SophieX

East Asian Languages and Culture/Literature 2017

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Hi all! Wondering if there is anyone out there applying to EALC/EALL/other PhD's (or MA's) for Fall 2017 (ish)? I admit I've started my applications pretty late in the game, so was hoping to connect with anyone going through this. I have gone through past topics (EALC 2016 and East Asian Studies 2015) and both were very helpful, but it can't hurt to have some more updated information injected onto these boards. I'm also very willing to connect with anyone in PhD programs already!

A little about me: I graduated in 2010 with a BA in EALL from Washington and Lee University (with minors in creative writing and dance)  and received my MA in International Studies (with a focus on Chinese studies) from Johns Hopkins SAIS in 2013. Since then, I've worked in the non-profit sector in West China and NYC, and taught Mandarin (various positions, but I got an excellent experience as a lecturer of Chinese at a small liberal arts university, taught my first and only class of CHIN102 and loved it!). I want to apply to PhD programs in Chinese or EALL/EALC with the goal of becoming a professor of Chinese language and culture. My interests include: Chinese pedagogy, Translation history and theory, Microtranslations (subtitle translation), Modern Chinese history, Overseas Chinese history, Chinese American history, Chinese Humor in Pop Culture, Literature, and History

The schools I'm looking at are: Columbia, Stanford, UC Berkeley, U Illinois - Urbana Champaign, UPenn, U Indiana Bloomington, SUNY Binghamton (translation studies PhD), Yale, and U Chicago --- (Also I am applying to the Columbia MFA writing program with special interest in their Literary Translation at Columbia focus)

So far, I've gotten my recommendations down, GRE finished, and transcripts ordered -- but not much else. I've barely contacted any POI's and my writing samples/essays are all drafts of drafts. The first deadline I have is December 6th (Stanford), so it's time to buckle down... Although- this is giving me harsh flashbacks of applying to colleges over a decade ago... which is why I hope to connect with some people, so we can struggle through this whole thing together! 

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This is so bizarre, I've been lurking in old EALC threads & researching schools for the last few hours!! I've been hoping for a few months that someone would make a new thread for this year...GradCafe has been by far the most helpful site I've come across in my grad school research, so major props to everyone here!

I'm thinking about applying for Fall 2018, so I hope I'm still allowed to join in and ask questions!:unsure: I graduted in 2012 with a BA in History/Asian Studies and a minor in Japanese Studies. Spent 2 years with JET after graduatation and another ~1.5 at a Japanese university. Came back in April and I'm still adjusting and trying to figure things out. I'm certain that I want to learn more, but I'm not gonna lie--the PhD process is intimidating. I'm interested in pre-modern Japanese history (esp. medieval) and interactions between Buddhism & Shinto!

I'm excited to hear about everyone's experiences & best of luck! Nice to meet you:)

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Took me long enough to write back....whew! How are you doing? You must have been able to cross a few applications off your list by now, right? What schools have you decided to apply to?

I'm definitely looking at MA and PhD programs...right now I think that an MA might be the best for me beacuse I'm not sure I want to continue to a PhD. But that could change! I kind of want to test the waters with an MA. If/when I apply I think I'll probably do a few of each. Some of the schools I'm most interested in are Harvard, UBC, Columbia, Berkeley, UCLA, and U of Chicago. There are others too I think but those ones come to mind, and UBC really interests me because one of the professor's specialty aligns really well with my potential research interests!

Hope the application process istreating you well so far!

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(I hope you guys don't mind my posting this here!)

 

Hi guys! I’m currently finishing up undergrad at Rutgers U. in New Brunswick, having majored in East Asian Languages and Area Studies (Chinese focus) and History. I am currently working on my senior thesis, which will be done in the next few months. I hope that this is adequate research experience for at least an MA, though my ultimate goal is a Ph.D in Premodern (especially Song-Yuan) Chinese history, which I would plan to use to get a job as a professor. As far as language skills are concerned, I’ve taken Chinese for 3 of the 4 years of my undergraduate program, skipping the last year (i.e., this year) because I spent the summer of 2016 studying Chinese at ICLP in Taiwan and had, essentially, progressed to a point where my university language courses, which aren’t particularly rigorous (they only meet twice per week at the upper levels - three times per week during the first two years), were no longer of much use. Still, with no background in Japanese, and Chinese that, when I studied at ICLP, had only reached the level of students that had studied there for a full year (they offer an entire year after that before their classes cap out), I’m worried that weak language skills might seriously hurt my application. From having spoken with students that took the additional year, the training in Classical and Modern Chinese that they received was a serious boon, and has allowed them to read primary documents with reasonable ease of effort.

