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Why study Japanese?

About the program

The Augustana Japanese Program offers three levels of language instruction taught by a native Japanese speaker specializing in language pedagogy. The program focuses on the basic and most important skills needed to communicate in Japanese.

Dr. Mari Nagase and Augustana students participating in the Language and Cultural Enhancement Program on the steps of the Todaiji Temple in Nara, Japan. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Classes are full of opportunities for students to listen to and speak Japanese. All types of instructional technology are utilized to accelerate students' learning: a language lab, computer programs, word processing, as well as audio and video tapes. The program is designed to provide students with the language skills they need to become more confident in speaking Japanese.

Students in the Japanese Program may take advantage of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. Participants may work in Japan in local government or public or private schools on the junior high and high school levels as assistant language teachers.

Augustana's Asian Student Organization brings together students for activities such as Asian Night and foreign language conversation tables at the college's Pagoda House.

Kobe Exchange Program

Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, located in Kobe, Japan, is a school of similar size to Augustana offering a varied program of study to students from across the globe.  As part of an exchange agreement with KCUFSA, Augustana students may enroll in a Spring Trimester equivalent program (April-July in Kobe).  On this program students can participate in an intensive Japanese language immersion program. Students on this program will replace our Spring Term with a Spring Semester in Kobe, taking 9 credits in Japanese. 

For more information, email or call Dr. Mari Nagase, (309) 794-7675.

What Alumni Say

Jacob Gaier '14, applied mathematics, computer science, logic and Japanese, now product consultant at Infogix, Inc., Naperville, Illinois

Augustana's Freistat Center for World Peace offered the Japanese program a grant for a few of us to go to Japan, provided we continued for a second year. So we went to Japan, and I fell in love with it. I thought, "I have
to study here." I studied in Kobe the next year.

Japan is very welcoming to everybody and very willing to help everybody ... willing to help students learn. It's a great cultural immersion. As I was studying, I realized how much of a language nerd I am!... the Japanese minor fell into my lap.

Sara Oesleby '10, Asian studies, history and sociology, now Costume Design Assistant, Los Angeles

When I was looking at colleges, one of the most important things for me was that I could study in Japan. I had fallen in love with the culture in high school and wanted to learn more about it. Augie has an amazing opportunity to study abroad in Japan-as well as other parts of Asia-on Asian Term. We learned about history, art, economics and social structures while actually sitting in the cities we were talking about. Learning
about the Wuchang Uprising while sitting in the square where it was all planned or celebrating National Day in Taiwan with diplomats from other countries are memories that I will never forget. I lived the world as I learned it, and lessons like that don't fade from your memory.

Being able to be immersed in Japanese language and culture for a month during Asian Term was one of my favorite experiences at Augie. I knew I had to pursue a career living and working there after college. After graduation an alumna got me a job teaching English in Tokyo.

While living abroad, I got to experience a different understanding of dress and cultural costume. I loved the colorful Kimono and the technique that goes into making them. I learned about other traditional wear, like Yukata and Jinbe, and was interested to learn more. I found my way into working as a costumer through this interest. I was interested in historical costume and how it is depicted on film.

My experiences living in Japan have given me a unique perspective on what it means to a culture to be accurate with historical costumes. I have a lifelong love of Japan and through my path at Augustana I am able to have a unique perspective on the costumes I design.