Advice for students choosing a Uni – East Asian Studies?

So I’ve been attending Japanese/East Asian talks at different universities to find out which one is right for me and let me tell you IT’S WORTH IT. Teachers drill it into you (at least mine do) how important it is to look round every uni you’re considering  as a lot of the time you’ll be surprised, and they’re right. Uni’s might teach the same subjects but they are definitely taught differently. In my case I was looking for East Asian Studies specifically Japanese AND Korean because I have still yet to decide which I am really set on. I KEEP SWITCHING OKAY! And my personal statement must be done in a couple of weeks…bloody hell.

So my advice, if it wasn’t obvious enough, is to find out the open days of every uni you’re considering and attend.the.relevant.talks. This applies to all subjects, not only EAS, however, since I’m taking EAS I’m going to refer to it throughout this post now. I attended the talks of both Sheffield and Leeds and I’m going to compare them as an example.

Just to make sure before I start, this is my opinion completely, it isn’t a fact and I shouldn’t need to clarify this but of course, on the internet its necessary to avoid misinterpretations SO:

Uni of Sheffield – teaches both Japanese and Korean (both languages can be paired with other subjects) and the talk was a general EAS talk covering Japanese, Korean and Chinese. The head of the Japanese talk and the head of the Korean talk were present at the time of my talk and they were both fantastic! Yep, they had a power point but knew exactly how to ‘work’ it, not relying on it too much at all, they simply used it as a starter for each section and had no problem talking to us, the small group that was there. I believe H.Dobson is the name of the head of the Japanese department and he led the talk – he ran it beautifully, the presentation, the casual way he delivered the talk and the humor as well. It was all fantastic, great content, great answering of queries, great delivery. His co-presenter, the head of the Korean department also delivered her side of the talk very well. It wasn’t split into two parts, but rather they both delivered together which was really efficient. Sheffield sends their EAS students abroad in their 3rd year.

Not one part of this talk bored me and even afterwards they suggested, if people had more questions, that we talk outside as they talk had finished, however unfortunately I had to meet the friend I was with so I didn’t get the chance. They provided us with literature, info about the talk and email addresses for more questions which I made good use of – I enjoyed the talk so much that I even emailed them with my questions and had to mention that I wanted to sit in there all day and talk about the course. Sheffield sold it to me. Just brilliant.

Uni of Leeds – teaches only Japanese and Chinese for EA but again they can be paired with other subjects for dual honours. I have to admit, I was slightly more bored with this talk. It was specifically for Japanese, not any other language and it was run by a foreign European woman and a native Japanese woman. During the talk the European tutor basically read straight off the slide show, all the information was on there and I didn’t particularly find her delivery of the course very engaging. After which the native Japanese tutor explained her part but admitted most of it had been covered. I got the feeling that despite presenting this every year they probably hadn’t been prepared. I felt like Leeds was trying to sell itself a bit too obviously at this point due to the presentation of statistics and there was a lot of commenting on why they thought their system worked best. However I enjoyed myself quite a bit more when a 4th year student came in to talk to us, she was very social and engaging and we clarified a few questions everyone had with her which was very helpful.

It was mentioned that Leeds actually sends students to Japan in their 2nd year unlike a lot of universities who send their students in the 3rd year. This was was because they felt that students benefited a lot from the rapid expansion of vocab and speaking skills picked up abroad which made it easier for students to come back and finish their second half of uni in England. Apparently, it’s easier to work on future preparations and workloads when you do not have reverse culture shock to deal with which is completely true and well said.

I was expecting Leeds to have a really mind-blowing EAS talk but I admittedly I was a little disappointed. Overall, like I said before, I was in love with Sheffield the minute I stepped into that room. The way they presented was just fantastic and its definitely going to be my first choice no matter what whether I take Japanese or Korean.  So as demonstrated in this post, no talk is going to be the same in one uni as it will be in another! Make sure you do your research first! You do not want to be stuck in a uni you hate.

BOOM! Hope this post helped at least a little! And enjoy your open days!

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