East Asia as a region has grown tremendously in recent years, both economically and culturally.
China has been thought to be one of the most rapidly increasing economies in the world, while Japan and South Korea are amassing large international interest because of pop culture. In addition, North Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are influential powers that have shaped the modern world. Through political turmoil and economic miracles, the region has prospered to be one of the most influential regions in the world.
Due to a general lack of education in many high schools regarding East Asia, there is a misconception that the culture is relatively homogenous among the East-Asian region. However, all countries within the region have complex political and economical systems, as well as drastically different cultures. This is highlighted and explored in each of the East Asia area courses.
Many believe that many students choose this area because of the rise of pop cultures such as Kpop, Anime, and C-dramas. This might be an accurate estimate, however, it’s important to note that even if the interest stems from pop culture, you will learn many new interesting facets of East-Asia that will make you even more fascinated by the region. We also go beyond the common ‘orientalist’ stereotypes that shape our view of the region, and that are often perpetuated by western cultural products.
The three languages that are offered in this region are Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. As they consist of entirely new scripts, unfamiliar to non-East Asian speakers, learning any of these languages requires a lot of effort. Hence, this can be quite challenging so keep this in mind when choosing this area. However, learning such a completely new language is also lots of fun and the teachers are really nice! Additionally, because of the large East Asian community here in Europe and in the Netherlands, you can easily practice your language skills.
Learning about a completely different region from what we are used to is an amazing opportunity. Especially since East Asia is becoming more and more the forefront of the world stage, it will be beneficial for you and your future to learn more about this region.
We hope that you will make a choice that suits you the best and wish you all the best in your future endeavours! Whether you want to specialize in this area or not, if you would like to know more about East Asian culture, do not hesitate to join the many East Asia Committee events such as our movie nights!
by the East Asia Committee.
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