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Senior Profile

Josh Kaplan ‘13 (East Asian Studies major, Japanese minor)

I originally intended to major in English and
Computer Science at Lewis & Clark, but I instantly fell in love with the Japanese language my freshman year. I soon became an East Asian Studies major, which let me study Chinese and Japanese culture in a multi-disciplinary way, through history, literature, religious studies, and sociology and anthropology. After my sophomore year, I attended Middlebury College’s excellent summer intensive language program, where I learned the equivalent of one-year of college Japanese in two short months without speaking English. Shortly after the program, I started a year-long study abroad program at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. During my winter break in Japan, I volunteered at a youth hostel in Nagasaki for a month in exchange for a free stay and occasional food and drink.

Coming back to Lewis & Clark for my senior year, I started working as a student intern at the Office of Overseas and Off-Campus Programs. I also worked with Professor Suttmeier to design guided-study classes for Business Japanese and Preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I passed N2 last year and plan to take N1 soon.
I was accepted into the JET Program as a Coordinator of International Relations (CIR), in which I will live in Japan providing support for foreign nationals, organizing intercultural events, and promoting the local prefecture.. I hope to use my experience in Japan and America and my senior thesis —about anti-nuclear activist movements in the wake of Fukushima— in order to get into a competitive graduate school program, eventually working in international business or education. 

Abby Smith, ‘13 (East Asian Studies major, Japanese minor)

When I entered Lewis & Clark as a freshman in 2009, I had just a year of audited Japanese under my belt, and a lot of excitement for the Japanese program here. Outside of Japanese classes, Lewis & Clark also has a large population of Japanese exchange students, with whom I roomed for all my years at LC, and from whom I learned more than I can say. 

 After a summer on the Middlebury Intensive Language Program (at Monterey Institute of International Studies), I set off for Lewis & Clark’s year-long study abroad program at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. I left Japan only reluctantly, and determined to return. This past winter, I took the once-a-year Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and was able to pass the N2 Level. I was given incredible support in this with a JLPT-focused independent study led by Bruce Suttmeier. I also cannot stress enough the advice and support he gave me while I was applying for a position on JET program—which I will begin in the fall this year—hopefully the beginning of a long career path in Japan. Without Lewis & Clark and its incredible faculty, classes, and thriving international community, I may never have started down this path. I am so glad I did.


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