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East Asian Studies

Name: Dennis (Chan Min) Hong

Year: Class of 2015

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

High School: Westtown School, West Chester, PA

Majors: East Asian Studies & International Studies

East Asia and Johns Hopkins

Foreign affairs are my passion. Whether it is a news report on territorial disputes in Northeast Asia, an academic research on the rise of China as the world’s next superpower, or a political debate on U.S. foreign policy of rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific region, I have gb4enjoyed learning and discussing them since high school. I brought the same passion to Johns Hopkins University, intending to continue to pursue my love of international relations and deepen my interests in East Asia, thereby ultimately preparing myself for the challenges of working in U.S. and China-related fields in the future. Therefore, it was very clear from the first day of my freshman year that East Asian Studies and International Studies programs at Johns Hopkins would be a perfect match for my interests and aspirations. I am particularly grateful for these programs as they have given me both regional expertise and functional tools – economics, political science, history, and foreign language – to understand the complexity of today’s increasingly interconnected global affairs.

gb5Johns Hopkins is an excellent place to study both East Asia and International Relations. East Asian Studies, in particular, stands out among our many excellent interdisciplinary programs as an intellectual center of research and teaching as well as a socially vibrant community of students and professors. The program not only allows you to design your own course of studies but also deepens your interests and understanding on East Asia through our intensive language training and various course offerings related to East Asia. The requirements for the major are: at least three years of coursework in an East Asian language (i.e. Chinese, Japanese, or Korean) and eight East Asian Studies courses of your choice. Starting in fall 2013, the program has newly introduced a four discipline-based “Focus Area”: Political Science, History, Sociology or Individualized, all of which are designed to give you more structure in your study and help you identify your regional and discipline-based expertise. To learn more about requirements for the B.A. degree in East Asian Studies, please click HERE.

As an East Asian Studies and International Studies double major, I am also enrolled in the 5-Year BA/MA program with our School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). SAIS is an international relations graduate school of Johns Hopkins located in Washington DC,gb6 Bologna, and Nanjing. As part of the program, I will be spending my senior year at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China and complete my Master’s in International Economics and China Studies in the following year. While this program is offered through our International Studies program, any prospective East Asian studies majors can take advantage of this well-respected academic opportunity by double majoring with International Studies. Our international campus located in Nanjing, China, more formally known as the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies, allows you to pursue this option and is an asset to our undergraduate East Asian Studies program, particularly for those who want to study abroad in China and increase their global understanding on China. Our newly introduced Focus Area will also help you easily double major with other programs, including International Studies, Public Health Studies, History, Sociology, etc.

Some of the highlights of our program include numerous academic, research, and extracurricular opportunities available for East Asian Studies majors. Below are a list of some of the courses that have been offered in our program, and you will be amazed by the depth and breadth of our curriculum:

  • Ÿ   Monuments and Memory in Asian History
  • Ÿ   Society & Social Change in 18th Century China
  • Ÿ   Korean and Asian American Politics
  • Ÿ   Modern Japan: 1800 to the Present
  • Ÿ   Domestic Politics of Contemporary China
  • Ÿ   Southeast Asia & US Security
  • Ÿ   Comparison of Environmental Challenges and Governance between China and the U.S.
  • Ÿ   Classical Chinese, Chinese (I-V), Japanese (I-IV), Korean (I-III)

Some of my favorite classes during my years at Johns Hopkins were: Politics of East Asia (with Professor Erin Chung), Historiography of Modern China (with Professor William Rowe), and Problems in Chinese Urban History (with Professor William Rowe). They were small in terms of size (15 students), allowing me to interact with professors and engage in course readings and discussions more effectively. These classes not only taught me new insights into politics and history of China and a wider East Asia but also strengthened my oral presentation and writing skills, which I see critical to my future careers. As an East Asian Studies major, you will study with our distinguished faculty on topics related to the Cultural Revolution, Korean identity in Japan, U.S. foreign policy in Asia, history of Ming & Qing dynasties, political and economic development in China, Japan, and Korea, just to name a few. For a full list of courses offered now, please click HERE.

