Talented linguist Matthew Fairhurst, 18, has just heard that he has a place to read East Asian studies at Robertson College, Cambridge, in 2017.
Now he is concentrating on achieving the grades he needs in French, German, Latin and English literature A levels at Emmanuel College, Gateshead.
After that he is taking a year out to work as a teaching assistant in a secondary school in Santiago, Chile, with the charity Project Trust.
Matthew, of Gateshead, said: “The Project Trust came into school to talk about working abroad and they have arranged my opportunity in Chile. It is going to be incredible living and working there with its diverse climate and beautiful landscapes of coastline and mountains.
“I’ve had a really good education at Emmanuel College and I would like to give something back. They don’t have many native English-speaking teachers in Chile so I hope to be of use.
“I had planned to read Spanish at university but I think working in Chile for a year will be an even better way to learn. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m determined to make the most of it,” he added.
Matthew hopes to travel throughout South America with former Emmanuel student Liam Richardson before taking up his place at Cambridge, which will be an important step to learning Japanese.
“I have been reading literature for the past three years and found it very interesting. Having a non-European language will really open doors when I am looking for a career.”
Matthew is one of four students at Emmanuel College to secure places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities this year.