Bridging learning and cultural exchange

Studying abroad can have immeasurable effects on students’ lives. Maurice (BA’54, LLB’55, LLD’02) and Tamako Copithorne understand firsthand the value of international learning experiences.

As students from Canada and Japan, they met by participating in exchange programs.

After graduation, Dr. Copithorne’s 30-year career in the Canadian Foreign Service took them to countries around the globe including Iran, Malaysia, the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong. Serving as the Canadian Ambassador to Austria and UN Agencies in Vienna – a place where they explored their passion for music and Austrian culture – was a particularly transformative experience.

The Copithornes wanted to provide UBC School of Music students with similarly inspiring opportunities and established a scholarship to support study abroad. They named it in honour of friends Joseph and Melitta Kandler as a tribute to the Kandlers’ commitment to music and to fostering enduring cultural and economic ties between Canada and Austria.

Since 2008, five students have benefitted from the Joseph and Melitta Kandler Scholarship for Advanced Study in Music, travelling to key musical centres to pursue music training and research. 2012 recipient Roydon Tse (BMus’13) travelled to Waterville, Maine to participate in the internationally acclaimed Atlantic Music Festival (AMF). Tse studied with guest composers from The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music. He also had the opportunity to write and premiere a new chamber work for the AMF contemporary ensemble.

“Maurice and I benefitted by travelling to other countries and experiencing different cultures,” says Mrs. Copithorne. As the first Japanese exchange student from Keio University to attend UBC, she relied on scholarships during the difficult economic times following World War II.

“That bridging is so important and it cannot be ignored,” she says. “This scholarship is an important mechanism to help students realize their dreams.”