From intellectually stimulating classes with top-notch professors and research opportunities in any East Asian countries of your choice via our program’s generous research grants to well-received weekly East Asian Language Corners, annual Chinese Lunar New Year celebration, and increasingly popular Hopkins-sponsored study abroad programs in Nanjing (Hopkins-in-Nanjing and Hopkins China-STEM) and Tokyo (Hopkins-in-Tokyo), our program allows you to get fully immersed in the study of East Asia. Some of my friends who studied abroad in Nanjing, China in recent years have kept their blogs, and you can read about their eye-opening experiences HERE. In addition, our program has a strong sense of community, allowing for a very close interaction between students and faculty.

Outside the classroom, I am involved in Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship, East Asian Studies Student Advisory Council, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, and East Asian Forum & Review. The Student Advisory Council, in particular, is one of my favorite activities as an East Asian Studies major, as I help plan and organize many social activities for our program throughout the entire academic year. For example, we recently celebrated Korean Thanksgiving or otherwise known as “Chuseok” with Korea-related themes on campus, and we organize Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration annually. We also have many East Asia-specific student groups ranging from such cultural organizations as Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Student Associations to more professional-oriented such as Global China Connection, Japan-America Student Conference, and Business in China Association. You will easily find your extracurricular interests among our student activities.

gb7My course of studies and education at Johns Hopkins have also taken me to Seoul, Korea for the past two summers to pursue two international internships at the United States Embassy and McKinsey & Company, respectively. Last spring, our Career Center has awarded me a $5,000 Charles Robins Alumni Internship Grant to pursue my internship at McKinsey, a global management consulting firm. This summer, I plan to travel to China to enhance my Chinese language skills and conduct my research on Sino-Korean relations as a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship. This fellowship with monetary awards of $10,000 is annually awarded to incoming freshmen, and any prospective East Asian Studies majors are eligible to apply. The fellowship is unique to Johns Hopkins and allows you to design your own independent research project with a faculty member during your undergraduate career.

gb8The East Asian Studies program in conjunction with our Center for Language Education also offers a variety of language scholarships for those who wish to study abroad in China, Japan, or Korea during their time at Johns Hopkins. In addition, departmental research and conference grants are also available for prospective majors. Some of my friends have conducted research on problems of primary education system in Guizhou, China and environmental issues across Chinese cities, while others have travelled to Japan and Korea to attend conferences on East Asian affairs. These are some of the few examples of various opportunities available as an East Asian Studies major at Johns Hopkins, and you can certainly take advantage of all of these during your time here.

With my degrees in East Asian Studies and International Studies upon my graduation in May 2015, I plan to work in one of the fastest growing Chinese or Korea cities, be it Beijing, Shanghai or Seoul, to help connect South Korean people and firms launching a new business and receiving the first-hand insights on the inner workings of China. I also hope to ultimately work for the South Korean government, improving and contributing to the relations between the two countries.

It is an exciting time to be an East Asian Studies major at Johns Hopkins. As East Asia has drawn the world’s attention in recent years, I gb9think it is very timely and appropriate to pursue your potential career in Asia-related field. With our program’s unparalleled resources in Baltimore and abroad, you will find yourself in the midst of new discovery every day. As a 2015 Bachelor’s candidate in East Asian Studies and International Studies, I will be forever grateful for these programs. I invite you to further explore these programs and our university. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at chong10@jhu.edu.

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Click here to access more information about the East Asian Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the East Asian Studies question thread.

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East Asian Studies

Name: Xiange Zeng

Year: Class of 2016

Hometown: Wuhan, China

Majors: East Asian Studies and Public Health

Why I Love Hopkins’ East Asian Studies

Hello everyone! My name is Xiange Zeng.  Yes, X-i-a-n-g-e is my first name. Want to know how to pronounce it correctly? Well, you can take Chinese with Hopkins’ very best East Asian Studies department, and I promise that you will be able to pronounce my name without fail!

All jokes aside, there are more than enough reasons to be part of the EAS community at Hopkins, and I am here to tell you a few of them.

I came in as an East Asian Studies major. Back then, I was not very sure if that was what I wanted to major in, especially when almost everyone around me was a science major of some kind. In the midst of my hesitation and doubt, I fell in love with a class called International Relations in East Asia. This class opened my eyes to the many sensitive (historical) issues in East Asia, the perspectives of different countries on those issues, and the central question of what it means to have “sovereignty.” Through this class, I was able to learn the roots to current conflicts such as the Senkaku/Diaoyu Island dispute, the American military presence in Okinawa, the “Comfort Women” in Korea, and many more. I became especially interested in learning Japanese history and Sino-Japanese relations. This interest complemented my Japanese language study very well. I have to say that Japanese is one of my all-time favorite classes at Hopkins. The class is fun, relaxing, and you learn so much in one semester without even realizing it. The senseis are also extremely nice and funny. I would recommend this class to anyone!

