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Photo of students in an Asian Languages and Cultures classroom.

Asian Languages and Cultures

Gain a global view

View videos from Asian Languages and Cultures alumni.

In Asian Languages and Cultures, you’ll study a complex continent—and change your outlook on the world.

Choose from a major or minor in Japanese Language and Culture, Chinese Language and Culture, or Asian Studies, and you’ll learn about the cultural, political, economic, and historical forces that have shaped Asia. From ancient poetry to Weibo and anime, our coursework connects the past with the future. Our professors push beyond an “East” versus “West” binary and guide students to develop a transnational perspective with which to examine race, gender, language, and aesthetics. Learning how this region’s politics have shaped international relations will change your lens. Becoming proficient in these languages will open doors for you in the globe’s second- and third-largest economies.

Our courses

Want to learn about the history of Confucian thought, gender politics in Asia, depictions of race in Japan, or new media in China? Our language classes provide essential communication skills, and our discussion seminars launch creative collaborations as students deepen their understanding of East Asian literature, film, linguistics, music, geography, art history, religion, politics, and anthropology.

Our students are equipped for a broad range of career paths. Recent graduates work in education, international banking and commerce, information technology, law, foreign service, translation, studio and design art, and journalism.

Life after Macalester

  • Recent Employers

    • Abyssal Arts
    • Aihua International Education
    • Amazon
    • Ascend Learning
    • AT&T
    • Ateam
    • Brown University
    • Capcom
    • Cerner Corporation
    • CET Academic Programs
    • Convey, A Sovos Compliance Company
    • Cyber Village Academy
    • Delaware Dept of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
    • Direct Resources Group
    • DJO Global
    • Drip
    • Elite Scholars of China
    • Epic
    • Facebook
    • Fosun Pharma
    • Franklin Precision Industry, Inc.
    • Greenwich Academy
    • Hack Reactor, LLC
    • Hawaii Department of Education
    • Highland Park Montessori School
    • Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET)
    • Japanime Company Ltd.
    • Language Sprout
    • Lerner Publishing Group
    • Medical College of Wisconsin
    • Microsoft Corporation
    • Missionary
    • Nintendo of America
    • Optum (UnitedHealth Group)
    • Oshkosh Corporation (Singapore)
    • Please Touch Museum
    • Pyro Education and Technology Co. Ltd
    • San Francisco Day School
    • United Way of Dane County
    • UnitedHealth Group
    • University of Macau
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Valens Global
    • Warren Yip

  • Recent Graduate Schools

    • Brown University
    • Georgetown University
    • Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies
    • Johns Hopkins University
    • Pennsylvania State University
    • University of Chicago
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    • Yale University

Immerse Yourself

Conversations don’t stop when class ends. Chinese House and Japan House are hubs for cultural activities: you can sample mooncakes during the Moon Festival, learn to make sushi, solve Chinese New Year’s riddles, and sample the art of origami. For up to five students each semester, these houses are home, offering an immersive language and cultural experience that’s ideal for students preparing to study abroad, students who have recently returned, or students simply seeking to improve their language skills. A highly trained native educator lives in each language house on campus.

Join the Community

  • Join the Chinese Culture Club and the Japanese Culture Club—both student-driven organizations—for conversations with native-speaking language partners and activities ranging from calligraphy practice to karaoke nights.
  • Drop by the department for a weekly Chinese tea social.
  • Discuss your life ambitions—and sort out next semester’s schedule—thanks to wisdom you picked up at a department dinner for faculty and students.
  • Think about life after Mac during career workshops. With guidance from our faculty, pursue Critical Language Scholarships in Asia and Mondale Scholarships for Study in Japan.

Our top study away destinations

  • Beijing
  • Hangzhou
  • Kunming
  • Nanjing
  • Shanghai
  • Kyoto
  • Nagoya
  • Osaka
  • Tokyo