Because Manhattanville believes a liberal arts education today should afford students the opportunity to explore and understand the non-western world, it has developed a program emphasizing the languages and cultures of Asia. The increasing importance of this region makes it imperative that students acquire a greater understanding of the ways of life of more than half of humanity. The program offers language courses in Chinese and Japanese as well as courses on the history, religions, and literature of China and Japan. The program also draws on courses dealing with Asia offered by such departments as art history, political science, religion, and sociology. Field trips to New York City, especially its museums, are a vital part of the program. Participation in internships and study abroad programs is encouraged.
Japan is a country rich in ancient culture and tradition, but it also has the contemporary world’s second largest and most prosperous economy and is a world-wide model for efficiently-run companies that market their products globally. Additionally, Japan is the successful cultural exporter of origami, sushi, anime, manga, karaoke, martial arts and Hello Kitty. There are thus many reasons to learn Japanese. Japanese language study at Manhattanville is usually offered through the intermediate level (enrollment permitting). Courses in Japanese can be used as part of the Asian Studies major or minor.