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Study Abroad

Meet the 2013 team!

Kelly Clancy, Program Coordinatorkellynara

This is Kelly's third year with the Rutgers-Ritsumeikan program. She is passionate about internationalizing the curriculum, and loves to give students the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Kelly's broader research focuses on Comparative Politics of Central and Eastern Europe. In this picture, you can see Kelly hanging out with the wild deer on the island of Miyajima, one of the many field excursions the class took this year in Japan. Kelly says: "This program is unlike any other exchange program at Rutgers. It gives students the chance to study politics on the ground, in a comparative setting, while making long lasting friends with students from another country and culture."










Doug Jones, Program InstructorDougwebsite

Doug Jones joins the program this year as the instructor for the Spring course. Doug's interests in Comparative Politics span the globe: he studies Middle East institutions, political parties, and social movements. He also serves as Intern Coordinator at the Center for European Studies, where he works closely with undergraduate interns and high school teams preparing for the Euro Challenge competition. Doug has been a teaching assistant for Introduction to Comparative Politics for the past three semesters. He graduated from the University of Scranton in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in international politics. Doug says: "I wanted to become part of the Rutgers-Ritsumeikan program because it's such a unique and exciting opportunity. Despite the differences between American and Japanese societies, the students and faculty will explore together something they both share: how civil society has impacted the politics of each country."



Ashley Saffold, Undergraduate Teaching Assistantashleywebsite


Ashley is a Political Science/Sociology double major. She was a student in the 2012 Rutgers-Ritsumeikan Exchange Program, and has joined the team as a teaching assistant this fall. Ashley says "I am very excited to once again be a part of this program as the TA for this year. I look forward to sharing my final semester here with the Rutgers-Ritsumeikan Program." In this picture, you can see Ashley in one of the many scenic views of Kyoto.









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What Students Say

What Rutgers Students Say

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  • "Participating in this program took me out of my comfort zone in a way that isn’t possible in one’s home country. In addition to visiting sites of cultural importance, this program also gave me a unique opportunity to visit places of social and political importance, including some like the military base in Iwakuni that would have been almost impossible to visit on my own. Perhaps even more important than the places that I was able to see were the people that I met. I was able to form long-lasting friendships with the Ritsumeikan students. Overall this program was a wonderful experience and I’m extremely glad that I was able to participate in it." -Rachel, class of 2012

  • "When I mention to people that I have studied abroad in Japan they are not only fascinated that I traveled abroad, but are also impressed that I chose a place to go such as Japan over more common areas like Europe and Australia. What I really try to convey when discussing my experiences during this trip is that I have now a connection to this country that most people cannot say when they study abroad through other programs. The Rutgers-Ritsumeikan program is unique because you meet and spend time with people from a culture so diverse from your own and in the end make friends and not just acquaintances." -Caroline, class of 2012

  • "This study abroad program was a great way to experience a new culture and get three credits at the same time. I took this trip as an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and asked a lot of questions during lecture and on museum tours and it really paid off I learned a lot. We got so much done in two and a half weeks and saw so many monuments and museums. This trip has allowed me to see just how deep the Japanese culture is. I meet really nice people and learned a lot about Japan." - Lee, class of 2012

  • "Participating in this program took me out of my comfort zone in a way that isn’t possible in one’s home country. In addition to visiting sites of cultural importance, this program also gave me a unique opportunity to visit places of social and political importance, including some like the military base in Iwakuni that would have been almost impossible to visit on my own. Perhaps even more important than the places that I was able to see were the people that I met.] I was able to form long-lasting friendships with the Ritsumeikan students. Overall this program was a wonderful experience and I’m extremely glad that I was able to participate in it." -Jamil, class of 2012

  • “The political side of the trip gave me the chance to compare governmental initiatives. Riding the bullet trains and seeing Braille paths in all major public areas inspired my political thinking and made me think about how these concepts could be applied in America… I would never have understood the impact of such projects had I not visited Japan.” - Peter, class of 2010

  • “Having the ability to ask Japanese citizens about their country opened our eyes to just how incredibly vital it is to get an in-depth perspective on situations.” - Simon, class of 2009

  • “The combination of relationship building, scholarly endeavors, and long distance traveling is priceless. I have remained in close contact with many of the students from Ritsumeikan, and plan to revisit Kyoto in the near future. Prospective employers are curious and impressed at the amount of hard work and time I devoted to the program.”- Nichole, class of 2010

What Ritsumeikan Students Say


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  • "I learned a lot and had a great time. What I liked best about this program is buddy system. It’s great system to learn together I think!"
  • "I really enjoyed the program! Rutgers, thank you for your support!"
  • I went to the restaurant you recommended and ate a cheese burger. It was so delicious." (coordinator's note: this is how we know the program is worthwhile!)











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2013 Program

Special Topics in Comparative Politics: US and Japanese Civil Society

 

japan gate pictureWhat is the class like?

Each year, the faculty at Rutgers and Ritsumeikan choose a topic for the class that is relevant to today's political climate. The 2013 topic is civil society. The class will consider questions such as the relationship between civil society and the state, the strength of modern civil society in the two countries, and the importance of civil society to domestic and international social movements. The class will have the opportunity to visit a variety of NGOs in the US and Japan to observe first-hand the functioning of civil society.

In the spring, students register for 790:389 Topics in Comparative Politics: U.S. and Japanese Civil Society, Part I (3.0 credits, M/W 5:35-6:55 PM). In the summer, students register for 790:389 Topics in Comparative Politics: U.S. and Japanese Civil Society, Part II (3.0 credits, M/W 5:35-6:55 PM). Students also have the option of completing an independent study in the summer for an additional 3 credits.

What will we read? Where will we go?

This website will be updated as the syllabus and schedule for 2013 is finalized, so stay tuned!

Who's who in 2013?

Click here to meet the staff and instructors for 2013!




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Previous Programs

senator inouye2012 Program: Social Movements

The class of 2012 studied comparative social movements. In the spring, we took a variety of field excursions. On the trip to Washington, D.C. the class met with Senator Inouye, visited the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and toured the DC Monuments. We also took a trip to Newark Community Solutions to see how alternative sentencing worked under Cory Booker's administration. In New York City, the class took a walking tour of famous social movement sites in Greenwich Village, and surveyed people in NYC about their attitudes towards social movements.

In Japan, the class took a visit to the US military base at Iwakuni to study the anti-base movement in Japan. We also visited the Azoura Foundation, an air pollution NGO, to learn about the environmental movement. We visited Hiroshima to see where the atomic bomb was dropped and visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum to the Atomic Bomb. On our trip to Tokyo, we visited the U.S. Embassy and the Yukushan Shrine and Yasukuni War Museum to learn about the nationalist movement there.


2011 Program: Environmental Policy

In 2011, the class studied Environmental Policy. In the US, trips included the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, GreeNYC, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. We also took a walking tour of the historical sites of Central Park.


2010 Program: Immigration Policy

In 2010, we visited numerous Immigration NGOs such as the Boaz Community Center of New Brunswick, as well as the Tenement Museum in NYC and Ellis Island.




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