Photo of students in an Asian Languages and Cultures classroom.

Asian Languages and Cultures

Gain a global view.

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.

Information on the 28th Central Association of Teachers of Japanese Conference (CATJ 28), hosted at Macalester

Life after Macalester

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.

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