World Campus, College of Education student comes from Japan for commencement

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Education has been able to help students from around the world to increase their knowledge through its partnership with Penn State World Campus. This year, one student who lives in Japan and took classes online will travel to University Park to celebrate commencement.

Hiroko Takano, a junior high teacher who has been teaching English in Japan for 20 years, said she is excited to take part in an American university’s commencement. She will graduate with an master's of education degree in curriculum and instruction -- children’s literature.

“I have watched American university graduations on television,” said Takano. “I would like to experience commencement with the cap and gown. It will be my first time wearing it.”

Prior to her courses at Penn State, Takano studied American and English literature and earned her first master’s degree from a graduate school in Japan. She chose Penn State after she received some advice from one of her graduate school teachers who suggested distance learning.

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t feel the necessity to earn a second master’s degree, but World Campus offered a number of positives,” said Takano. “First, I can learn American literature at an American university. Second, I will get an M.Ed., which I don’t have. Third, I am a mother and a teacher in Japan so it would have been difficult to go to America to study. However, if I used an online program, I wouldn’t need to go to America. It was very convenient.”

Takano enjoys exploring children’s literature in her courses.

“I am very interested in children’s literature,” said Takano. “Each class was very attractive. The books that my teachers introduced us to were wonderful. I read many great children’s books, and they were useful to deepen my understanding about children’s literature.”

Another plus in her online courses was her teachers and her classmates.

“I learned a lot from good teachers and nice classmates. I had a great opportunity to learn American culture from them,” said Takano. “I also had the opportunity to meet foreign students. I had one Ukrainian classmate and one Chinese classmate.”

Through World Campus, the College of Education offers four master’s degrees, including adult education, educational leadership and educational technology. It also offers nine certificate programs, including applied behavior analysis (ABA), educating individuals with autism, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) and family literacy.

“Commencement means ‘the beginning of something,’” said Takano. “I would like to participate in my commencement and make it my new starting point.”

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Last Updated December 18, 2013