Get out of your comfort zone – Taiwanese koshien player wins English speech contest

Get out of your comfort zone - Taiwanese <em>koshien</em> player wins English speech contest

(From right) Po-Han Chang, a sophomore at Okinawa Shogaku High School, poses for a photograph with Vice-principal Seiichiro Nashiro, after winning first place in the 29th Kyushu Regional English Speech Contest.

November 22, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 2, high-school sophomore student Po-Han Chang won first place in division 1 (non-bilingual division) of the 29th Kyushu Regional English Speech Contest held in Fukuoka. Dreaming of playing in Japan’s national high-school baseball championship known as the koshien, Chang left his home town of Taiwan last spring to attend Okinawa Shogaku High School.
Choosing “what lies beyond new challenges” as the theme of his speech, Chang spoke on studying abroad. The judges favored the incorporation of Chang’s own personal experiences in his speech.

In his oration, Chang shared his experience as an international student at Okinawa Shogaku High School. There were days he found himself wishing to return home to Taiwan, confounded by the linguistic and cultural challenges he faced in the classroom and on the field. However, he was able to overcome these difficulties, focus on baseball practice, and in July, Chang fulfilled his dream of playing in the national koshien championship as a member of the Okinawa Shogaku High School baseball team.

In his speech, titled “Get Out of your Comfort Zone,” Chang underscored the importance of taking on new challenges: “When I left my comfort zone (Taiwan) and tried something new, I was rewarded with major growth and success.”

He commented on winning first place with a sheepish grin, “I managed my busy schedule to practice [the speech], so I felt confident.” Chang revealed his next goals in fluent Japanese, “I want to contribute to the world through sports.”

A strong student and athlete, Chang plans to continue studying English, his favorite subject since he was young, as he completes his high school education with his sights set on attending college in Japan or in the U.S.

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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