A project linking cities from around the world which share the name ‘Newcastle’ has led to a dream work placement for a Northumbria University student.

For the next year Mechanical Engineering BEng (Hons) student Christopher Brownhill will be swapping Newcastle upon Tyne for the city of Shinshiro – which translates as ‘New Castle’ – in Japan.

His placement has come about thanks to the Newcastles of the World initiative, which aims to create opportunities for education, tourism, business and culture by bringing together people from 17 towns and cities around the world whose name translates as ‘Newcastle’ or ‘New Castle’.

Among them are Neuburg-an-der-donau, in Germany; Neuchâtel, in Switzerland; New Castle, Indiana, in the USA; Nyborg, in Denmark; Nové Hrady, in Czech Republic; and of course, Newcastle upon Tyne in England – home to Northumbria University.

Through the project Christopher has secured a year-long work placement at the Japanese cutting tool manufacturing company OSG, based in Shinshiro – one of the cities which founded the Newcastles of the World initiative.

Having wanted to visit Japan for as long as he can remember, the placement is a dream come true for Christopher, who is looking forward to immersing himself in Japanese culture and learning as much as he can over the next year.

He said: “I’ve always wanted to visit Japan so when I heard there was a placement opportunity through the Newcastles of the World scheme I jumped at the opportunity.

“Everything will be completely different, but that is what appeals to me – the culture, the cuisine and of course the language. I’ve been doing my best to learn Japanese since I found out I had secured the placement.

“I’m really looking forward to just learning as much as I can and then bringing that back to Newcastle for the final year of my degree at Northumbria and my dissertation next year.”

Christopher is the first student to secure a placement through Newcastles of the World and it is hoped further international opportunities for work and study will follow in the future.

Zélie Guérin, Newcastles of the World Project Director, said: “It is tremendous that Christopher has been given this opportunity as a result of our alliance with other Newcastles around the world.

“One of the aims of the project has always been to enable connections through business and education so this placement brings those two together.”

Caroline Theobald CBE is Chair of Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School Advisory Board, as well as a Trustee of Newcastles of the World, and helped establish the relationship with OSG.

She said: “I met the team from OSG at a business seminar and they were very interested in forging links with Northumbria through Newcastles of the World.

“They are a global manufacturer and recruit some of the best graduates from around the world, so making this link with Northumbria University will benefit both organisations.

“Forging international links is very important, especially at the moment with Brexit approaching, so we’re absolutely delighted that Christopher has secured this opportunity – we’re sure the next year will be an incredible experience and one which will shape his future career.”