I became interested in East Asia in High School when I started reading Japanese literature (in translation!). My interest in the literature led me to start Japanese language classes during my freshman year. In addition, I signed up for the Center for East Asian Studies’ (CEAS) newsletter.
Honestly, I never expected to wind up as an EALC major but taking Japanese at Penn as well as taking additional EALC classes solidified my interest in the area. Early on I found CEAS to be a very valuable resource. Going to additional lectures and having a place to discuss my options when it came to studying East Asia really encouraged me to pursue my interest at an academic level. In addition, the CEAS events that I attended allowed me to learn more about China, North and South Korea, and Taiwan; countries that I hadn’t really focused on up till then. When I went abroad to Japan during the summer of my sophomore year, CEAS was a great tool in getting funding and making sure I was all set to travel abroad. Overall, CEAS is a great resource for all students studying East Asia and I highly recommend any of their events or even just dropping in for a chat about academic options, studying abroad, events at Penn and in the Philly area, or just East Asia in general.