Here’s why we enjoy running the uTalk Challenge, see what some our finalists said this year.

Niharika Nudurumati’s mum says her daughter put in extra hours of practice – when she was asleep!

“Sometimes when she is asleep, she sleep talks in the new language she just learnt and I would be searching upon google translate to know what she is saying,” says mum Vindhya Kothuri from Linton, Cambridge.

Niharika, we’re so proud of you! IMG_7091

While our second prize-winner Riya Sangampalayam had to fight off stiff competition from her mum as well as the other finalists.

“Our whole family has embraced the learning challenge, so much so that at some points in the journey, Riya’s mother was ahead of Riya at understanding and remembering the language,” says Riya’s dad of Kirthi of Redhill.

Very well done Riya’s mum! 

Adam Neal’s Dad says that the competition brought joy to a family member’s last days.

“I would particularly like to thank JLC for letting me use my phone to stream Adam’s semi-final for his terminally-ill Grandad to watch from his bed in his nursing home. Unfortunately, Grandad passed away on 19thOctober but I know that Adam’s performance was one of the last things that gave him real pleasure during his final days. I will treasure that forever,” says Dad Barry Neal of Ramsbottom, Lancashire.

Thank you so much for sharing this special memory with us.

For Amber Fullarton-Turner, this year’s Challenge was her third competition and second time at the final – all this for a girl who ‘felt she couldn’t achieve many things’.

“Making it to the final twice now has proven to her that she can achieve anything she puts her mind to,” says her Dad Alan Turner of Kimpton, Hertfordshire.

Amber – children like you are one of the reasons we started the competition.


Charlotte Holmes of Bramhall, Stockport has ‘loved JLC since watching her elder brother take part’ and studying for it gets a big thumbs up from her mum.

“Massively beneficial – the most constructive form of iPad time!!! Has really help Charlotte with languages in general, not just the ones she has learnt via JLC!” says Mum Michelle Holmes.

We are so with you Michelle.  Seeing children learn on their devices makes us happy too!

Finalist Eddie Hughes of Tattenhoe, Milton Keynes was egged along by his brother.

“Eddie’s older brother got very involved encouraging him during the summer, he thought the whole concept was fabulous and was a bit disappointed that there was no Challenge for 14 year olds,” says relative Elia Hughes.

Eddie, please tell your brother thanks from us and we’ll consider doing a competition for older children in the future!


Mum and Modern Foreign Language teacher, Rachel Heer, says the competition has given her son Joshua more confidence in his abilities – and has made them both laugh!

“We have had a laugh trying to find ways of remembering words!  For example, when remembering the word for ‘hand’ in Rwandan, he thinks of ‘itchy guns’ in his hand as that’s what it sounds like!” says Mrs Heer of Wynyard Woods.

A great learning strategy Joshua, thanks for sharing it!

Katy Ren of Scarborough overcame her nerves to make it to the London final says her mum.

“The night before going to Leeds to take the semi-final she was very stressful and told me she will not go to London.  I laughed and said ‘Darling, there is no-one asks you to go to London, how do you know you will win the semi-final?” And the first time I met her after she won the semi-final, I said with a smile, ‘Well done Katy, but we will not go to London as you wished’.  She was very excited and said ‘No, I will and I must go to London!’,” says Katy’s mum.

Katy, you are capable of so much more than you ever believed!

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Shenul Widanapathirana of Lower Earley, Reading was proud and surprised to get to the finals says his mum Binali.

“Shenul says it is a surprise to be in the JLC finals because he thinks he has a terrible memory.” says his mum Binali of Reading who added two smileys to her note. JJ

Shenul, you have made your mum and us both smile and your memory is clearly better than you think!

Thanks again to everyone who shared their stories with us and apologies we couldn’t include them all.  Hearing about how the competition has benefitted you gives the uTalk Team a lot of joy.




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