North Central College - Naperville, IL

East Asian Studies

Why choose East Asian studies at North Central College?

You’ll develop the knowledge and language you’ll need to work in East Asian countries like China and Japan as you explore the cultural realities that shape these societies to deepen your understanding of them. An independent review recently described North Central’s East Asian studies major as “impressive,” noting its strong curriculum, committed faculty, well-established language programs and wide range of study abroad options.

You may also:

  • Network with faculty and alumni, meet guest speakers, and plan social outings with the Japan Club, Asian Student Konnection, and International Club.
  • Take advantage of North Central’s extensive library resources on East Asia.
  • Enjoy easy access to cultural destinations like Chicago’s Chinatown.
  • Participate in the College’s unique combined China/Japan study abroad program during your sophomore year, then pursue traditional study abroad programs in Japan, Taiwan, Korea or China during your junior or senior year.


Luke Franks, assistant professor of history
Luke Franks, North Central College assistant professor of history and coordinator of East Asian studies, published and presented research on Japanese politics.
North Central College recognizes high-achieving students for academic and co-curricular excellence throughout their college careers on Honors Day.
North Central gains momentum in growth, reputation, value.


Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in East Asian studies have been accepted at:

  • Kyoto University, Ph.D. in religious studies
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
  • University of Washington, Korean studies


Recent graduates in East Asian studies include:

  • English teacher, Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme
  • Nongovernment organizations
  • Information technology
  • Finance
  • Government
East Asian Studies major

Clara knew after one campus visit that she would be happy at North Central. She found everything she was looking for in a college—accessible professors, elaborate study abroad programs and a wide variety of campus clubs.

“The opportunities here and the support from the East Asian Studies faculty are the best,” she says.

An active member of the student group ASK (Asian Student Konnection), Clara has taken full advantage of multiple study abroad opportunities. She took classes at Seoul National University in...

East Asian Studies

Rebecca’s passion for Japanese culture developed long before she arrived at North Central College.

“I grew up watching anime, reading manga and playing video games of Japanese origin,” she says. “These hobbies developed into a desire to discover Japan’s culture and society.”

Rebecca dipped her feet into the College’s cultural opportunities, joining the Japan Club during her first year. She loved the club’s Japanese movie nights and trips to Japanese markets, so much so that she dove into the College’s deep cultural pool, studying abroad her junior year at the Kanda University of International Studies in Japan.

“It was a wonderful, affirming experience for me, and I feel it would...

East Asian Studies major

Studying abroad is central in East Asian studies. Kara has done it three times. “Why wouldn’t you want to do this? Studying abroad is life-changing and so easy to do.”

One study abroad experience took Kara to China and Japan for four months. A second involved five months at a university in Japan and one month at a high school where she worked as a Japanese/English teacher. A third landed her in Spanish-speaking Costa Rica.

“You see in real life all the connections and how culture is tied into the language.” 

On North Central’s campus, Kara meets with other students for Chinese tea in a professor’s office. “We discuss culture, philosophy, religion, language and learn from each other. We...

East Asian Studies, Japanese, French triple major

Stephanie has immersed herself in diverse cultures. The way she sees it, “You need to know the cultures you’re studying.” In addition to her major in East Asian Studies with a focus on Japan, she added majors in Japanese and French.

She also studied abroad at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan and Université Catholique de L’Ouest in France. “North Central is great at setting you up in study abroad programs.”

Stephanie received North Central’s Richter Independent Study Fellowship allowing her to study in France and present her findings at a national conference. On campus, she was a College Scholar, coeditor of student literary journal and officer in the International Club.


East Asian Studies major

“I was originally drawn to East Asian music; later I connected with the region’s values of respect and harmony. I also love the sound of the languages,” says Kelly. “I majored in East Asian studies so that I could study more than one country.”

Kelly is carefully mapping a path to her goal of teaching English in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand or Vietnam. On campus, she’s active in the Japan Club, Korean Club and Asian Student Konnection. “Our goal is to expose the campus and community to the cultures of these countries,” she says. “For example, each year we show Japanese films and host ‘Taste of Asia.’ It’s great fun and we all learn a lot in the process.” Kelly also corresponds with a few pen pals and...