Dushaun Thompson

Dushaun in Japan
CAS '24
SA: Hitotsubashi University
Semester Abroad (SA)


  • SA: Hitotsubashi University

Ask me about...

  • My identity as a Japanese-proficient Black American studying in Japan.
  • Understanding how you are perceived while studying abroad.

  • Pursuing International Studies and Law abroad.

My Experience Abroad:

I took many classes in international politics and legal systems centering on the Asia-Pacific while studying at Hitotsubashi. While I had taken and enjoyed similar classes at Penn prior, learning about the history and relationships of these countries while being able to hear perspectives from people who regularly resided in those countries truly opened my eyes to the complexity and intrigue of international studies. Not limited to just a Japanese perspective, but South Asia, Central Asia, and Pacific Island nations' affairs and perspectives were considered and were represented by students in the classes. As an aspiring lawyer, getting to understand these layered topics with centuries of history from a multifocal lens was undoubtedly a worthwhile experience. My time there encouraged me to pursue international studies even further with the time that I have left at Penn.

Other Highlights:

  • My favorite town was Nikko, located a fair distance north of Tokyo in the Tochigi prefecture. It's a nature-lover's paradise; mountains, waterfalls, a world heritage site, beautiful shrines, and the stunning Shinkyo Bridge. 

  • Experiencing New Years at the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, doing traditional New Years rituals like hatsumode and omikuji, and enjoying classic Japanese food like takoyaki and yakiniku from yatai.

  • Visiting Kumamon and the One Piece statues in Kumamoto.

  • Frequenting karaoke and arcades with friends, especially if I missed the last train back to the dormitory. 

  • Going to live concerts of my favorite Japanese bands and artists.

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