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Asian Studies

A broad understanding of traditional and modern Asia

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Augustana offers a major and a minor in Asian studies. Students usually take at least one term of language study in Chinese or Japanese.

About the program

Augustana’s Asian Studies Program offers a major and a minor in which students develop interdisciplinary skills that are vital to their growth as liberally educated individuals. The social and cultural diversities of the South, South East, and East Asian regions give students the opportunity to discover new perspectives and develop skills in intercultural competency, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Our faculty research and teach across many disciplines including art, economics, history, languages, literature, political science, and religion. The courses taught in the Augustana Asian Studies program prepare students for careers in areas such as law, international trade, teaching abroad, and the Foreign Service.  

Students are able to graduate in four years from Augustana College with more than one major or minor.  Students who take a major or minor in Asian Studies gain a broad understanding of Asia by experiencing Asian cultures and developing skills crucial to understanding a diverse and changing world which are essential in all professions. Many students of Asian Studies visit an Asian country and undertake a second major in a discipline such as history, religion, anthropology, sociology, business administration, international business, communication studies, computer science, or art.

Augustana is one of a few liberal arts colleges nationwide that offer four years of instruction in Chinese and Japanese. It also offers a rich array of study abroad programs, including January-term programs in countries such as China, India, and Japan, and semester exchange programs with Lingnan University in Hong Kong, Rikkyo University and Toyo University in Tokyo, and the Kobe City University of Foreign Studies in Japan. The Asian Studies major or minor complements Chinese and Japanese language minors who wish to add a multidisciplinary perspective of Asia to their language studies.

Recent graduates

Valerie Spreeman ’19 is working with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program.

Gage Meyers ’17 is a graduate student at Drake University School of Law.

Emily Stanevicius ’16 is a teacher at Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China.

Hilary Timmerman ’13 is employed in international affairs at Kleberg Bank, Corpus Christi, Texas.

Brooke Armstrong ’11 taught English at elementary and junior high schools in Kiso-machi, Japan, 2011-2014; she received an MA in Anthropology from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies in 2017. Currently, she works for Purdue University as the Study Abroad Specialist.

What students say

Emily Stanevicius ’16, Asian studies and biology; currently teaching at Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China
Having a bachelors in Asian studies definitely helped me prepare for my position as a professor at CCNU; however, the majority of my strengths come from the faculty. Studying under the professors in the Asian studies department not only allowed me to find this opportunity, but also taught me necessary components that allowed me to approach this position with relative ease. I can’t thank them enough for the connections they have helped me make, the perspectives they have helped me see, and the knowledge they have helped me realize.

Hilary Timmerman ’13, Asian studies and international business; employed in international affairs at Kleberg Bank, Corpus Christi, Texas
I came to Augustana with very limited knowledge of anything outside of the United States, and now I have a degree in international business and Asian studies and a strong fascination for cultures different from my own. My peak experience at Augustana was definitely my study abroad trip to East Asia. With the help of $2,000 from Augie Choice, the trip gave me the opportunity to broaden my perspectives and see the world in a new light.

Brooke Armstrong ’11, anthropology and Asian studies; currently working towards a master’s in anthropology of travel and tourism at SOAS University of London
At Augustana I learned that I can do more than I thought I could. Even though doing something might be scary, I learned that by following through with your ideas … you will be amazed by the results. Now [2013] I’ve been teaching in Japan for about a year and a half, and plan on staying one more year before applying to graduate school—most likely for anthropology.

From FYI to foreign service: Melinda Pavek '92

Melinda Pavek ’92 recently visited the studios of WVIK, Quad Cities NPR, to record an interview with Augustana's "Life of the Mind" podcast.

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