 

There a few paths forward that I am currently considering. 

 

First: JET Program

 

I’ve applied to and passed the first stage of the JET program admissions process, meaning that I will need to pass an interview next month to be selected and sent to Japan, where I would work as an assistant English teacher in a Japanese school (or schools). I had been considering JET because it would give me significant experience living abroad, give me applicable work experience teaching (which might be useful if I’m called upon to work as a TA, and could be valuable as training for teaching after leaving graduate school in any case), and allow me to avoid hemorrhaging money for a year while I take a break from school. My fear is that taking a year or more to do JET will allow my Chinese skills to regress to a point where I will need to retake a quarter worth of Chinese classes at ICLP or an equivalent program, in addition to the entire year of additional coursework later on if I were to get my Chinese skills to the point that they need to be for primary research. I might gain some knowledge of Japanese along the way, as well, though this isn’t really a primary consideration - I doubt I’ll learn a truly significant amount. (Perhaps I’m wrong)

 

Second: Return to ICLP 

 

Alternately, I had been considering returning to ICLP in order to complete the additional year of language training now, before I would enroll in graduate school. I would not need to take on debt to do this, though adding a fifth quarter if I were to regress while, say, doing JET, I might need to borrow a few thousand dollars. (I would apply to MA/Ph.D. programs in the fall, while in Taiwan) I believe that this might strengthen my application, as it would require less funding from any graduate program I would enroll in for language study (I would already need, if I understand correctly, to learn Japanese in graduate school in order to work with Japanese secondary sources, which would obviously take time and cost money), and I would not need to spend a year or more away working on foundational language skills for my area of interest, premodern Chinese History. 

 

If my assumption that my current language skills are inadequate to gain me admission to a good Ph.D. program directly from undergrad is correct, this seems like it might be a good way to address this defect. On the other hand, many people pursue terminal MAs, some of which have funding, before going on to a Ph.D. My question is: Would trying to get into a terminal MA program while doing JET for a year be a good path for me? Can a terminal MA sufficiently address the deficiencies in my language skills to be considered for a top Ph.D. program? Are there other deficiencies that I should be seriously concerned about with my application?

 

Essentially, I’m hoping that some of you can give me some guidance as to what my current chances of getting into a top-20 Ph.D. program would be on the basis of the information given in this this post. (I don’t have GRE scores yet - still need to take them) Is it worth it to spend money improving my Chinese skills in Taiwan for a year? Would it be better to do JET while applying to graduate school, with the hope of improving my language skills for free while in graduate school? 

 

(Sorry if there are any spelling or grammar mistakes - I didn’t proofread this very thoroughly)

Edited by archimon

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Ah this looks like the place to be! I have an offer for an MA East Asian Studies in Canada, focussing on medieval Chinese literature. Just waiting on full details, but if I get funding then I'll definitely accept.

@archimon what HSK are you? It sounds like your modern Mandarin should be fine, you just need to work on your Classical skills. I'm in roughly the same boat (my Classical is okay with dictionary use, but I can't read fluently), but MA programs should give you the opportunity to improve your Classical and pick up your next research language - Japanese usually, although you may want to consider Classical Mongolian for Yuan studies, that's what I'm doing. I would recommend a 1-2 year MA, but if you're really worried about your modern (not Classical) Chinese then you could return to Taiwan for a year, or pursue a PRC government scholarship and go to the mainland for a while.

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55 minutes ago, qkhitai said:

Ah this looks like the place to be! I have an offer for an MA East Asian Studies in Canada, focussing on medieval Chinese literature. Just waiting on full details, but if I get funding then I'll definitely accept.

@archimon what HSK are you? It sounds like your modern Mandarin should be fine, you just need to work on your Classical skills. I'm in roughly the same boat (my Classical is okay with dictionary use, but I can't read fluently), but MA programs should give you the opportunity to improve your Classical and pick up your next research language - Japanese usually, although you may want to consider Classical Mongolian for Yuan studies, that's what I'm doing. I would recommend a 1-2 year MA, but if you're really worried about your modern (not Classical) Chinese then you could return to Taiwan for a year, or pursue a PRC government scholarship and go to the mainland for a while.

