Jump to main content

Asian Studies at UNC

Program Overview

Majoring or minoring in Asian Studies prepares students as specialists in Asia. Students take courses in Asian history, languages, and cultures, and become familiarized with Asia as a region, and its interactions with the rest of the world. A degree in Asian Studies prepares students for further studies at the graduate level, and gives graduates an edge for careers in international law, business and commerce, as well as with government or non-government organizations.

Through a program in Asian Studies, students gain proficiency in one or more Asian languages, and develop an understanding of Asian civilizations from past to present. In addition to study of Asian languages and history, Asian Studies students choose from courses in political science, art history, anthropology, women’s studies, film, geography, literature, and philosophy. Asian Studies students learn about traditional and modern pop culture, as well as Asian communities in America.

Students are encouraged to supplement their coursework and gain international living experience by studying abroad with one of UNC’s direct exchange partnerships in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, or Thailand. Asian Studies students can also round out their academic training with participation in one of the many Asian cultural clubs at UNC, where they can enjoy cultural activities, and celebrate Asian holidays like the annual UNC Lunar New Year Celebration.

Asian Languages

Contrary to popular belief, becoming proficient in an Asian language is not as difficult as some might think, and with dedication, students can master an Asian language in just a few years. Students in the Asian Studies program will study Chinese or Japanese. For information on the Chinese or Asian Studies programs, contact Michelle Low, the Asian Studies Advisor. For more information about the Japanese program, contact Sumiko Gibson. Both Chinese and Japanese are also available as minors at UNC. 


Career and Internship Opportunities in Asian Studies

“What can you do with a major in Asian Studies?"

Graduates of the Asian Studies program are qualified for a variety of careers or graduate studies programs. Students with Asian Studies majors can go on to careers with the US government as a Foreign Service Officer, or work for other governmental agencies, such as the CIA, Immigration and Naturalization Services, etc. Since graduates have a firm foundation in Asian civilizations and languages, many go on to teach languages in US or International schools or work in the private sector, while some move on to non-governmental or non-profit agencies that focus on Asia. Others travel to Asia to teach English or work, and continue improving their language skills before going on to graduate studies in Asian studies, Asian history, Asian languages and literatures, anthropology, geography, or international affairs, to name a few. 

Internship Opportunities

Teaching English in China with Mercan English Schools in Taiyuan, China

Students with at least one-year of Chinese at UNC can apply through CIE and World Languages and Cultures for a paid summer internship with Mercan English Schools in Taiyuan, China. Students spend 8-10 weeks working for a private Chinese company getting valuable skills-training in teaching English as a Foreign Language and in working within a Chinese business organization. Students will be trained in lesson planning and content delivery using Mercan’s textbooks, and will work alongside experienced teachers in a team-teaching format. Students also gain valuable experience living and working abroad in China for a short period. This is a paid internship, and includes housing in a one-bedroom furnished apartment with electricity and internet. Students are responsible for their own international airfare, local transportation costs and food, though the generous stipend should cover these costs.

Teaching English as a Camp Counselor at Guy Healy USA Summer Camp in Japan

UNC students can apply through CIE and World Languages and Cultures for a summer internship at Guy Healy USA Summer Camp in Japan. Students serve as camp counselors and English language teachers, working alongside Japanese camp counselors. Interns gain experience working with children (mostly middle-school age), and teaching in an informal setting. Students live at the camp in camp cabins or tents most of the summer, and spend their days off with their Japanese host families at their homes, where they can improve their Japanese language skills, and gain an insider’s understanding of life in Japan. This internship is not paid, but Guy Healy covers all lodging and food in Japan, as well as international airfare to Japan. No prior Japanese language experience is necessary.

Access China Tours (ACT) Denver Office

ACT has created unique custom travel experiences to China and Asian countries for 18 years. They have offices in Denver, Vancouver and Beijing. This internship will provide the opportunity to learn aspects of creating custom travel itineraries to Asia. Interns will have the opportunity to create their own itineraries for clients based on their preferences. Marketing and generating new business in group travel will be a component of the internship. Some routine office work such as copying, surface mailing and emailing are required.

The internship seeks applicants with at least basic Mandarin Chinese coursework and some existing knowledge of China and Asian tourist destinations. Skills sought include attention to detail, strong phone communication skills, marketing and sales background, social media familiarity, creative thinking and Microsoft office applications.

Interested applicants should contact Joe Sinisi at 303-960-5935 or joe@acesschinatours.com.