Asian Conversations

Spring Exhibit in Response to “Lost in Asia” ©2020 by Kasha Joy Mouacheupao ’22, Daisy Torres ’22, and Mei Kreibich ’22

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From politics to pop culture, economics to the environment, never has Asia been more important to the world, as we embrace an increasingly interconnected and globalized 21st century.  Asian Conversations (ASCON) seeks motivated and adventurous students who are interested in joining a high-impact learning community about Asia, along with a sequence of Chinese or Japanese language study for their first two years of college.  The program is dedicated to provide students with a comprehensive global perspective with exceptional disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches on Asia (such as art, history, linguistics, literature, political science, and religion) as well as a faculty-led experiential interim to China and Japan during the sophomore year.  Students from all academic backgrounds and pathways are welcome, as long as they are committed to the study of Asia.  Asian Conversations highlights critical thinking, inclusive conversation, and cross-disciplinary collaboration in the better understanding of not only Asian languages and societies but also the development of our students to become skillful, thoughtful, and impactful global citizens.

Big Pictures

  1. This program fosters community and collaborative work through discussion and reflection, equipping students with the critical tools to exercise and recognize their personal agency.
  2. This guided academic experience of living and studying in Asia will enable and encourage students to continue to pursue long-term academic and professional opportunities in Asia.

Intended Learning Outcomes (IOLs)

In addition to mastering the “First-Year Seminar” and “Writing & Rhetoric” components, students will demonstrate:

  1. Appreciation for how integrating language and culture in the study of Asia grounds more advanced work related to Asia.
  2. Basic knowledge of Asia, centering on China and Japan yet including other countries, cultures, and communities.
  3. Ability to pursue interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Asia.
  4. Writing as a way to discover their own “voice,” to clarify ideas, integrate and make coherent the interplay between experience and idea.
  5. Practicing different communication techniques for interaction, negotiating, research, and presentation.
  6. Intentional reflection upon their experiences and themselves in relation to the culture/country they study by creating a portfolio that demonstrates knowledge, integrative, cultural and reflexive skills.
  7. Not only cultural and linguistic proficiencies, important as they are, but empathy: an ability to understand what it is like to be “them” in their cultural context and what it is like to be “us” in “their” eyes.

Applying

Language is important to our exploration, especially the study-abroad experience.  Incoming first year students who are interested in studying Chinese or Japanese are eligible for the program.  Alongside “First Year Seminar” and “Writing and Rhetoric,” ASCON students are required to take Chinese and/or Japanese during their first year.  If students have previous language experiences, they will need to complete the Chinese Placement Exam or the Japanese Placement Exam.  If they test into second year level or higher, they will need to continue with their language study in the respectively placed class.

In their sophomore year, students will continue with their language study (two Chinese or Japanese classes – 231/232 or higher) as well as the experiential January Interim and the reflective seminar in the Spring.

Please contact Professor Ka Wong, Director of Asian Conversations (wongk@stolaf.edu), about your interest and inquiries.

Asian Conversations alumni: keep up with the department by liking our Facebook page!