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Exploring East Asian Studies at Cornell University

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a male student looking at the camera

Exploring East Asian Studies at Cornell University

Are you interested in learning more about East Asian cultures, history, and contemporary issues? Cornell University’s East Asian Studies program offers a comprehensive curriculum and a supportive community for students passionate about exploring this exciting field. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at what the East Asian Studies program at Cornell entails and why it’s worth considering for your academic pursuits.

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Introduction to East Asian Studies at Cornell University

Cornell’s East Asian Studies program covers the study of China, Japan, and Korea, focusing on language, literature, history, politics, and culture. The program offers both a major and a minor, allowing students to tailor their studies to their interests and career goals. The program provides students with the opportunity to develop language skills, engage with interdisciplinary coursework, and pursue research and study abroad experiences.

One unique aspect of the East Asian Studies program at Cornell is its emphasis on interdisciplinary coursework. Students have the opportunity to take classes in a variety of departments, including history, literature, government, and anthropology, allowing them to gain a well-rounded understanding of East Asian cultures and societies.

In addition to coursework, the program also offers a variety of extracurricular activities and events, such as guest lectures, film screenings, and cultural festivals. These events provide students with the opportunity to engage with East Asian cultures outside of the classroom and to connect with other students who share their interests.

History of East Asian Studies Program at Cornell

The East Asian Studies program was founded at Cornell in 1947, making it one of the oldest and most distinguished programs in the United States. The program has since expanded to include a wider range of coursework, faculty, and research areas. Today, Cornell’s East Asian Studies program is recognized for its excellence in scholarship, language education, and engagement with East Asian communities and cultures.

Over the years, the East Asian Studies program at Cornell has produced many notable alumni who have gone on to make significant contributions in various fields. Some of the program’s alumni include former U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, and renowned author and historian, Iris Chang. The program continues to attract talented students from all over the world who are interested in studying East Asia and its diverse cultures.

The Importance of Studying East Asia in Today’s World

East Asia is a region of immense cultural and economic significance in today’s globalized world. Understanding the histories, politics, and cultures of China, Japan, and Korea is essential for careers and research in fields such as international relations, business, academia, diplomacy, and more. Studying East Asia also allows for a deeper appreciation and understanding of diverse perspectives and experiences in the world.

Moreover, East Asia is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and technological advancements. By studying East Asia, individuals can gain insights into the innovative practices and emerging trends that are shaping the world’s future. Additionally, learning about East Asia’s environmental challenges and sustainability efforts can inspire individuals to take action toward creating a more sustainable future for all.

Faculty and Staff in the East Asian Studies Department at Cornell

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The East Asian Studies program at Cornell boasts a highly accomplished and diverse faculty with expertise in a wide range of disciplines and fields. Faculty members are actively engaged in research and scholarship, and bring their expertise to their teaching in the classroom. Additionally, the program’s supportive staff provides invaluable support and resources for students throughout their academic journey.

One of the unique aspects of the East Asian Studies program at Cornell is the opportunity for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects. Many faculty members are actively seeking undergraduate research assistants, and students have the chance to gain hands-on experience in their field of interest. This experience can be invaluable for students pursuing graduate studies or careers in East Asian Studies.

The program also offers a variety of extracurricular activities and events, including guest lectures, film screenings, and cultural festivals. These events provide students with the opportunity to engage with East Asian culture outside of the classroom and to connect with other students and faculty members who share their interests. The program’s faculty and staff are committed to creating a vibrant and supportive community for students interested in East Asian Studies.

Curriculum Overview: Courses and Requirements for the Major/Minor in East Asian Studies

The East Asian Studies program at Cornell offers a broad range of courses covering language, literature, history, politics, and culture of China, Japan, and Korea. Students pursuing a major in East Asian Studies are required to take language courses and a minimum number of courses in each of the three regions. Students pursuing a minor have more flexibility in their course selection but are still required to take language courses. With a robust selection of courses taught by expert faculty, students have the opportunity to explore their interests and tailor their studies as they pursue their academic goals.

In addition to the required courses, the East Asian Studies program also offers a variety of elective courses that allow students to delve deeper into specific topics of interest. These courses cover a wide range of subjects, including art, film, religion, and gender studies. Students can also participate in study abroad programs in East Asia, which provide immersive language and cultural experiences. With these opportunities, students can gain a comprehensive understanding of East Asian societies and develop valuable skills for careers in fields such as international relations, business, and academia.

Study Abroad Opportunities for East Asian Studies Students at Cornell

Studying abroad is an integral part of the East Asian Studies program at Cornell and a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the culture and language of East Asia. The program offers a range of study-abroad options, from semester-long programs to summer courses and research opportunities. Popular destinations for study abroad include China, Japan, and Korea, where students can further develop language skills, engage in cultural activities, and conduct research.

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In addition to the traditional study abroad programs, the East Asian Studies program at Cornell also offers virtual study abroad options. These programs allow students to engage with East Asian culture and language from the comfort of their own homes through online courses and virtual cultural activities. This is a great option for students who may not be able to travel abroad due to financial or personal reasons.

Furthermore, the East Asian Studies program at Cornell provides various scholarships and funding opportunities for students who wish to study abroad. These scholarships can cover a portion or all of the expenses associated with studying abroad, including travel, housing, and tuition. This makes studying abroad more accessible to students who may not have the financial means to do so otherwise.

Research Opportunities in East Asian Studies at Cornell University

The East Asian Studies program at Cornell provides a supportive and stimulating environment for students interested in pursuing research in East Asian topics. Through internships, honors theses, and independent research projects, students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty advisors and develop their research skills. Additionally, Cornell’s library system offers extensive resources and collections in East Asian studies.

