Undergraduate Students

Approximately 700 undergraduate students are enrolled in one of EAS’s three Subject POSts. Why choose an EAS Subject POSt? The department asked a few students, and here are their answers:

Elisabeth Cornish

Elisabeth is a fourth year EAS Specialist. She works part-time at the EAS Department, and is a volunteer at the Japan Foundation as a gallery monitor and a Japanese Language TA.ellie

What influenced your decision to declare an EAS Subject POSt?

I had little to no relevant knowledge of East Asia until I serendipitously watched an anime about yōkai (Japanese demons) in the early 2000s; it was set during Edo Period Japan and I was instantly hooked! I kept reading books and renting movies about Edo/Medieval Japan from that point on, and my interest just grew to eventually encompass all aspects of Japanese history – including its links to Korea, Taiwan and China. Choosing EAS as my POSt just made sense!

Is there a subject area within EAS that you are particularly interested in?

I am madly in love with pre-modern Japanese history, although I think mainly about interpersonal relationship decorum and intrigues when I say that. Japanese folklore and language are other passions of mine.

Have you had an opportunity to go on exchange?

Yes! I have spent three consecutive semesters in Tokyo, totaling just about 4 months shy of two years abroad. I spent the summer semester at Nihon University, doing an intensive Japanese Language course, and from there I went on to Waseda University for the regular two semester academic year, combining language courses and regular transferable courses!

Have you integrated language study into your program? If so, in which language and at what level did you begin?

I began studying Japanese in first year from scratch, with Komuro-Lee sensei as my professor. She really motivated me to learn more and more each day, and I can thank her for the speed at which I learned during first year! I then did my second and third year equivalence while I was in Tokyo.

Do you have any advice for first or second-year EAS students?

There is so much I want to say. First, going on an exchange, even a summer program, is the best experience you can give yourself during your undergraduate career. Academically, socially, and professionally, living and studying in Tokyo was one of the most rewarding challenges I have had to face. Second, I want to stress how versatile an EAS degree is, and how broad your options are once you graduate.
If experiencing EAS for myself has taught me anything, it’s that opportunities just arose from immersing myself in what I love. The Department also has plenty of resources (and wonderful staff!) to broaden your horizons right here on campus. Finally, there are EASSU events, which give students from across the program countless chances to make friends, discover mutual interests, discuss new ideas, or at the very least eat delicious food!

Ruth Santos

Ruth is a fourth-year student completing a double-major in East Asian studies and
Linguistics. She is the current president of the East Asian Studies Student Union (EASSU).%e6%9c%aa%e5%91%bd%e5%90%8d

What influenced your decision to declare an EAS Subject POSt?

Growing up, I’ve been particularly influenced by my older brother. He is a U of T alumnus so I chose to pursue my studies at U of T. When he took Japanese during his undergrad, he told me that Japanese language courses only counted toward the EAS major or specialist so I initially declared the EAS subject POSt in order to take Japanese. However, the more EAS courses I took, the more I grew to love EAS. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in Japan so declaring the EAS subject POSt is definitely a decision I don’t regret.

Is there a subject area within EAS that you are particularly interested in?

I’ve mainly focused on modern Japanese history and Imperial Japan. I would also like to learn more about Colonial Korea and North Korea.

Have you had an opportunity to go on exchange?

Unfortunately, I never went on an exchange during my time at U of T but I always wanted to do one. I would have gone to Japan if I had.

Have you integrated language study into your program? If so, in which language and at
what level did you begin?

Yes, I’ve learned Japanese which I began at level 1 with EAS120. I’m currently taking accelerated Korean I and II (EAS211).

Do you have any advice for first or second-year EAS students?

DO YOUR READINGS. I especially recommend reading Edward Said’s Orientialism in its entirety. It’ll help set the foundation to the rest of your EAS study as well as it is completely relevant in today’s discourses. ALSO, JOIN EASSU. EASSU is an excellent way to get involved in the department and get to know faculty and make friends. If not through EASSU, don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and reach out to professors and grad students to engage in friendly dialogue. The members of the faculty are human too so they’re your best source for guidance through your EAS journey.

Yoojin Shin

Yoojin is a fourth-year student completing her major in East Asian Studies. She is also the Vice President of the East Asian Studies Student Union. yoojin

What influenced your decision to declare an EAS Subject POSt?

I chose to major in EAS to learn more about where I came from. Being raised in Canada, I had little knowledge of my birth country. It was only natural for me to develop a keen interest to explore East Asian Studies as I was eager to understand my own ethnic background. Although I was influenced by my origin to study EAS, I began to equally love and enjoy learning about China and Japan.

Is there a subject area within EAS that you are particularly interested in?

My major focus has been on Colonial Korea and Pre-modern Japan. But, I am also interested in Modern China.

Have you had an opportunity to go on exchange?

Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to go on an exchange. I would love to study in South Korea.

Have you integrated language study into your program? If so, in which language and at what level did you begin?

I studied Mandarin- Modern Standard Chinese 1 with Wang laoshi as my professor. The course was very interactive and fun!

Do you have any advice for first or second-year EAS students?

Take detailed lecture and reading notes! This will help you make connections between different courses, especially when you are taking more courses in your upper years. Even today, I sometimes refer back to my first and second year notes. And also get involved in campus life! University is not only about pursing your academic interests, but it is also about discovering who you are as a person. By making connections with students and professors from different backgrounds, you will have valuable opportunities to broaden your perspective.

Natsuhi Yasuda

Natsuhi is a third-year student minoring in East Asian Studies. She is also the Events Coordinator of EASSU. 

What influenced your decision to declare an EAS Subject POSt?

I have never thought of minoring in East Asian Studies in my first year. However, I changed my mind after taking EAS103 and EAS105 where I was interested in how western world viewed China, Japan and Korea.

Is there a subject area within EAS that you are particularly interested in?

I am particularly interested in how modernism tied to East Asian Countries in cultural, political and economic aspects. EAS396 and EAS333 are courses that I am currently taking that cover extremely well on modernism.

Have you had an opportunity to go on exchange?

Yes. Although I studied at National University of Singapore, I took courses that were on the relationship between Singapore and all three countries.

Have you integrated language study into your program? If so, in which language and at what level did you begin?

I have not taken any language courses however I am currently taking a course on Korean Literature.

Do you have any advice for first or second-year EAS students?

I strongly suggest you to take EAS courses that are focused on different areas to have a wider perspective on East Asian Studies. Also, for any support please get in touch with EASSU. EASSU hosts social and academic events that you should check out!