Asian Studies

“Study abroad allows you to experience what many fail to understand: wandering and traveling in another country is not just useful, it is essential. You cannot speak about another country without walking its streets and tasting its food.  Asian Studies majors must place themselves in cities and places that will require them to converse and eat and sleep in different ways and learn the wanderer's wisdom: ‘the less you have, the more you have.’” – Akira Takemoto, Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures, Japanese

Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Asian Studies students…

  • Improve foreign language skills
  • Gain awareness of the major discipline from a different scholarly tradition
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Gain research skills from field studies or work with primary sources
  • Expand cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills
  • Prepare for an increasingly diverse and international workplace

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Asian Studies department?

  • Enroll at a study center for U.S./international students or direct enroll at an Asian University campus
  • Field study programs with opportunities to engage in research with the local community
  • Programs that offer an opportunity for independent study research
  • Programs that offer an opportunity for an internship or experiential learning embedded in an academic course as part of the program

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Asian Studies prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • Develop language skills
  • Build networks abroad and a foundation for post-graduate opportunities, such as Fulbright and other grants and fellowships
  • Provide opportunities for depth and breadth of study beyond what is available locally and develop cross-cultural communication skills

Which requirements can Asian Studies majors fulfill while off campus?

  • Elective major credit
  • Preliminary research for senior thesis
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Planning Tips

As a general rule of thumb, the Asian Studies Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus.

  • Students should enroll in ASNS 160 Introduction to Asian Studies by the end of their second year.
  • Students should enroll in Chinese or Japanese as soon as possible to complete the two year requirement prior to off-campus studies, if possible.
  • Asian Studies majors may opt to study abroad in the fall semester, spring semester or for the full academic year in consultation with the major adviser.

Credit Limitations

The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Asian Studies major from off campus studies (including credits from other U.S. institutions) is 17 credits with the approval of your major adviser.

Be aware that language courses and other courses transferred from U.S. institutions toward the major requirements are counted in the 17 credit limit.

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Asian Studies department?

Asian studies majors may opt to study in China or Japan for cultural and linguistic immersion in the language they have taken at Whitman or they may broaden their knowledge of Asia for comparative purposes by studying in a different country of the region.

  • IES Beijing:  Language Intensive (China)
  • IES Beijing:  Contemporary Issues (China)
  • CIEE Shanghai:  China in a Global Context (China)
  • SIT India:  Sustainable Development and Social Change (Jaipur)
  • IES Delhi, India
  • SIT Indonesia:  Arts, Religion and Social Change (Bali)
  • Associated Kyoto Program (Kyoto, Japan)
  • Kansai Gaidai University (Osaka, Japan)
  • CIEE Seoul:  Arts and Science at Yonsei University (Korea)
  • SIT Nepal:  Development and Social Change (Kathmandu)
  • CIEE Taipei:  Intensive Language and Culture (Taiwan)
  • CIEE Khon Kaen:  Development and Globalization (Thailand)
  • SIT Vietnam:  Culture, Social Change and Development (Ho Chi Minh City)

Advising Support

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.