Sept. 15, 2015 - This fall, DEAF, Inc. welcomes Yuta Yoshida, our new international intern from Japan, who will be working with Sharon Applegate this fall. Yuta is a Computer Science student from Tsukuba University of Technology, in Japan (an hour north east of Tokyo). He is part of the UMass Boston’s Duskin Disability Leadership Program, a partnership of UMass Boston’s Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) and Japan’s Duskin Ainowa Foundation. The program is an intensive 5-month program for Japanese people with disabilities who want to develop leadership skills that they can bring back to Japan.
In 2014, Yuta participated in a Culture and Communication Exchange Program. He visited universities in Korea and China to learn about disability issues in different cultures. “I experienced many hardships relating to my disability… I began to think I want to learn how to overcome the disability. In America, many people have a strong identity and I thought I can learn many things from them.”
Yuta is fluent in Japanese Sign Language. He studied English, and is a fluent English reader and writer. “I have grown up surrounded by the deaf environment from my childhood. In my university, all students are deaf and most of the teachers can use sign language.” At DEAF, Inc., Yuta is learning ASL.
Yuta has been adapting to life in Boston and his work at DEAF, Inc. He spends some of his time working with receptionist Matt Kelley at the front desk in the Allston office. There Yuta practices his ASL skills greeting visitors and connecting them to staff members who can answer their questions in depth. Primarily, Yuta is focusing on projects for Sharon, including a project to interview community members and post their stories as vlogs on DEAF, Inc.’s website, www.deafinconline.org. He joins the staff for lunch and will be working with staff to meet with community members for his main project.
Of his long-term goals, Yuta says, “I want to help many people similar to me, talking about how to overcome the disability, identity and so on.” How does he like living in Boston? “I have lived in Boston only for one month… Now I’m having a good time in Boston."
Yuta’s schedule at DEAF, Inc. is still being settled, but look for him at the office and at events, like our Deaf Community Thanksgiving, this fall.