I'd certainly be interested to hear if you receive funding! Seems like funded MA programs are difficult to come by. Anyway, my impressions has been that my modern Mandarin is actually not good enough yet, and certainly not good enough for a Ph.D. program to take me with funding. You're quite right to point out that Classical Chinese is the most obvious deficiency I face at the moment, but I would actually be working on classical and modern Chinese simultaneously in Taiwan, so that doesn't really seem to be a reason to go for an MA first.

 

Edit: I've actually never taken the HSK, but I'd guess probably between HSK 4 and 5.

Edited by archimon

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I'm pretty hopeful. I talked to the department and there seems to be a lot of money going around, in either internal scholarships or TAships. I'm still waiting to hear though; I got an informal 'you got in' last week and today the website tells me I have a place (conditional on receiving my end of year results), but I'm waiting for full info on the offer and any funding.

My experience is with the UK system, so it may be a little different, but I've heard mixed things in general about additional language training post-BA, pre-PhD. Some professors have recommended it, others have said you can pick it up along the way, some have done it themselves, others haven't bothered/needed to. If you have HSK 5/6 then you just need more exposure to the kind of Chinese used in your field, which is gained from experience working with relevant materials, rather than more classes. If you're only at HSK 4 proficiency then yes, extra language training is definitely required for a PhD. We typically don't go straight from BA to PhD here anyway though. MA's are considered the time to begin working on your research languages, whilst preparing you for a PhD. Maybe because that's how we do it I'm a little biased/ignorant of the American way.

My reason for recommending an MA over going back to Asia is simply that you only need to be 'in country' if you don't have a solid grounding in the language, or need to get your speaking/listening up to scratch. If you just need to work on Classical and modern reading, you don't really need to be in China, and you can pursue both of those during an MA, which will also have many other benefits. But if you have good funding to go to Taiwan (we have something called BACS here that funds language programs in Taiwan; I imagine the US has similar organisations), then that might be a great opportunity. That being said, there are plenty of MA programs (outside the US) that offer intensive Classical training, additional Chinese classes and even ab initio Japanese for research purposes. My point is that an MA is definitely an option for you and not an avenue you should close off. Take some time (if you haven't already) to look into programs and see what's available, especially abroad. Even if you did do language training in Asia, you still might have to do an MA afterwards anyway to get onto a PhD program.

Both are good options, language training and an MA; both also dependant on money. If you have funding to go to Taiwan (sorry I didn't see that the first time I read through your post; seems like you have money for it?) and can't find MA funding right now, then by all means go to Taiwan; you've nothing to lose. If I don't do an MA this year I'm planning on returning to Asia myself (for Mongolian, rather than Chinese though), before reapplying next year.

Keep us up to date though :) I would also be interested to hear about your research area more, as there may be some overlap with what I do. Always nice to meet another pre-modern scholar.

Edited by qkhitai

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11 hours ago, qkhitai said:

Ah this looks like the place to be! I have an offer for an MA East Asian Studies in Canada, focussing on medieval Chinese literature. Just waiting on full details, but if I get funding then I'll definitely accept.

 

 

Congrats! Can I ask which program? I did my MA in Canada too. :) Just curious! 

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5 hours ago, qkhitai said:

@kyjin Cheers! The program at Alberta.

Oh fantastic! I was there in 2011-2013. :D You're going to love it! They're great with funding, and fully funded most of my cohort. Let me know if you have any questions!

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18 minutes ago, kyjin said:

Oh fantastic! I was there in 2011-2013. :D You're going to love it! They're great with funding, and fully funded most of my cohort. Let me know if you have any questions!

Ah awesome! :D One of my current professors is Canadian (although a McGill guy) and he put me onto it; otherwise I might not even have known about the program. I'll probably have loads of questions once I get my bearings a little. Did you TA at all? That's one thing I'm curious about, because the scholarship is tied to grades and I'm anxious I might not make the cut. I've been warned I may have to teach Chinese language (daunting because I'm not a native), but I'm kind of okay with that. Are TA's expected to just lead seminars/grade papers etc, or do they have to teach full classes/devise syllabi etc? And do they TA in their first semester?