Furthermore, the East Asian Studies program at Cornell University hosts various events and lectures throughout the year, providing students with the opportunity to engage with scholars and experts in the field. These events cover a wide range of topics, from contemporary politics to historical art and literature. Attending these events can not only enhance students’ understanding of East Asian studies but also provide valuable networking opportunities.

Career Paths for Graduates of the East Asian Studies Program at Cornell University

Graduates of Cornell’s East Asian Studies program have pursued a wide range of careers and post-graduate programs. Graduates have gone on to work in fields such as business, government, academia, media, and non-profit organizations. The program’s focus on interdisciplinary coursework, language proficiency, and cross-cultural understanding prepares students for careers and research in a variety of fields with global relevance.

One popular career path for graduates of the East Asian Studies program is in international business. With the increasing globalization of the economy, many companies are seeking employees with a deep understanding of East Asian cultures and languages. Graduates with a background in East Asian Studies are well-equipped to work in areas such as marketing, finance, and international trade.

Another career path for graduates is in government and diplomacy. Graduates with a strong understanding of East Asian politics, history, and culture are highly sought after by government agencies and international organizations. Many graduates have gone on to work in the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, and other international organizations, where they use their knowledge of East Asia to promote peace and understanding between nations.

Student Organizations and Extracurricular Activities for East Asian Studies Students at Cornell

The East Asian Studies program at Cornell is home to a vibrant and supportive community of students and faculty. Several student organizations, including language clubs and cultural organizations, offer opportunities for students to connect with others interested in East Asian Studies. Additionally, the program sponsors events and lectures throughout the year, allowing for engagement with scholars and practitioners in the field.

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One of the most popular student organizations for East Asian Studies students at Cornell is the East Asia Program Student Association (EAPSA). EAPSA hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including cultural festivals, film screenings, and guest lectures. The organization also provides opportunities for students to participate in community service projects related to East Asia. EAPSA is a great way for students to get involved and make connections within the East Asian Studies community at Cornell.

Alumni Success Stories from the East Asian Studies Program at Cornell University

Alumni of the East Asian Studies program at Cornell have gone on to make a significant impact in their careers and communities. Graduates have pursued careers in diplomacy, international business, academia, and cultural preservation, among other fields. The program’s rigorous coursework, language proficiency, and interdisciplinary approach have prepared graduates to succeed in a rapidly globalizing world.

One notable success story is that of Jane Kim, who graduated from the East Asian Studies program in 2005. After completing her degree, she went on to work for the United Nations in their Department of Political Affairs, where she focused on promoting peace and stability in East Asia. Her language skills and deep understanding of the region’s history and culture were instrumental in her work, and she was eventually promoted to a leadership position within the organization.

Another successful alum is John Chen, who graduated from the program in 2010. He went on to work for a major international consulting firm, where he advised clients on business strategies for entering the East Asian market. His expertise in the region’s business practices and cultural norms helped his clients navigate complex negotiations and build successful partnerships. He has since started his own consulting firm, which specializes in helping companies expand into East Asia.

Future Directions and Developments in the East Asian Studies Program at Cornell

The East Asian Studies program at Cornell is constantly evolving and expanding to meet the needs and interests of its students and faculty. The program is committed to engaging with contemporary issues and trends in East Asia and to providing a supportive and dynamic learning environment for students. The program has recently expanded its language programs and research opportunities, and is continuing to develop new initiatives and collaborations with institutions in East Asia.

One of the new initiatives that the East Asian Studies program at Cornell is currently developing is a study abroad program in East Asia. This program will provide students with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture and language of East Asia, and to gain firsthand experience of the issues and trends that they have been studying in the classroom. The program is also exploring new collaborations with universities and research institutions in East Asia, with the aim of fostering greater exchange and dialogue between scholars and students in the region.

Benefits of Studying East Asia for Non-East Asian Students at Cornell

Even for those who do not have a personal or familial connection to East Asia, studying the region and its cultures can provide valuable skills and perspectives. Engaging with East Asian history, language, and contemporary issues allows for a more nuanced understanding of global power dynamics, cultural diversity, and international relations. Additionally, employers in a wide range of fields value cross-cultural competence and language proficiency, making East Asian studies a valuable addition to any student’s academic background.

Furthermore, studying East Asia can also provide opportunities for personal growth and development. Learning about different cultures and ways of life can broaden one’s perspective and foster empathy and understanding toward others. It can also challenge one’s own assumptions and biases, leading to a more open-minded and tolerant worldview.

Finally, studying East Asia can lead to unique and exciting career opportunities. With the growing importance of the region in global affairs, there is a high demand for professionals with expertise in East Asian languages, cultures, and business practices. Graduates with a background in East Asian studies can pursue careers in fields such as international business, diplomacy, journalism, and academia.

Challenges and Opportunities for International Students in the East Asian Studies Program at Cornell

International students pursuing the East Asian Studies program at Cornell face unique challenges and opportunities. The program offers support and resources for language proficiency and cultural integration, as well as opportunities to connect with other international and domestic students. Additionally, international students bring valuable perspectives and experiences to the program and contribute to a diverse and dynamic learning environment.

a student writing and studying

In conclusion, Cornell University’s East Asian Studies program offers a comprehensive and engaging curriculum for students passionate about exploring the cultures, histories, and contemporary issues of China, Japan, and Korea. From language proficiency to research opportunities to study abroad experiences, the program provides students with the resources and support to pursue their academic and career goals. Whether you have a personal connection to East Asia or simply an intellectual curiosity, the East Asian Studies program at Cornell is an exciting and enriching academic experience.

However, international students in the East Asian Studies program may also face challenges such as language barriers, cultural differences, and homesickness. To address these challenges, Cornell offers various support services such as language tutoring, cultural events, and counseling services. Additionally, the program encourages students to form study groups and participate in extracurricular activities to build a sense of community and support.

 

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