Community Student Salutes Uncategorized

More Than Just a Haircut!

By Risa Okayama, TLC Marketing Intern


Hello to Everyone! My name is Risa and I am from Japan. I was a student at TLC in 2015.
After studying with TLC for a few months, I went to the University of Central Oklahoma to study marketing. Recently, I graduated from UCO with my Bachelor’s in Business Administration. I am back at TLC for my OPT to get some more experience as a marketer!

Today, I would like to share a story about a decision to cut my hair. It’s not just about getting a haircut. It’s about people and showing support to those in need.

Do you know anyone who has cancer?

The decision to donate my hair was inspired by my favorite celebrity, Mao Kobayashi, who passed away almost a year ago because of breast cancer. That was very shocking to me because she was a successful, young woman and mother.  I could not stop crying on that day.

While she was fighting against cancer, she wrote blogs in order to share her cancer life. She inspired not only me, but also those who have a cancer.

On her blog, she wrote posts about what she would like to do with her kids after she was cured of cancer, what kinds of medications she had,  and how she spent her days living with cancer… etc

Reading her blog posts was very heartwarming and it showed me how precious life and family should be considered. It was very brave of her to be so transparent about her illness because this is not commonly discussed in my culture.

In addition, my Japanese friend who studied interior design in Canada had to go back to a county because she was diagnosed with cancer. This happened when she was only 20.

She and I were good friends when we were in Japan and we spent time together a lot.
I felt so sad and scared because she is my age and someone I know personally. It was a difficult reminder that life is short and it does not always go according to our plan.

My fear turned into determination when I realized how hard my friend has been fighting against cancer.  I started thinking…What can I do for cancer patients? How can I show my support?

I started to research after Mao’s untimely death. I found out that I could donate my hair to cancer patients in the U.S.A.

Here are some rules that I had to follow if I wanted to donate my hair:

  1. Must be at least 8 inches (20 centimeters)
  2. Not dyed
  3. Gray hair should be less than 5 % of your hair

Here is more detailed information about donating your hair from Pantene.

Fortunately, my hair was long enough to donate and I do not dye my hair.

Many of my friends told me that I should not cut my hair because it is difficult to grow hair that long. After all, My hair was past my waist! However, I had to instead think about how hard it is for cancer patients to grow hair.  Some of them cannot even grow hair back because of cancer treatments that they have, like chemotherapy.  So, I decided to donate, no matter what people told me.

And yes, I did donate 8.5 inches!


Your hair can encourage cancer patients.

Please consider donating your hair next time you get a haircut! It could bring hope to someone fighting cancer in your community! I hope my story inspired you!

For more information about Mao’s courageous and highly influential journey, visit BBC News.

Studying Abroad With TLC: Youhei’s Story TLC 語学留学:陽平の留学物語

Interview by Risa Okayama, TLC Alumni and Intern

Risa is completing her degree in Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) at TLC Host Campus, University of Central Oklahoma

Hello! I’m Risa Okayama from Japan. I’m a former TLC student and gladly, I’m doing an internship with TLC. I had an opportunity to have an interview with a former, Japanese, TLC student, Youhei Shimozaki. He was studying English at TLC a few years ago and he’s a graduate student now! He wants to share his experience at TLC with you. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, please don’t miss the opportunity!


Q&A for Youhei, a former TLC student

Q1: Why did you decide to study abroad in America?

A1: There is a program to be an athletic trainer that I’m interested in at UCO’s master so that’s why I chose TLC. UCO is TLC’s host campus.

Q1: アメリカ留学しようと思ったきっかけは?

A1: 夢であるATC(アスレチックトレーナー)になるため。

Q2: What are three things that you like about Oklahoma and Edmond

A2: Safe, clean, peaceful

Q2: エドモンドの好きなところを3つ教えてください

A2: 安全、綺麗、静か

Q3: Could you explain a little about your experience with your American homestay?

A3: They are warm-hearted people, sweet and good at cooking.

Q3: ホームステイはどんな人たちですか?

A3: とても暖かく、料理も美味しく、優しい、いい方々でした。

Q4: What do you think about TLC’s teachers?

A4: All teachers were nice and kind. Also, it is good that teachers are different by the level. I learned more about knowledge at the high level and teachers gave me motivation for studying when I was at the low level.

Q4: TLCの先生についてどうおもいますか?

A4: 先生は熱心で優しく、わかりやすく教えてくれます。クラスのレベルにより先生が違うのは良いことだと思います。上位のレベルのクラス先生がたには多くの知識を学び、下位のクラスの先生には学ぶモチベーションを与えてもらったと思います。

Q5: Where were your classmates from?

A5: Vietnam, China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Columbia, and Portugal.

Q5: クラスメートはどこの国出身ですか?

A5: 主に韓国、ベトナム、中国で他に少数派としてサウジアラビア、ポルトガル、コロンビアです。

Q6: What’s your main source of transportation in Edmond?

A6: When I was with a homestay, it was a car and a bicycle. (I just recommend you use the bicycle around UCO campus)

Q6: 主な交通手段は?

A6:  ホームステイ先の送り迎えと自転車です。(大学周辺以外での自転車はオススメしません)

Q7: What were you most surprised when you came to America?

A7: Refill service at a restaurant and paying with a credit card for splitting the check

Q7: アメリカに来て一番驚いたことは?

A7: 飲食店でのリフィルサービスとクレジットカードでの割り勘

Q8: What are three big differences between America and Japan?