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2 hours ago, qkhitai said:

Ah awesome! :D One of my current professors is Canadian (although a McGill guy) and he put me onto it; otherwise I might not even have known about the program. I'll probably have loads of questions once I get my bearings a little. Did you TA at all? That's one thing I'm curious about, because the scholarship is tied to grades and I'm anxious I might not make the cut. I've been warned I may have to teach Chinese language (daunting because I'm not a native), but I'm kind of okay with that. Are TA's expected to just lead seminars/grade papers etc, or do they have to teach full classes/devise syllabi etc? And do they TA in their first semester?

Yeah, it's kind of a well-kept secret! I found out about it from my undergrad advisor who knew a prof there who ended up being my advisor. Yes, I TAed in my first semester, for an intro East Asian history course. I had a discussion section I led and graded papers. I also had to attend all lectures, and met with the prof and TAs once a week to discuss the course/what we were doing. I believe most of the language TAs for the first semester mainly did grading, but unfortunately I never did that. Some went on to teach full classes in their second year for language. I also got the opportunity to teach a class by myself during the summer session between my first and second year (for extra funding), where I devised the syllabus, led lecture and discussion, did grading, etc. They give you a lot of support there so you should be fine. :D 

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News is in! TAship is guaranteed whatever happens (woo!), but jury is still out on a scholarship. I'm really excited now that it's official! I'm 99% sure I'll take it, but a part of me is still curious as to what else I could do. I haven't applied anywhere else, but many deadlines still have yet to pass outside North America. A lot of people are pressuring me to apply to Oxbridge (including an old mentor now at Cambridge), but I'm still on the fence about that. I also got an email from a professor I was corresponding with last year about a fully funded opportunity in Eurasian Studies. The program isn't a fantastic fit, but as a left-field option it does interest me a lot.

On 01/02/2017 at 4:10 AM, kyjin said:

Yeah, it's kind of a well-kept secret! I found out about it from my undergrad advisor who knew a prof there who ended up being my advisor. Yes, I TAed in my first semester, for an intro East Asian history course. I had a discussion section I led and graded papers. I also had to attend all lectures, and met with the prof and TAs once a week to discuss the course/what we were doing. I believe most of the language TAs for the first semester mainly did grading, but unfortunately I never did that. Some went on to teach full classes in their second year for language. I also got the opportunity to teach a class by myself during the summer session between my first and second year (for extra funding), where I devised the syllabus, led lecture and discussion, did grading, etc. They give you a lot of support there so you should be fine. :D 

That sounds great! Did you have free reign to design that summer class yourself? I'd be stoked to do something like that and bore the pants off some poor undergrads about medieval prosodic patterns :lol: I got a lot more details about the program today and there does seem to be a ton of support (including awards for publishing, which is crazy). At any rate, if first year/semester is just leading seminars and grading then that doesn't sound like too much of a deep end to be thrown into. How many undergraduates are there, roughly do you know? And how far did your TA pay cover you? Tuition is actually surprisingly cheap (I didn't actually check before..), but the campus accommodation is quite pricey it seems.

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19 hours ago, qkhitai said:

News is in! TAship is guaranteed whatever happens (woo!), but jury is still out on a scholarship. I'm really excited now that it's official! I'm 99% sure I'll take it, but a part of me is still curious as to what else I could do. I haven't applied anywhere else, but many deadlines still have yet to pass outside North America. A lot of people are pressuring me to apply to Oxbridge (including an old mentor now at Cambridge), but I'm still on the fence about that. I also got an email from a professor I was corresponding with last year about a fully funded opportunity in Eurasian Studies. The program isn't a fantastic fit, but as a left-field option it does interest me a lot.

That sounds great! Did you have free reign to design that summer class yourself? I'd be stoked to do something like that and bore the pants off some poor undergrads about medieval prosodic patterns :lol: I got a lot more details about the program today and there does seem to be a ton of support (including awards for publishing, which is crazy). At any rate, if first year/semester is just leading seminars and grading then that doesn't sound like too much of a deep end to be thrown into. How many undergraduates are there, roughly do you know? And how far did your TA pay cover you? Tuition is actually surprisingly cheap (I didn't actually check before..), but the campus accommodation is quite pricey it seems.

