UToledo Students Competing as Finalists in Ohio Japanese Speech Contest

March 24, 2023 | International, News, UToday, Alumni, Arts and Letters
By Kirk Baird

Two University of Toledo students studying Japanese in the World Languages and Cultures Department are competing as finalists at the 2023 Ohio Japanese Speech Contest scheduled Saturday, March 25, at the University of Findlay.

Chloe McLeod and Danica Baumert will each deliver a speech in front of a judging panel and audience at the contest, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m.

Chloe McLeod and Danica Baumert.

McLeod, a senior studying chemistry, began learning Japanese on her own about five years ago out of personal interest, she said. She took her first Japanese language course at UToledo last fall.

“Through my studies of the language, I also learned a lot about the culture, and I am now hoping to travel to Japan in the future to work or study abroad,” McLeod said. “Studying Japanese has taught me so much about how unique and interesting different languages are, and helped me to realize the passion I have for learning about other languages and cultures.”

Baumert, an Asian studies senior, has studied Japanese for more than three years at UToledo. She said her keen interest in Japanese culture and society is what inspired her desire to learn the language.

“My plans for the future after graduation seem endless, but my overall goal is to acquire a job indirectly translating Japanese movies, manga, anime, etc.,” Baumert said. “Preparing for this competition was tough. It required me to step out of my comfort zone and learn new ways to present my opinions and ideas in a second language confidently.

“I can’t thank my family, friends and other faculty members in UToledo’s World Languages and Cultures Department enough. These people encouraged me to do my best, be myself and learn what I can from this incredible experience.”

“I am extremely proud of Chloe and Danica for their outstanding achievement in becoming finalists in the Ohio Japanese Speech Contest,” said Dr. Kasumi Yamazaki, associate professor and director of the Japanese Program in the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

“This is a major milestone, and their commitment to learning the Japanese language and culture is a testament to their hard work and determination. They are exceptional role models for all students, demonstrating that, with dedication and effort, anything is possible.

“I am confident their performance will be exceptional at the upcoming final, and I look forward to seeing them continue to excel in their academic pursuits.”

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