College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

History Major Studies Abroad to Gain a Better Understanding of East Asia

Megan Petty of Pascagoula, a senior at the University of Mississippi, will spend this Christmas far from home.  On a study abroad trip in Japan since September, Petty is enrolled at Sophia University in Toyko, taking classes in history, Japanese language and comparative culture.

Her trip is made possible through an exchange program between UM and Sophia University, sponsored by the UM Study Abroad Office. She expects her exposure to the East Asian cultures will help increase her longtime interest in that part of the world.

“I hope that my stay in Japan allows me to utilize what I have learned, as well as give me a better understanding about a language and culture that has fascinated me for some time,” Petty said.

Petty plans to return to the Oxford campus in late January to complete her degree in the College of Liberal Arts. Slated to graduate in May, she is majoring in history with a minor in Japanese. She plans to incorporate the Japanese language in her future career.

“At the current time, I have no definite career plan, but I’m looking into various graduate schools for a master’s in East Asian studies, while keeping my options open,” she said. “Although I am uncertain of how, I am extremely confident that whatever path I choose will involve Japan and the Japanese language.”

Petty has taken classes in the Japanese language and various history courses about East Asia every semester since enrolling at UM, and she belongs to the Japanese Club.

“Upon my return, I hope to be a greater help to organizations such as the Japanese Club and encourage others to pursue their interests in East Asia.”

Petty says she plans to travel over the holiday break, including a visit to Kyoto, the seventh largest city in Japan. She is also looking forward to her sister’s visit and traveling with her to Mt. Fuji.

Since arriving in Japan, Petty has been keeping a travel blog to update her friends and family about her study abroad. Her blog includes videos, pictures and summaries about her trip. For updates, visit her blog at and submit comments.

Petty is a 2006 graduate of Pascagoula High School. Her parents are Glen and Ann Petty.