Congrats! Hmm, I'm not sure about the program at Oxbridge. When's the deadline? You might run into the issue of having to say yes or no to Alberta before you find out from Oxbridge, but I'm not sure what their deadlines are like. Definitely not worth it if they don't provide funding...

I was assigned the topic of the course and given syllabi from previous years to help me build it. Pretty much had free reign with it. I should mention that only one other grad student had a similar opportunity that summer, so not sure how common it is now. 

So Alberta has 31,000 undergrads. The course I TAed for was 130 or so students? Each of the TAs had a little over 40 students that they were responsible. (Numbers are off a bit because people dropped, etc.) My summer course only had 10 people in it, which is pretty common for summer. 

I'm unsure how much standard TA pay is because I was under scholarship too. (I had to TA or RA though) For me, it covered my tuition (which was $9500 a year for international at the time; I think it's gone up a bit since then?) and also gave me $7500 a year for living expenses. I ended up picking up a part-time job in Residence Services for 10 hours a week to help cover expenses not covered by my scholarship. (I was a Tour Guide and Social Media Intern.) Campus accommodations can be pricey (I shared an apartment in Grad Res), but it was very convenient as an international student, especially since the one I was in was fully furnished, so I didn't have to worry about purchasing things only to get rid of them after two years!  I also liked being on campus all the time, especially when it was -20 outside and I needed to scurry to the office...

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Finally found someone applying to the same flied! I also applied to PhD of East Asian Languages and Literature but with a focus on pre-modern Japanese literature. Haven't heard anything from the three schools yet, but good luck to everybody!

Edited by Bec_Edo

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On 03/02/2017 at 2:53 AM, kyjin said:

Congrats! Hmm, I'm not sure about the program at Oxbridge. When's the deadline? You might run into the issue of having to say yes or no to Alberta before you find out from Oxbridge, but I'm not sure what their deadlines are like. Definitely not worth it if they don't provide funding...

I was assigned the topic of the course and given syllabi from previous years to help me build it. Pretty much had free reign with it. I should mention that only one other grad student had a similar opportunity that summer, so not sure how common it is now. 

So Alberta has 31,000 undergrads. The course I TAed for was 130 or so students? Each of the TAs had a little over 40 students that they were responsible. (Numbers are off a bit because people dropped, etc.) My summer course only had 10 people in it, which is pretty common for summer. 

I'm unsure how much standard TA pay is because I was under scholarship too. (I had to TA or RA though) For me, it covered my tuition (which was $9500 a year for international at the time; I think it's gone up a bit since then?) and also gave me $7500 a year for living expenses. I ended up picking up a part-time job in Residence Services for 10 hours a week to help cover expenses not covered by my scholarship. (I was a Tour Guide and Social Media Intern.) Campus accommodations can be pricey (I shared an apartment in Grad Res), but it was very convenient as an international student, especially since the one I was in was fully furnished, so I didn't have to worry about purchasing things only to get rid of them after two years!  I also liked being on campus all the time, especially when it was -20 outside and I needed to scurry to the office...

Cheers! I did a quick bit of math and decided against applying anywhere else. Alberta's offer is too good to refuse really.

Thanks for the info! I was going to say 130 is a big cohort, but I guess if it's Japanese, Chinese and Korean Studies combined it makes sense (it's about 50 tops for each individually here). I've heard some horror stories about the cold weather, so living on campus would definitely be beneficial!

8 hours ago, Bec_Edo said:

Finally found someone applying to the same flied! I also applied to PhD of East Asian Languages and Literature but with a focus on pre-modern Japanese literature. Haven't heard anything from the three schools yet, but good luck to everybody!

Good luck! What period do you work on?

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@qkhitai I work mostly on the Edo period, plus some comparative work with Chinese literature. Haven't heard about anyone who's in the same field as mine this year. So nervous about the results!

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On 2/14/2017 at 11:31 PM, qkhitai said:

Thanks for the info! I was going to say 130 is a big cohort, but I guess if it's Japanese, Chinese and Korean Studies combined it makes sense (it's about 50 tops for each individually here). I've heard some horror stories about the cold weather, so living on campus would definitely be beneficial!

