Claire Huitt, Class of 2017


Political Science, Public Policy, and Economics majors


Claire spent 4 weeks in Nishinomiya studying Political Economy of East Asia and International Relations of East Asia. She took classes at Kwansei Gakuin University (KGU) which is right outside of Osaka. One of the unique things about Claire’s summer abroad was that she took classes with not only other SMU students but also Japanese students that are getting their degrees at KGU. During her trip, she traveled with her group to Kyoto and visited the Toyota Motor Corporation and factory.

During her time in Nishinomiya, she stayed with a host family. On her birthday her family threw her a birthday party, and she even went to an American football game at a high school with them. She loved to spend her free time on the Suma Beach and cook with her host mom.


After she finished her classes at KGU, she traveled to Toyko to conduct research on politics of East Asia. Claire’s research is an analysis of the conflicts in the South and East China Seas as they pertain to the triangular relationship between China, Japan, and the United States. Asia’s Contested Waters is Claire’s Engaged Learning Fellowship, Hamilton Research, and Distinction in Political Science.

You can check out more about her research, her summer, and see more of her photos on her blog, Asia’s Contested Waters.

While you’re in Nishinomiya, Claire says you should check out Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Station which has a ton of cool Japanese restaurants nearby. Also, if you have free time you should visit Osaka Castle and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple & Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto.


You can learn more about SMU-in-Japan here.



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