First Year Japanese Dinner at Niwana with Yuki-Sensei

First Year Japanese Dinner at Niwana with Yuki-Sensei

Once I discovered my interest in learning more about Japan, I got the opportunity to apply for the 65th Japan-America Student Conference through an email from my Japanese Professor Yuki Johnson, who also wrote a recommendation letter for me. I was accepted and had the chance to go to Japan this past August as an American delegate. During this conference, I traveled with the delegation to Kyoto, Nagasaki, Iwate, and Tokyo. I had the chance to participate in the Nagasaki Peace Ceremony, visit Fukushima and the shore where the 2011 tsunami hit, network with prominent individuals such as Senator John McCain, Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Kurt Tong, Diet Member Shinjiro Koizumi, and other governors and standing businessmen. I also was immersed in the Japanese culture by visiting different World Heritage sites, going to the local farmer’s market, and doing homestay with a fellow Japanese delegate. My favorite part of the entire conference, however, was spending time with the Japanese and American delegates I got to meet. They were truly student leaders from all across both countries. Because we got to spend an entire month doing almost everything together, all of us grew very close and keep in touch regularly even now.

The 65th JASC Delegation

The 65th JASC Delegation

At the end of the conference, I along with seven other American delegates and eight other Japanese delegates were elected to be the executive committee for the 66th conference. We are now in charge of planning and leading the next conference, which will be held in America. With this huge responsibility, the EAS department has given me plenty of support! Before coming to Hopkins, I had never dreamed of having a close-knit community of students and professors who are willing to help you with your studies and extracurriculars, but the EAS department has exceeded my expectations in every way! Without the support of various professors, I would not have been able to attend the conference in the first place. Without their help now, I would not have been able to tell Hopkins students about the next conference. I am truly grateful for all of their advice and help.

Outside opportunities like this are not the only ones that the EAS department offers, however. In fact, we have many study abroad options such as spending a year in Tokyo University (the top university in Japan), a semester in Nanjing University in China, and other summer/semester-long programs in China, Japan, and South Korea. In order to accommodate the growing interest in China and students who are interested in the science field, the EAS department has a STEM program in China. The China STEM program is an eight-week long program during the summer where students are immersed in rigorous Chinese language training to increase their Chinese proficiency in the STEM fields. Students have the choice of studying either health sciences or engineering, both of which offer hands-on experiences in laboratories and research trips. Needless to say, the EAS department offers many opportunities for students here.

Hopkins STEM Class in China

Hopkins STEM Class in China

Another way that EAS supports its students is by providing conference travel and research funds. I attended the Mid-Atlantic Region Association for Asian Studies Conference this past semester and was able to receive enough conference funds from the department to cover all of my expenses! Furthermore, the EAS department has updated the major requirement to make EAS students even more competitive in the field while keeping its major flexibility. For example, I am able to double major in EAS and Public Health Studies, an unlikely combination, but nevertheless doable. The EAS department is also expanding its presence on campus by doing semester student-faculty dinners as well as New Year celebrations. Last spring, we had a very successful Chinese New Year celebration, inviting all students to join with EAS faculty to have delicious Chinese food and to watch several student performances. This semester, we hosted a Korean Fall Harvest celebration, carrying on the newly established EAS tradition. We can’t wait to have more interactive events in the semesters to come!

Dr. Chung and Yuki-Sensei with the EAS Student Advisory Board after the Korean Fall Harvest Dinner

Dr. Chung and Yuki-Sensei with the EAS Student Advisory Board after the Korean Fall Harvest Dinner

All in all, being part of the EAS community has definitely enriched my experience as a student here at Hopkins in many ways. I love this close-knit community, the support it offers, and the opportunities it presents. I hope that the few reasons I have shown you here have given you an idea of what the EAS department is all about. If you are interested in finding out more about us, it wouldn’t hurt to join us!

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Click here to access more information about the East Asian Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the East Asian Studies question thread.

