Shin Takeda was one of the executive students at BridgeEnglish Denver for the past several months. Indeed, the publishing executive finally said his teary goodbyes to us all June 22nd when he graduated. Shin had become a friend to all and was well known for the ever-present fedora on his head and his hipster style. You would catch Shin during breaks outside chatting with the other students, talking about what happened last weekend or what everyone was doing the coming weekend. He was definitely part of the social circle at BridgeEnglish Denver. If there was a party, you could be sure that Shin was there. But Shin was also a hard worker and his English had gotten so good that sometimes I forgot he was from Japan. We all miss him so much. Here is a little more information about the coolest kid in school.
AB: Shin, can you tell me more about yourself and your background?
ST: I am from Tokyo, Japan. I studied law at Kokugakuin University. Even though I don’t want to be a lawyer, having a law degree is really important to be able to move up in the corporate world and get better jobs. After law school I began working for my father’s publishing company where I am an editor. I mostly edit articles and papers on medical products. In my free time, I love to DJ at parties and at clubs. I am really into music.
AB: Tell me about your previous experience learning English.
ST: In Japan we study English from junior high through high school and then for the first two years at university. The English education that I received in school was not good because we never actually got the opportunity to speak English. It was all grammar. If you don’t speak it, you won’t ever learn. Where I really started to learn was when I went to London for a year after university. That was an amazing experience. I love British pop culture and the London soccer teams. I studied at a language school there and gained so much experience in English. As a matter of fact, London is where I learned to DJ.
AB: What has been the most challenging part of learning English?
ST: Listening, for sure, is the most difficult. Learning to identify liaisons is so hard because, as a non-native, I will never speak as fast as a native so learning to train my ear to understand natives has been challenging for sure. But, I definitely have improved over these last four months. Of course, I want to be a perfect listener but I know that will take time and patience.
AB: You recently participated in an activity with one of the other teachers, Carly, who is training to be an elementary school teacher here in Denver. Can you tell me about that?
ST: It was really cute because the students sent me questions about Japan and about what life is like there and I wrote to them and answered their questions. Some of the questions were really funny. They asked me what we eat besides sushi and one of them asked me if we have flat screen TV’s in Japan. I thought that was really cute because of course we do! They are made in Japan! Some other questions were what kind of clothes we wear and what we do for fun. It was a neat experience.
AB: What has been your favorite part about living in Denver and studying at BridgeEnglish?
ST: Honestly, I never expected it to be this fun. I had this image of Denver being like a rural town with cows and dirt roads everywhere but obviously it isn’t like that at all. It is a major city. So, before I came here I thought, ok, I will go to school and then come home and that will be my experience. Needless to say this experience has far exceeded all of my preconceptions and expectations. I have made so many friends here and had so much fun and I’ve seen so many cool things in Denver and Colorado. I was thinking the other night about what I am going to say at graduation and I actually started to cry because thinking about leaving all of my friends is heartbreaking. I don’t even want to imagine it. But I know I will keep in touch with them no matter what. (Editor note: Shin managed to keep his composure during his graduation speech but broke down profusely once he started to say goodbye to everyone. We all loved him even more for that).
AB: Tell me about your host family experience.
ST: Oh my gosh. My host family is so awesome. They cook me dinner and breakfast and do my laundry. They are the best people. I have a great relationship with them. Recently, my host Mom remodeled the basement for me because she had other students coming to live in the house, so she needed to make more room. She said to me that no matter who comes to stay there, and no matter how many other students stay in my room after I leave, my room will forever be called “Shin’s room.” It was so special.
AB: Lastly, would you recommend Bridge to other people looking to further their English education?
ST: I would without a doubt recommend Bridge to people. First of all, it is located in Denver, which is a great city and it’s not a huge city like New York, so it isn’t intimidating. Denver is a very safe city and clean and the people are friendly. Bridge is a great place to study. The teachers, well, what can I say about the teachers except…they are awesome! They really want us to learn and make classes entertaining. But most of all, they become our friends, our close friends. I love hanging out with the teachers for happy hours and doing activities with them like going to sporting games or museums. They are the best! Also, meeting different people from all over the world, hearing different accents and learning about different cultures has been really cool. Man! I am going to miss it so much!