Asian Studies is an interdisciplinary program that offers students valuable insight into one of the most dynamic and important areas of the world. The program offers a wide range of courses in the fields of history, philosophy, visual studies, politics, religion, anthropology, and foreign languages. Students who major or minor in Asian Studies are able to focus on a specific geographic region, such as China, Japan, or India, or a particular topic, such as history or religion. Students also have the option to graduate with a minor in Chinese language or concentrations in either Chinese or Japanese languages. Asian Studies is an especially popular discipline for students considering careers in education, business, international relations, communications, or economics, or who wish to pursue graduate degrees in the humanities and social sciences.
Lake Forest College has a long tradition of off-campus study in Asia. The College runs a popular semester program at Peking University in Beijing, where students further their language instruction and learn first-hand about Chinese history and culture. In the last few years, several outstanding Lake Forest students have been awarded prestigious Chinese Government Scholarships to cover their expenses on this program. Students are also encouraged to take part in the study abroad programs to India that are offered through the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) consortium, or the exchange programs to Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia.
The city of Chicago becomes an extended classroom for many courses in Asian Studies. Students have analyzed Silk Road art objects in the collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, toured the Japanese garden and teahouse at the Chicago Botanical Gardens, researched the history of Chicago’s Chinatown, and observed ritual practices at local Hindu and Buddhist temples. Students additionally have many opportunities to attend lectures and symposia offered through the ASIANetwork, an organization designed to promote Asian studies in Liberal Arts colleges.