different cultural settings.

“More importantly, [studying a language teaches us] to accommodate cultural differences, not merely [by] judging [them] by pros and cons, but understanding [their] nature.”

Find out more about studying Languages at Monash