Japanese Student Overcomes Language Barriers


When high school seniors imagine going off to college, many think about moving to another city or even another state.  But for Southeast student, Takuro Yamada, his vision was to travel across continents.  Takuro is originally from Saitama, Japan, and will graduate in December with a degree in health management and athletic training.

After finishing high school in Japan, Takuro decided his next adventure in life would take place on the Southeast campus.  He says it was difficult the first few months living at Southeast, and the language barriers were the biggest adjustment.

 “I didn’t know anyone when I first came to Cape, and I could not speak English very well,” Takuro said.  “It was scary and exciting all at the same time because everything was new to me, but it was hard to communicate with people.”

 But Takuro didn’t let anything hinder his efforts to meet new people and develop good relationships with his professors.  Takuro says he feels Southeast has really contributed to his success as a student by providing him the opportunity to take part in clinical training and an internship with the Orthopedic Center of the Rockies (OCR) in Fort Collins, Colo.

“I learned a lot of knowledge through my classes and clinical experiences,” he said.  “But I also learned some great people skills from the clients I’ve assisted.”

Takuro’s experience at OCR took him to new frontiers because the center covers the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyo.  While attending the rodeo, Takuro says he learned spineboarding, along with evaluating and treating various injuries.

“My supervisor from OCR allowed me to do a lot of things in my internship that provided good learning opportunities and experience,” he said.  “I was able to apply my knowledge to practical situations and receive hands-on training experience in the process.”

In addition to his internship, Takuro’s clinical training has allowed him to work with area high school students, rehabilitation clinics in Cape Girardeau, outpatient rehabilitation clinics through area hospitals, and Southeast’s gymnastics, women’s basketball, cross-country and track teams.  This semester, he is working with the Southeast football team.

When Takuro isn’t working hard in the classroom or with athletes, he enjoys playing the guitar and spending time with his friends, especially when it involves playing sports.  He is an avid soccer player and played for 12 years while living in Japan.  He also says he enjoys skiing, and has traveled to Colorado and Utah to try out the slopes.  Eventually, he plans to visit other ski resorts in the states.

Takuro says he would eventually like to attend graduate school, but he has not decided where just yet.  He wants to be a certified athletic trainer after graduation and work in the sports medicine field.  Takuro says he enjoyed the rodeo experience and would enjoy working in it again because of what he learned through his internship.

After traveling half way across the world to go to college, Takuro has experienced some memorable moments at Southeast.  He says his best advice to future students is to get involved.

 “Whether you have a good experience or a bad experience at Southeast totally depends on you,” he said.


Crisp Hall 132
College of Health & Human Services
One University Plaza, MS 8000
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701