A Tauranga teen has her sights set on Japan after winning a full scholarship to study at a high school in Osaka.
Courtney Wright, a year 12 student at Tauranga Girls' College, applied for the scholarship to study at Osaka Kun-ei, an all-girls' school, before her exams and was excited to hear she had been accepted last week.
"I really like studying languages and I really wanted to study in Japan at a Japanese high school," Courtney said.
"A couple of my best friends are from that high school who came on an exchange here.
"I was really excited when I heard I'd been accepted, it was early in the morning and I was eating breakfast and was trying to talk on the phone to people in Japanese and talk to people around me in English."
Courtney began studying Japanese in her first year at college, frequently getting top of her class, and before that she studied Mandarin.
The scholarship would pay for Courtney's entire stay in Japan from April to December, although she would have to pay for medical insurance. She would be taking part in every day school life while at Osaka Kun-ei. "I will be doing all the normal school activities, I want to try joining a cultural club, maybe one like martial arts or a tea ceremony club, something like that."
Being in another country by herself for nine months did not phase Courtney.
"I'll cope pretty well at the start, I don't get home sick or anything. I think I'll probably be too busy to to think about it too much, I can always Skype my parents if I miss them.
"My family are fine with me going, it's a good excuse for them to go on holiday and come visit me."
Courtney said she knew about five girls in the area and had also received invitations to visit from other students around Japan who had studied at Tauranga Girls' College.
"It will be nice to travel around the country but I don't know if I will be able to do that. We're allowed a three-day holiday which is when my parents are hoping to visit. We will probably do the Tokyo Disneyland thing while they're over."
Although she had not yet worked out the finer details, Courtney would likely go straight into university after returning from her time in Japan. "I've done Level 2 but don't think I'll be doing Level 3. Sometimes universities will let you in just with Level 2 if you've been overseas, so I'm hoping I can go straight into uni.
"I'll be here for a term next year so I'll get a few credits but I hope I don't have to come back to school after I return from Japan because all my friends will already be at university."
She wanted to study both Japanese and computer science and hoped to get an IT job when she graduated.