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East Asian Studies

Name: Priya Bhanu

Year: Class of 2009

Hometown: San Carlos, CA

Major: International Studies, East Asian Studies

Chairman Mao, Footbinding, 中文: East Asian Studies at Hopkins

Coming into college, I knew I wanted to study international studies, but beyond that, I was clueless. Second semester of freshman year, I more or less randomly decided to take a class onN2720217_37014600_870 Contemporary Chinese Politics. Okay, so maybe my decision was not completely random, but China is an up-and-coming region in the world today, and seeing as how I would need to choose a concentration for IR, I thought that maybe China would be a good place to start. Of course, being a freshman, I was put on the wait list for the class, and luckily the professor decided to double the class size, and that semester is when my fascination with China began. I fell in love with contemporary China, and I decided to start taking Chinese in order to make my study of China easier; it is pretty hard to remember all the names of important historical and political figures if you don’t know Chinese. During my sophomore year, I realized that double majoring in East Asian studies would complement my IR degree very well, especially since I’d chosen China as a concentration.

Once I’d decided that East Asian studies would be doable, I began to realize why East Asian studies was such a great major. First of all, I love the language requirement component; you N6508155_33630710_2169 need to study three years of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean, or you can study two years of one language and two years of another. I have obviously chosen to study Chinese, and as a part of my quest for fluency in Chinese, I spent spring 2008 studying abroad in Beijing, where I studied only Chinese language for an entire semester. In addition to soaking up the Chinese culture, I was also required to participate in a language pledge, which prohibited me from speaking English all semester! Let me just say how challenging this experience was, but it was worth it. I managed to skip one and a half levels of Chinese in one semester abroad! It was definitely an amazing experience, and one that was definitely doable—and in my opinion necessary—as an East Asian studies major. In addition to language requirements, EAS Majors are required to take eight classes related to East Asia; in other words, these can be political, historical, cultural, or literary classes about East Asia. In my studies of China, I have taken two in the political science department, one in the sociology department, several in the history department, and one that focused on cultural imaginations of the body. Furthermore, of the eight required classes, any class concerning China, Japan, or Korea counts as an East Asian class, and up to two can focus on other regions of Asia, such as South Asia and Southeast Asia. As a result, this major lends a lot of freedom to the student, and there are very few restrictions.

In addition to study abroad opportunities, the EAS Department just began offering the IMG_0196 opportunity to write an honors thesis in your senior year, in addition to providing research grants to encourage students to go abroad and research East Asia in the field. Furthermore, the EAS Department has also set up language corners that meet once a week in order to help students increase their language abilities in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and to give students an outlet to practice their languages. The EAS Department is also very diligent at alerting students to opportunities relating to EAS, be they lectures in the area or opportunities to work and study abroad. Hopkins also has a club called the East Asian Forum and Review. It brings in lecturers every semester for events that are open to all students; it also publishes a journal to which students can submit their original research in hopes of being published! Professor Kellee Tsai just took over as head of the EAS Department, and she is very excited about helping the program grow. As a result, many new programs have been set up just in the last year or so, in an attempt at further enhancing our program.

Because the EAS Department is still relatively small, it is easy to get to know your professors and fellow students in your major. There is something about learning character-based IMG_0883 languages that creates a bond with fellow students. Although I have skipped Chinese levels, I’m still good friends with all my fellow students from Beginning Chinese. Because it is such a different language, struggling through it together is pretty amazing. When I was abroad, I immediately found a close group of friends, partially because we were all crazy enough to have decided to study abroad in China, and then to have chosen a program that prohibited English! When I was abroad, I lived with a Chinese roommate who didn’t speak any English! The first couple of weeks were really tough, but now we use Skype to chat at least once a month, and there are no problems. One of my favorite parts of EAS is that it gives you so much freedom to make your major your own. I also love that language is an integral part of the program, which not only enables you to study abroad, but encourages it!

Now that I am a senior, I am beginning to think about what I am going to do with my life, and it definitely includes going back to China for some time. Ideally, I will work in the government, at the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency, and do analysis regarding US-China relations. However, I might also go into journalism and become a foreign correspondent, focusing on China. One of the great things about this major is that you can tailor it to what you want to do, and in the end, it will open up a plethora of opportunities. Honestly, right now, East Asia is on the rise, and there is no better time than now to factor it into your future.

The best way to sum up the East Asian studies major at Hopkins: 真好。!AWESOME!

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Click here to access more information about the East Asian Studies Undergraduate Program of Study.

To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the East Asian Studies question thread.

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