Yuya Takeda, Osaka, Japan
Yuya spent two years at Becker College, studying psychology and teaching Japanese language within the Becker humanities and languages department. He was also a program assistant in the Living & Learning Center for first-year interactive media design students, and he created a popular Japanese culture club for Becker students.
“It is a great cultural experience,” says Yuya about his experience at Becker College. “I have always been interested in teaching language and sharing my native culture with people who are interested.
“Living on campus feels like a village. While it has lively student vibes, it also has an environment where we can focus on study. The secure campus, academic resources, accessible professors, and motivated friends encourage my study.”
According to Yuya, the greatest difference he encountered in the American classroom is stronger, more dynamic interaction between professors and students. “I think it not only comes from a cultural difference, but also class size. Becker College provides relatively small classes, and that encourages us to be involved and engaged in class activities,” he says. “In Japan, a quiet student who does not express his opinion much, in order to avoid conflicts, is traditionally considered ‘a good student.’ Although this is gradually changing, classrooms are yet where the job of students is to receive information.”
Yuya is a natural educator. “When students really enjoy a course, even at 8:00 a.m., it is fun. Through language learning, students can also learn culture and broaden their horizons,” he says.
In 2014, Yuya collaborated with Terri Boulier ’13 (BA in psychology, honors program), on a poster presentation, and they participated in a panel discussion at the 28th Annual Conference on the Teaching of Psychology: Ideas and Innovations. In addition to the poster, Takeda and Boulier submitted a proposal describing their experiences with diversity at Becker, and were invited to be scheduled panel discussants. Also in 2014, Yuya presented “Connecting the rich cultural environment and the classroom in study abroad: Mixing explicit and implicit instruction,” at the American Association of Teachers of Japanese Annual Spring Conference.
When asked what made Becker the right fit for him, Yuya explains, “I was looking for an opportunity to expand both career and academic possibilities. To teach students who are highly motivated and interested in my culture is the biggest pleasure. To learn with those students takes me closer to my own learning goals.
“Becker College’s location, close to Boston and NYC is ideal too, since I am looking for internship and career development opportunities. I realized after arrival that Worcester has enormous opportunities and plenty of life too.”
Yuya was also invited to participate in the Global Citizenship Initiative at Becker College. He is a member of the sub-committee on Campus Culture and International Students. His service contributed to the College’s work as part of the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization Laboratory project in 2012-2013.
A graduate of Ryukoku University, in Kyoto, Japan, Yuya holds a bachelor’s degree in English and American culture, and has worked as an international student advisor. He first came to the United States in 2008, to learn English in Berkley, Calif. He also studied in Liverpool, England, and traveled to 30 countries in Europe, North America, East Asia, and South East Asia.
“I wanted to try something new, creative, and positive; it’s been amazing,” Yuya says about his decision to immerse himself in Western culture. “Becker College has a very strong sense of community and solidarity that is hard to feel at big universities. This is very inspiring and encouraging. Ever since I came here, I have felt a surprising number of times that, ‘I love my college.’”