There was a time not too long ago when China was just another Communist nation with an unfortunate economy. But times have changed, and now it is a nation with a very strong economy and is home to over 200 (US dollar) billionaires.
Yet even in the years before its prestigious position in the world stage, many people have been fascinated by its culture and history. China is an ancient culture spanning thousands of years, and people of Chinese descent have entrenched themselves in various cities and countries all over the world.
For those who want a deeper understanding of the Chinese culture, there’s Chinese Studies. This undergraduate degree has become more important now because of the increasing impact of China and Chinese communities all over the world.
In college, students improve their written and oral Chinese communication skills, while they also study communication between China and different nations, and the Chinese culture and different cultures. Students learn to speak the language and to read and even write the Chinese symbols. They also study Chinese history, the history of Chinese integration into the US, and various aspects of Chinese culture.
Courses include Chinese politics, literature, culture, calligraphy, film, and religious beliefs and practices. Some schools even send students to China, where they can experience the culture in person and learn to improve their language ability by interacting with native speakers.
Many federal government agencies recruit graduates of Chinese Studies, including the State Department, various economic agencies, law enforcement, and intelligence gathering. Many of these departments interact with Chinese companies or the Chinese government.
Government agencies at the local level can also benefit, especially in multicultural areas such as LA and New York where the Chinese American presence is considerable. Police departments and various local departments can use more linguists and translators.
Many private companies can also use graduates with a Chinese Studies diploma, especially if they sell to Chinese customers or deal with Chinese companies or government officials. Graduates can help with meetings, provide insights, or help in marketing, advertising, or product design that will appeal to the Chinese market.
Some can also work as teachers of Chinese literature or culture. Others can be consultants or writers, helping movie and TV producers when their productions involve Chinese characters or settings.
Schools with the Best Chinese Studies Programs
Many excellent schools offer Chinese studies programs, but some are truly world-class. For example, the University of Washington has been offering Chinese language classes since 1926, and they have boosted their Chinese-related program through the years. The University of Hawaii also has a long history with their Chinese Studies programs, and the school’s reputation in history and classical Chinese is unmatched. Yale also has one of the most highly regarded programs focusing on China and Chinese literature.
Other schools with superior reputations in Chinese Studies are Stanford University, Harvard University, New York University, Cornell University, the University of California Berkeley, and Ohio State University.