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Chinese

The Breakdown

The Great Wall. The Forbidden City. The giant panda. From its vast landmarks to its adorable animals (and the adjectives attributed to them), China certainly provides both history and intrigue in spades. And with a booming population and growing economy, there’s no question that the country is becoming a major player on the world’s stage. If you’ve always been taken with Chinese culture, then perhaps this is the major you seek!

As a Chinese major, you’ll certainly have your fair share of classes focusing on conversation, composition and grammar. Fortunately, studying a language at the collegiate level goes far beyond those brick and mortar lessons. Indeed, you will be exposed to the culture, art and history of China. You’ll be able to study everything from the Terra Cotta Warriors found in the Shaanxi Province to the films of Wong Kar-wai. Perhaps most exciting, you will likely have the opportunity to study abroad. And there’s no better way to learn a language than total immersion!

Should you decide to study Chinese, you’ll need the patience and the fortitude required to achieve proficiency (not to mention fluency) in a foreign language. It also helps to have a good ear for accents and an appreciation for the nuances of grammar. Moreover, when studying another culture, it’s best to maintain an open mind. Finally, we recommend researching good wonton recipes (simply because they are delicious).

Nuts and Bolts

Don’t fret; Chinese majors don’t spend all of their time conjugating verbs. While grammar is certainly a part and parcel for the department, you’ll enroll in a variety classes designed to address all aspects of Chinese culture and history. Courses might include: Introduction to Classical Chinese, Advanced Chinese I, Chinese-English Translation and Interpreting, Confucian Classics, Foreigners in Imperial China, Modernizing the Chinese Language, Food in Chinese Culture, Post-Mao Chinese Urban Culture and Arts, Modern China in Film and Fiction, Classic Religious Texts: Taoism, US China Relations and Chinese Calligraphy.

Decisions, Decisions

Chinese majors love to learn about different countries and cultures, from languages to literature and all topics in between. Therefore, they might also think about studying French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, English, Hebrew, Portuguese, art history, international business, political science, East Asian studies, international relations, Slavic studies, Latin American studies, African studies and anthropology.

What's Next

You might not believe it but as a Chinese major you’ll be uniquely positioned. Indeed, the writing and critical thinking skills you’ll hone coupled with the international savvy acquired through studying another culture make you quite marketable, especially as China continues to expand as a global economic force. And while teaching and translation are common, noble and attainable positions, you will discover that you are not limited to those two professions. Certainly, many graduates find positions with Chinese-owned companies involved in a variety of different industries. Others might seek employment in international education or with study abroad companies. A handful of Chinese majors also land jobs with NGOs, doing aid work within China and other Asian countries. The foreign service is another attractive route as is international business. Lastly, the tourism and hotel industries are popular, as they allow for a high degree of interaction with international clients.


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