Aberdeen student to follow Far East adventure

Aberdeen student to follow Far East adventure

A University of Aberdeen student will travel to the Japanese city of Nagasaki after winning a prestigious scholarship to undertake a research trip.

Tanita Maxwell, a former St Machar Academy pupil, is the 16th student to be selected for the Thomas Blake Glover Scholarship, supported by the University and the Rotary Club of Aberdeen Balgownie.

The 23-year-old will travel to Japan on Monday (August 13) where she will spend three weeks living with several Japanese families of Rotarians, meeting local students and the business community.

Tanita won the scholarship after an interview by a panel of five judges where she had to demonstrate her passion for the north-east.

She said: “I will be acting as an ambassador for Aberdeen and will share the experiences of the Granite City with those in Nagasaki.

“I was born and raised here, attending Kittybrewster Primary and then St Machar and I chose to stay for my higher education as I love the city and the University.

“I did an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Gender Studies in 2010 and then went on to do a Master’s degree in Gender and Violence. I’m now studying for a PhD in Sociology.

“I’ve had such a fantastic time in Aberdeen so it will be great for me to share that experience.”

The Thomas Blake Glover Scholarship was established in 1996 in memory of the entrepreneur born in Aberdeenshire in 1838. Glover settled in Nagasaki in 1859 and played a critically important role in opening Japan to the west.

Tanita said: “I now live in the Bridge of Don quite close to Thomas Glover House and I’ve enjoyed finding out more about him.

“When I attended the interview for the scholarship it was in front of a panel of five people so it was very nerve wracking.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got the email saying I’d been successful – I think I screamed when I opened it!”

Tanita, who has worked part-time as a support worker in the women’s unit at Craiginches Prison and in an administrative role at the Criminal Justice Social Work Office during her studies hopes to go to work in the voluntary sector.

She will use the trip to research and compare how charities in Aberdeen and Nagasaki have been affected by the global recession. Tanita will then make a presentation to the Rotary Club on her findings when she returns.

She added: “I’ve always been interested in Japan and Japanese culture so I can’t wait to get across there. I’ve travelled a lot with various University societies which means I’m confident about travelling alone.

“Although I’ve always lived in Aberdeen, I find that when you come back to the city after experiencing other places you see it through fresh eyes. It is like rediscovering Aberdeen and you really appreciate what a great place it is to live.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity as it is not something I’d ever have been able to do without the scholarship.”