The East Asian and Chinese Studies faculty recognize the need for our students, most of whom come from West Michigan and its vicinity, to be well versed in cultures other than their own. Faculty in the programs offer cross-cultural understanding and intercultural communication perspectives, allowing students to become well-rounded and well-grounded in their knowledge of China and East Asia as they find their niche in a demographically and culturally diverse society and an increasingly global economy.
Grand Valley State University's East Asian Studies Program explores the languages, cultures, histories, and socioeconomic conditions of China and Japan.
The program recognizes the rich and complex traditions and historical contributions of these countries while acknowledging the essential roles they play in the world today.
China, with its five thousand years of civilization, more than a billion people, and a fast growing economy, and Japan, with its unparalleled economic success and its leading role in science and technology, demand attention from the world. The East Asian Studies Program balances a liberal arts focus with a professional approach to understanding the economic potential, rich cultural resources, and the basic need for intercultural relationships with these two countries.
The East Asian studies minor is designed for students who are interested in Chinese and Japanese cultures and who see fluency in the languages of these two countries as instrumental for their future careers in this region and beyond. Grand Valley students majoring in such fields as business, communications, English, history, international relations, philosophy, and political science, among others, will find that this program provides a unique perspective on these two dynamic countries and is a valued complement to their major program. Students studying Chinese or Japanese at the primary or secondary level and transfer students who began Chinese or Japanese study at other two- or four-year institutions may also choose to minor in East Asian Studies.
As a part of the East Asian Studies minor, students can participate in the study abroad programs in East China Normal University in Shanghai, Nanjing University in Nanjing, National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, the Japanese Studies program at International Christian University (ICU), or the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU). Consult the Padnos International Center or the coordinator of the East Asian Studies Program for more information.
Students are also encouraged to participate in the activities of local Asian associations, including the Chinese Association of West Michigan, the Asian-American Association, Japan-America Society of West Michigan, and also get involved in on-campus student groups such as the Asian Student Union (ASU), Japan Cultural Association, and the International Student Organization (ISO). Members of community organizations and businesses are also invited to take courses and participate in program activities.
Students seeking a minor in East Asian Studies are required to complete 21-22 credit hours of coursework. Normally the program includes nine credits of core courses, four credits of language (either Chinese or Japanese or both) above the 201-level, and nine credits of electives, for a total of 22 credits. Students who enter the university already competent in Chinese or Japanese at the 202-level or higher will take one extra elective course for a total of 21 credits. No more than two courses from any department other than East Asian Studies can be counted toward the minor. There is no limit on the courses designated East Asian Studies (EAS) that may apply to the minor.