It has become a commonplace to talk about globalization, cultural diversity, and the “shrinking” of the globe. At a personal level, what these ideas really come down to is that we cannot remain bound by the traditions, assumptions, culture and language we are brought up with; we must experience and learn about the rest of the world to become truly global citizens. Fortunately, this process is also one of tremendous self-discovery, excitement, and pleasure. East Asia is one of the most fascinating and rewarding regions of the world to learn about and to experience first-hand. Not only do the nations of China, Taiwan, the two Koreas, and Japan share a heritage in one of the world’s oldest and most intriguing cultural traditions, they are also some of the most important players on the international stage. The field of East Asian Studies offers an integrated program of language study, interdisciplinary coursework, and study abroad opportunities to guide students in discovering this important part of the world and developing the skills to approach it intelligently and confidently.
Eckerd has one of the strongest programs in East Asian Studies of any small college in the southeastern United States. As a small liberal arts college, Eckerd is able to offer instruction in East Asian Studies in a specialized, personal way unavailable at larger institutions, including tutorials, independent study options, and faculty-student collaborative research opportunities. Eckerd has strong international focus, especially through our programs in International Relations & Global Affairs and International Business. We have a large number of international students, many from Asian countries, and house a separate ELS Language Center with many Asian students who are available for socializing and for language exchange. Situated in the large and dynamic urban center of Tampa Bay, Eckerd also offers ready access to Asian art collections, Asian immigrant communities, international businesses, and ready transportation connections to the wider world.
Our senior majors almost invariably go on to have further experience in Asia and internationally-focused careers. Many graduates take a year or more to teach English abroad to further develop their language and cultural skills and build upon relationships developed during their four-year program. Eckerd has special relationships with two schools in Japan where we place graduating seniors every year; other graduates join government-sponsored or private teaching programs elsewhere in Japan or in China or Korea. The long-term career paths of Eckerd graduates in East Asian Studies have included diplomatic service, international business, international and immigration law, cross-cultural and social studies education, Asian art curation, and advanced scholarship in area studies or comparative fields in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Eckerd College offers both Chinese and Japanese language at Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced levels of study. Further study is also available on an independent basis or through study abroad programs.