Eriko Parker

meI am a proud immigrant from Japan, living in my dream

At the age of 35, I have returned to a ‘student’ life and I am enjoying every single minute in this university. I have had a good career as an Educational Associate for 10 years, involved in extracurricular activities and cross-cultural language programs in schools and community. Including the experiences in Japan, I have over 19 years of experiences working with students of various ages and needs. Entering into Education program in University of Regina was another step towards my personal and professional development and pursuit of my dream, becoming an educator. After successfully completing the second year, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Eara. I have been taking a break from student life and enjoying motherhood for 7 month. However, I am still ambitious and determined ever to continue my academic career in here, University of Regina.

I was born in Yokohama city, Japan in 1977. I received good traditional public education and did well in the schools, above average, rounded in every subject. I was always involved in extracurricular activities in the schools; and there, I fostered my hard-working, perseverance attitude toward learning. I have studied English as a second language since grade 6, mainly reading and writing; however, there were limitations that could not overcome in Japan: interactions with native speakers.

With a great ambition of becoming a global citizen, I moved to Canada in the fall of 2000. I use a program called, “International Internship Programs,” which arranged a school for me to volunteer, exchanging my cultural asset to the English learning experience and I was placed in Fort Qu’Appelle, SK. The truth was that I never knew Saskatchewan existed until I received this arrangement. However, when I arrived here and stood on top of the hill of Fort Qu’Appelle, I knew that I was destined to be here. “Land of Living Sky” – I was mesmerized by the songs of wind flowing through tall grass and the endless blue sky: and the second chapter of my learning life began.

Since then, I went to Fort Qu’Appelle Elementary School every day, learning along side with students and sharing my culture as much as I could. At the age of 23, I struggled with communication for the first time, feeling frustrated and diminished; however, this experience gave me a great opportunity to live in the perspective of a person with difficulties and handicaps. Moreover, I became more patient and stronger in person. It enabled me to become more adaptable, flexible and versatile to accommodate in any situations, challenges and difficulties I encounter.
I am a member of the local theatre group, Valley Players since 2001. I proved myself as a good stage manager and a technical coordinator/operator, using my organizing skill and quick adaptation to new technology. As well, I have designed posters and publications for the group and community events.

For several years since 2000, I was focused on integrating, or it was rather assimilating myself into English speaking society. I was able to master the language well, however, I felt as if I left a part of me behind. I started teaching at Queen City Japanese School, which is non-profit heritage language school in Regina. It was about time to get in touch with my root again and I have been dedicating myself for preserving heritage language and culture to next generation of Japanese-Canadians since 2010.

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