A8: I learned the importance of telling my feeling and appreciation directly to people

Q8: カルチャーショックはありましたか?あったとしたらどんなことでしたか?

A8: 日本よりも家族を大切にすることをダイレクトに表すことで、感謝や自分の気持ちをちゃんと口に出す大切さを知れました。

Q9: Have you eaten any “American food”?

A9: I have. I’ve eaten Mexican food, Tacos, and Nachos, which I hardly can find it in Japan.

Q9: 日本でいうようなアメリカンフードは食べましたか?

A9: 基本、いろんなもん食べてます。日本であまり食べないもので食べてるのはタコスやナチョスなどのメキシカン料理です。

Q10: What was your English level when you arrived at U.S.?

A10: My score was 48 for TOEFL-PBT and 550 for TOEIC. These scores were same as around a level 6 of TLC. I wasn’t good at speaking at all.

Q10: アメリカに来た当初の英語のレベルは?

A10: TOEFL-PBTが48、TOEIC550くらいだったはずです。ほとんど喋れてないです。

Q11: What’s the difference between American English education and Japanese English education?

A11: A grammar class is easy in U.S. However, listening and writing are the hardest parts. U.S. English education is more focused on writing and grammar. To improve listening and writing skills, it is important to talk with American friends outside of a class.

Q11: アメリカと日本の英語教育の違いは?

A11: アメリカでの文法の授業は本当に簡単です。ただしリスニングやライティングは日本で相当やってなければかなりキツく、スピーキングはまず無理です。ただし、アメリカでは文法とライティングを叩き込まれるので、しっかり授業外でネイティブの学生や友人と話すことが大切です。

Q12: What is the best thing of TLC?

A12: They offer specialized classes of TOEFL and IELTS at TLC and their teachers are excellent. Also, teachers made time for answering my questions and practicing interviewing with me so, they were really flexible.

Q12: TLCのベストな事は?

A12: TOEFLとIELTSに特化したクラスがあり、その先生が非常に優秀です。またクラス外での質問や放課後にクラスを開いてもらったり、面接のために個人のクラスを作ってもらったりと非常に融通が効きました。

Q13: Do you recommend TLC? If so, why? Or if not, why not?

A13: I recommend Japanese to come to TLC because there are many kind and dedicated teachers.

Q13: TLCを留学を考えている日本人におすすめしますか?

A13: 優しい先生に熱心な先生が多くオススメです。

It is important to note that Oklahoma education accredidation requires international students to meet at least a minimum TOEFL score and complete at least 12 weeks of English practice in the upper levels of TLC’s program. It is recommended to finish level 9 at TLC and if doing Graduate studies, to complete APL. Many of TLC’s other partner schools will accept completion of TLC’s level 9 Intensive Program or Business English Program in place of a TOEFL score. If you have any additional questions about TLC’s university partners or studying abroad with The Language Company, please let us know by emailing Share your academic goals with TLC before you even arrive and we will help to counsel you to prepare for the most appropriate academic path.



Home Away From Home: 聖輝のホームステイ経験談


Home Away From Home: Masaki’s Homestay Experience

Interview and photos by Risa Okayama, TLC Alumni and Intern

Risa is completing her degree in Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A) at TLC Host Campus, University of Central Oklahoma


Q&A for Ann, TLC Homestay Mom

Why did you decide to be homestay? I wanted to give my children the opportunity to get to know students from different countries. I wanted my children to appreciate all the different cultures of the world.



How long have you been doing homestay? I have been doing homestay for 18 years.



What is the best part of living with international students? I would say my favorite parts are getting to know the different personalities of the students and the differences in their cultures.




What would you say to international students who are interested in living with an American family? It is very important because being a part of an American family is the only way to truly practice conversational English, and feel like they can fit in while in this culture.



From your perspective, what is the benefit of living with homestay? I think the constant interactions with the American family and extended family members is the biggest benefit to the international student.



What are the different nationalities that you have hosted? I have hosted students from Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Venezuela, Africa, and Vietnam.



What have you learned from hosting internationals? I have learned how similar they are to American kids in the way they like to have fun, learn, and joke around. I have learned how it feels to be loved and considered a mom to so many young adults from different countries.





Q&A for Masaki, TLC and JCFL Japanese student

What do you like the most about living with homestay? My homestay always takes me to the lake and theaters during weekend.




Do you think it is helpful to learn and develop your English by living with a homestay? Why or why not? I think it is helpful, especially to improve your listening because I hear English every day and my homestay talks fast and with a lot of energy in English. Therefore, when I talk with other people now, I can catch English much better.




What kinds of activities have you had with your homestay so far? I have been here almost two months and I have enjoyed doing Summer activities like having a BBQ, Kayaking, and sailing at the lake with my homestay.




What surprised you the most about living with an American Family? My homestay doesn’t care about little things. When I came to her home, I expected to have many rules, but she just expects me to keep my room clean.



Do you enjoy American food? What is your favorite American dish? I enjoy steaks, lasagna, diamond tea, cereal, and hotdogs.



What has surprised you about American culture? American people respect and practice their religion very openly. My homestay has prayer before every meal.



Would you consider your homestay a home away from your home? Yes, Ann and Gary welcomed me as one of their family members.




Sample American Homestay


Note to Readers: This is just a sample homestay. Each home may vary. Required services, accommodations, and policies for homestay are published on TLC’s website. TLC has many experienced homestays and homestay is available at each TLC location.







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