Derry school girl banks top university prize

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A Derry girl has ‘banked’ top prize in a major competition to encourage more students to study Spanish.

The competition, organised by Queen’s University and Santander Universities, was won by Thornhill College student Anne Kearney, who has received a £1,000 scholarship to study Spanish at the University. Alongside her £1,000 prize, Anne also won £500 of book vouchers to support the teaching of Spanish at her school.

All A2 Spanish students who applied for a place to study Spanish at Queen’s in 2011 were invited to enter the competition by writing an essay in Spanish. Judged by Dr Jesús Fernández and Ms María José Eguskiza from the Spanish Embassy in London, the competition was open to all those applying to study Spanish at single, major or joint honours degree level at Queen’s or through one of several integrated degree pathways, including Law with Spanish, International Business with Spanish, and Accounting with Spanish.

Dr Isabel Torres, Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Queen’s School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, said: “We are delighted that Santander Universities agreed to sponsor this competition and scholarship prizes. Spanish has been taught here for over seventy years, and this competition will help us continue to attract the best students and build on Queen’s tradition of excellence in modern languages.

“We have a very strong relationship with schools across Northern Ireland and were delighted to be able to launch the scholarship competition here before extending it across the UK next year. The linguistic level of the entries was impressive, as was the breadth of topics covered - a very positive endorsement of the quality of language provision in our schools.”

Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Queen’s already has a close relationship with Santander Universities through the Santander Iberian Language Scholarship Programme. The Programme sponsors work experience placements for students in a Santander branch in Northern Ireland, after which the students have the opportunity to complete a 9-10 month internship with Santander in Spain, Portugal or Latin America. Queen’s has been part of the Santander Universities network since 2008. In that time, the University has developed a rewarding and exciting partnership with the Bank, which directly benefits students and staff and enhances international research links.