Taka the Champion!

Thousands of students have passed through the doors of International House Newcastle and many claim it has been a life changing experience. Read more to find out about Taka the Champion!

By Caroline Preston - Academic Director

Taka the Champion! 


Thousands of students have passed through the doors of International House Newcastle and many claim it has been a life changing experience. However, in 2013 the tables were turned when a young Japanese student enrolled on a course at IH. He was to make a deep and lasting impression on all the staff who met him. Takayuki Suzuki, known as Taka, arrived in his wheelchair, having been born with congenital limb deficiency. However for Taka, at that time, his greatest hurdle was not his physical disability but the fact that he could not speak English. In Japan, Taka was already establishing himself as a successful Paralympic swimmer, having won his first gold at the Japanese Championships at the age of 16. However, Taka wanted world success and decided to set up home in Newcastle where he found an amazing swimming coach. He knew that he needed English to progress and enrolled on a General English course with the Personal Study Programme. Taka was placed in the beginners class but with the same determination that he shows in the water, he progressed to become fluent in English. Taka’s positivity and motivation set an example to all around him. He managed to combine his English studies with a gruelling training programme at Northumbria University where he went on to graduate with a degree in Sports Management. He has now moved on to study a Masters. 

Taka’s success in the pool has led to him winning a whole collection of medals from four different Paralympic games and numerous World Championships. This week we have been able to see him in action again in London in the World Championships- adding to that medal collection. 

Taka pops into see us from time to time at International House Newcastle and we all feel proud and humbled to know someone with such a positive outlook on life. 

Good luck Taka for Japan 2020 - the Paralympics on your home soil - we will be cheering you on!