Physically challenged Ishikawa enters Okinawa International University for her new dreams

Physically challenged Ishikawa enters Okinawa International University for her new dreams

Marika Ishikawa looks forward to learning new things at her university.

March 8, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

An eighteen-year old senior student of Awase special-needs school, Marika Ishikawa, passed the entrance exam for the Department of British and American Language and Culture, College of Global and Regional Culture at the Okinawa International University. Ishikawa is quadriplegic due to cerebral palsy. From her neck down, she only has movement in her right hand, but she can move her thumb well enough to use a tablet computer. She expects her new phase of life to bring new perspectives and opportunities; “Although my current dream is to be a translator, I would like to find new dreams through the widened perspective college life will give me.” Ishikawa became interested in English listening to English songs in her class when she was in the second grade. She started to listen to her favorite singers’ songs and to type English words on the tablet devise to learn the language. After continuing these efforts, she passed the pre-level 2 English Language Proficiency test in June, 2016. Ishikawa started to look into studying at college in her first year in the high school program, and she visited open campus events and spoke to senior students who studied at universities while dealing with the same condition as her. She shared her passion for university at the interview to make her dream come true to enter the college.

Her 49-year old mother, Misayo, surprised by the good news, said, “She was a child who did not like studying at all.” She says of her daughter’s next step, “I hope she will be considerate of others and make good friends.”

Ishikawa will receive assistance to commute to school. She also plans to receive assistance from the university during classes, but the support will be limited to only about twice per week. Ishikawa requested both her university and Ginowan city office provide more support for her solo study. She received a positive answer from the university saying the school will secure the budget and consider the request.

Ishikawa is excited to begin her campus life in April, “There is a lot to look forward to.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)  

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