This Tiger took a leap of faith in 2004 by coming to Tiger Town as a foreign exchange student from Japan. Little did she know, this decision would lead her to find her home away from home as part of the Clemson family.

 Meet Yuki Kihara Hirose.

 Title: Study Abroad coordinator, Clemson Abroad Office

Years at Clemson: Four months in fall 2004 as an exchange student; 12 months in 2008-2009 as a graduate intern; nine months in 2009-2010 as a part-time Japanese language lecturer; four months as Clemson Abroad Coordinator.

What do I do at Clemson? I assist students within the College of Science, The College of Engineering, Computing, and Applied Sciences, the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences and the College of Education throughout their study abroad process. This includes helping students select a program, apply to a program, prepare for departure, and return back to Clemson. In addition to supporting students, I oversee our university course equivalency process (TCEL), assist with the management of our Terra Dotta software, and coordinate the Clemson Abroad course registration process.

How did I end up in Clemson from Japan? My advisor at the University of Fukui (UF), which is still an exchange partner institution with Clemson, told me that UF was in the process of creating a new partnership with Clemson and asked me if I was interested in studying at Clemson as the first exchange student. At that time, I had just come back from my eight-month stay in Montreal, Canada, where I studied English (yes, in a French-speaking area, and living with an Italian-host family), and I wanted to challenge myself further, so I jumped on the opportunity! I did not know what to expect because it was the first time I’d stepped foot on an American college campus, but I enjoyed it so much. It was so hard to keep up with classes and assignments, but I really found joy in learning and studying with students from different countries/cultures.

What I love about Clemson: I love my Clemson family! It started when I came here as an exchange student from my home university in Japan. Students, faculty and staff members and community members all love Clemson and love each other. Although Clemson is a much larger institution compared to the universities that I’ve worked in Japan, I feel the sense of family every day. In Japan, there are not many professional staff working in the field of international education unless you are in a teaching position, so as an exchange student, it was an eye-opening experience to be supported by professional staff members like international student advisors and study abroad advisors here at Clemson. During my exchange program, I was living with three American girls in Clemson House and became best friends with the roommate with whom I shared a bedroom. All these positive experiences and inspiration made me fall in love with Clemson and convinced me to come back for the second and third time.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I’m most proud of myself for making the decision to come to the U.S. and pursue my master’s degree. I made this decision because I was and still am passionate about the field of international education and there were not any similar graduate programs in Asia.

Where I see myself in five years: In five years, I see myself continuing to work within the field of international education. I’d like to further my work with the Office of Global Engagement at Clemson University.

Last thing I watched on TV: I do not have a TV in my apartment, so I generally only watch TV with my friends. The last show that my friends and I watched was Tiny House, Big Living! I really enjoy this show because I’m fascinated by the simplicity of the tiny living craze.

Guilty pleasure: Rich chocolate and red wine…together!

One thing most people don’t know about me: While I enjoy meeting and socializing with people, I’m actually an introvert who needs and appreciates time alone with books and movies.

Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at jtodd3@clemson.edu.