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After Whitman

Many of the recent graduates of the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies program have pursued careers in Asia. Currently, alumni are pursuing post-graduate work in Sri Lanka, working for a company in Japan, and teaching English in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China.


  • CRCC Asia, Global Director of Institutional Relations
  • U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer
  • Wei Jingsheng Foundation, Cyber Threat Analyst

Graduate Studies

Institute of World Politics, Masters in International Politics

What Our Alumni Say

Matthew Rowett ’12“As a former Asian Studies Major at Whitman, I focused on contemporary Chinese Politics and history—knowledge that I am still using today when presenting to University students and faculty worldwide. Whitman’s Asian Studies program allowed me to forge my own path, based on my interests, and has ultimately allowed me to fall into an ideal China-focused career. After graduating from Whitman, I received the fantastic opportunity to work in China through the Whitman In China Program, teaching at Yunnan University in Kunming. After 2 years in Kunming, I returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I started working with CRCC Asia leveraging my years of Chinese and my entire Asian Studies Experience.”

Matthew Rowett ’12

Jessica Martinez ’09“I think the [Asian Studies] major at Whitman helped me to approach living and working in Japan without falling into many of the intellectual pitfalls that westerners are prone to. I’m about to complete my 7th year of working in Japan. After teaching in Nagoya and Osaka, I moved to Tokyo this year, where I am doing translation and other administrative duties as part of the International Projects Division of an engineering consulting company. As the company is involved in ODA projects in a number of countries in Asia and worldwide, I am able to use a lot of knowledge and skills gained from my studies at Whitman, as well as further learn about Asia.”

Jessica Martinez ’09

“I participated in the Associated Kyoto Program and returned to Japan within a year after graduating. I first lived in Nagoya, where I worked for several years as an assistant English teacher in public junior high schools, a position similar to one held by those who travel to Japan as part of the JET Programme. I loved being immersed in the school environment and found myself wanting to get more involved with the students. From there, I moved to Kyoto, to become a full-time teacher in the English Department at a private junior/senior high school with a high percentage of students who have returned from living abroad, not just in English-speaking countries. While the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages is only vaguely related to my thesis research, I believe that my degree at Whitman prepared me for my work with students and colleagues promoting cultural understanding and globalization in Japan.”

Jill Morita ’09

“My Asian Studies major has helped me immensely as it forced me to expand my focus from solely Japan to another country and thematic issues. I ended up studying abroad in Sri Lanka and Japan, following my semester in Japan with an internship in the Consulate in Osaka. I took a variety of courses on Asian religions, art and sociology, all of which counted towards the major. In the State Department, you become an expert when you walk in the door to a new job. I walked into my first job at State covering the Arabian peninsula, but I knew how to get to know these countries from the way the major is designed; I read up on Islam, region politics and more.”

Elizabeth Streett ’06

Oliver Orion ’05“[The Asian Studies] program really enriched my time at Whitman… I ended up double-majoring in Asian Studies and Theatre and have somehow managed a life that embraces both. I teach theatre in Cairo, Egypt and apply the knowledge and skills I learned in theatre with a cultural literacy that the Asian Studies program afforded me in creating work that engages with the community and cross-cultural issues.”

Oliver Orion ’05

“The Asian Studies program immersed me in East Asian philosophy, history, politics, art, and religion. In China and Taiwan, I studied Chinese. My ability to speak, read, and write Chinese kept me employed through the recent recession. I continue to study Chinese as I pursue a master’s degree in international affairs. Most importantly, the Asian Studies program opened the door to the rich heritage of an ancient culture. That culture and its wisdom have enriched my life.”

Nicholas Zifcak ’05

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