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Regarding the editorial “Don’t be shy about study abroad“: I feel student hesitation to study abroad may be due to fear — fear of crime (especially in the United States), communication, medical treatment and food.

In the U.S., there are many Japanese-speaking “nikkeis” and Japanese American families willing to welcome a student from Japan. But where does one look? In Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, the Web site http://www.janet.org is a good source. Also, nationwide, there is http://www.jacl.org. Or try the Japanese American Citizen League. Yes, members of these organizations and their affiliates read, write and speak Japanese fluently. It’s advised, though, not to Google an application to a Japanese host family, as I hear of some pretty frightening experiences.

Also, check with the embassy of the country in which you wish to study, because they too may have some good leads. Study abroad is an opportunity of a lifetime. You shouldn’t miss it. Just plan ahead and be prepared.

t. mamoru hanami

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