Oh, that's not the cohort size, that's the size of the class I TAed on. Cohorts for the MA range from 4-13 people. (Though from what I've heard it's been on the lower end in recent years.) More of them tend to be for Chinese studies, then Japan, then Korea. 

It's important to remember you only have to deal with the cold for two years; makes it more manageable. That said, do be sure to invest in a decent winter coat (down to your knees at least) for the worst of it. You'll learn the best ways to dive between buildings to avoid being outside as much as possible. Also be sure to invest in some good snow boots; I used to keep an extra pair of shoes in the office to change into. 

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On 15/02/2017 at 0:26 PM, Bec_Edo said:

@qkhitai I work mostly on the Edo period, plus some comparative work with Chinese literature. Haven't heard about anyone who's in the same field as mine this year. So nervous about the results!

Sounds neat! I had a fun time with a paper on Akutagawa and Pu Songling a while ago, but that's more Meiji era I suppose. Let us know how the applications go!

On 19/02/2017 at 1:43 AM, kyjin said:

Oh, that's not the cohort size, that's the size of the class I TAed on. Cohorts for the MA range from 4-13 people. (Though from what I've heard it's been on the lower end in recent years.) More of them tend to be for Chinese studies, then Japan, then Korea. 

It's important to remember you only have to deal with the cold for two years; makes it more manageable. That said, do be sure to invest in a decent winter coat (down to your knees at least) for the worst of it. You'll learn the best ways to dive between buildings to avoid being outside as much as possible. Also be sure to invest in some good snow boots; I used to keep an extra pair of shoes in the office to change into. 

Sorry, I meant the undergrads :lol: I've never had an undergraduate EAS seminar with that many folks (~40) before. Yes you're right, it's only about six-ish MA students admitted per year at Alberta I think. Not too surprising it's a Chinese studies majority; hopefully there are some students doing other things this year coming, I always enjoy chatting to people who do Korean and Japanese.

Well I've spent the last two and a half decades in the UK. Maybe not quite -20 all the time, but I'm not entirely unaccustomed to the cold. I'm sure my family will still freak out and buy me a ton of winter clothing all the same :lol: 

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Hi all,

Just dropping my two cents in.

I have a BA in Asian Studies where I focused on the intersection of colonialism, post-colonialism, and Japan Studies (particularly in the Meiji Period). Finally got the nerve to apply to grad school. Applied to: Stanford, UChicago, and the University of Washington. Got rejected by the Asian Languages & Lit. department at Washington but accepted by the Japan Studies program at the Jackson School of International Studies at UW. Was upset at first but I think it's actually a good match. Anybody else have experience with a similar situation or, even, particularly with the Jackson School of International Studies?

I'm still waiting on UChicago and Stanford. Fingers crossed.

Good luck everyone!

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Hi everyone,

Just introducing myself a bit here--I'm applying to several Master's programs in East Asian Studies with a focus on Japanese literature and media studies. I've gotten really good offers from both McGill and University of Colorado, but have yet to hear back from University of Oregon and Yale. I figure I'll probably hear from them this week, but the wait is excruciating! How's everyone else holding up? Any other UOregon or Yale applicants? 

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20 hours ago, qkhitai said:

Congrats on your acceptances @inoue77 and @melitree12! Lot of Japanese Studies folks here this year it seems, I'm feeling a bit lonely!

Thank you!

Just with skimming the rest of the thread. Medieval Chinese Lit. sounds awesome. Did you do undergrad research on the same topic? If so, what exactly? Curious, are you already in Canada or based elsewhere? And is your offer for Fall admission?

Edited by inoue77

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6 hours ago, inoue77 said:

Thank you!

Just with skimming the rest of the thread. Medieval Chinese Lit. sounds awesome. Did you do undergrad research on the same topic? If so, what exactly? Curious, are you already in Canada or based elsewhere? And is your offer for Fall admission?

Sadly my undergrad program is more focussed on late imperial-modern studies, but I have been able to do my final year dissertation on medieval lit! I mainly work with 'non-Chinese/barbarian' literature in northern China from c.200-c.1300, which is pretty fun. I'm actually a UK student and yes, I'll be attending in the fall ^_^

How does your research work, if you don't mind my asking? Is it mainly looking at Korea/TW if it's Meiji colonial-orientated?

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