About the program
• Augustana College offers a major and minor in Asian studies, as well as minors in Chinese and Japanese. Many students of Asian studies take Chinese or Japanese, along with courses or a second major or minor in disciplines such as history, anthropology, sociology, business administration or the arts.
|Student Clare Webster snapped this photo on the Vietnam Term trip in 2009.|
• The mission of the Asian studies program is two-fold: it enriches the education of students from a full range of majors with a global understanding and a richer cultural context; and provides a wide choice of direction for students who major or minor in Asian studies. For example, students may focus on modern and traditional Asian cultures and societies, contemporary Asian politics, economic links between the U.S. and other nations of the Pacific Rim, or global environmental issues.
• The Asian languages faculty are native speakers with extensive experience in China and Japan. Faculty in the Asian Studies program include professors of art, art history, biology, business administration, geography, history, political science, religion and sociology.
• Augustana’s Asian Studies program has won much recognition over the years. From 1999-2005 the college served as headquarter for ASIANetwork, a consortium of more than 170 colleges committed to strengthening the Asian studies programming on their campuses. The college also has received many grants to support its program, from such places as the United Board for Christian Higher Education, the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, the Japan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. One of the most impactful was a $549,000 “Building Bridges” grant from the Freeman Foundation, which has provided funding for faculty and student research in Asia, language study student fellowships to China or Japan, and a recent Augustana Choir tour of China.
From Augustana to Asia
• Augustana’s extensive East Asia fall term program began in 1974 and has been offered every three years since, taking students of different majors for coursework and travel in Japan, Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. In addition, several “focused” terms have been developed, including terms in India, Vietnam and Cambodia. The college also has sent students to Hua Zhong Normal University and the International Christian University for summer language study and offered in-country language and cultural enhancement program for students studying Japanese.
• Augustana participates in an undergraduate exchange program with Lingnan University in Hong Kong, in which two students from each institution spend the fall term studying at the other school. 2012-13 marks the start of a student exchange program between the college and the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies in Kobe, Japan. Augustana students study Japanese and other subjects in Kobe while Japanese students take classes at Augustana.
• For more than 20 years Augustana has sustained an exchange program with Hua Zhong Normal University in Wuhan, China, which brought language instructors to Augustana and sends new Augustana graduates annually to teach English and further studies in Mandarin Chinese at that and a few other institutions in Wuhan and other parts of China. Some have traveled even further to teach or work in other Asian countries.
• The renowned Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program and the AEON program also accept recent Augustana graduates to teach English in junior or senior high schools, local government offices or private corporations in Japan.
What students say
Sara Oesleby ’10, Asian studies major, history minor:
“In my sophomore year, we spent eleven weeks traveling through Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mainland China. It was a great cultural immersion experience that I don’t think I could have gotten anywhere else. We took classes on history, economics, sociology, and art while we traveled. The best interaction was that we were able to travel to the places, and see things that related right back to the subject matter at hand. It was an eye-opening experience that helped me to understand what East Asia really meant. On campus there also are several opportunities for students interested in Asian studies. The main one I participate in is the student group ASO (Asian Student Organization). Each week, we experience some new part of the culture—from going to restaurants, to playing Mahjong. We have a large Asian Night in the winter with entertainment and a buffet of Asian foods from local restaurants, inviting the whole campus to attend.”
Bob Lyons ’08, political science major, Chinese and Spanish minors:
“I really enjoyed the Asian languages department at Augustana. I found the professors to be so concerned about their students that learning Chinese, which many people see as a difficult language, was actually fairly easy and even fun. I must credit the department for the opportunities it gave me for research, study abroad, and eventually teaching abroad. The Asian languages department is a jewel, and Augustana is privileged to be one of the few colleges with a four-year Chinese program."