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New major, new opportunity

April 22nd, 2010

After becoming a minor only last fall, East Asian Studies will soon be offered as a major at John Carroll University starting in the fall of 2010.  

Originally offered only as a concentration, EAS was approved as an official major by JCU faculty last week.

“Student interest [in the program] has been growing steadily,” said Pam Mason, a political science and East Asian Studies professor.

Nine students signed up for the minor within weeks of its approval last fall and since the major was approved, three students have started paperwork to declare the EAS major. 

Students who wish to major in EAS will have to complete the 36 credit hours. This includes 12 credits in the Chinese or Japanese language and 24 credits of EAS-approved courses. The additional approved courses must include one that focuses on East Asia as a region, four courses that must be at the 300-400 level and, finally, one capstone course or project, which could be an internship, during the student’s senior year.

“We also strongly encourage EAS majors and minors to study abroad in China or Japan,” Mason said.

There are three study abroad programs in Japan: Sophia University in Tokyo, Nanzan University in Nagoya, or Kansai-Gaidai near Osaka. There is also one in China at the Beijing Center, a Jesuit consortium study-abroad center.

EAS provides study-tour opportunities during the summer to both Japan and China as well. Next month, a group of faculty and students will participate in a Japanese Pop Culture study tour in Japan.  This program was first offered in 2004 and runs in even-numbered years. 

The China study tour was offered last summer for the first time and will continue to be offered in odd-numbered years.

Freshman Rebecca Secula is declaring an EAS major and will travel to China this summer for a two-month study program in Beijing, called China’s Voice Language Program.

“I decided to do an EAS major because the Chinese culture fascinates me,” said Secula. “I am excited every single day to get to my Chinese history and Chinese classes.”

Junior J.R. Santosdiaz is also declaring an EAS major. He has one year of upper-level Chinese and his capstone project left to complete the major. 

Santosdiaz said he recommends the major to other students.

“East Asian Studies supplements all majors. It allows students to gain an international perspective on economic, political and social issues,” he said.

Santosdiaz admitted the foreign language component is difficult.

 “The gain of another language, however, yields great benefits – more job opportunities – for the future and is worth the hard work,” he said.

Mason is not sure yet which professors will be teaching EAS courses next semester. Some EAS courses are taught only in the spring, others only in the fall. 

According to Mason, the EAS major will collaborate with many majors and minors. The major will combine multiple aspects of East Asia including language, culture, society and economics. 

“Each EAS major will have common elements, and each will be unique. We expect that some students will double major in EAS plus another discipline,” said Mason. “In short, we expect that EAS will appeal to all kinds of students with all kinds of interests.”