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China Studies

China studies students explore Chinese language and culture in an intensive and personalized environment, graduating with a competitive edge and prepared to work in Chinese and global business markets.

  • China is the world’s most populous country. It is a world player economically, and its influence on the U.S. economy is increasing every year. The Chinese language is becoming increasingly important in world business and diplomacy. Chinese characters have a history stretching back over 2,000 years, and they influenced Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese language and culture. As China opens up to the world, Westerners who are familiar with the Chinese language and culture will be prepared to seize these 21st century cross-cultural opportunities. Proficiency in the Chinese language and culture provides students a competitive edge after graduation as they seek careers or further their studies.

    In addition to developing language proficiency, China studies faculty also seek to deepen the student’s understanding of Chinese culture and customs through the study of Chinese tradition, history, and linguistics, as well as through internships and study-abroad opportunities in China. A student who is proficient in Chinese is ready to interact with the world’s largest and most dynamic cultural group.

    What Makes the Program Distinctive?

    WLC’s China studies program is designed to pair well with the college’s business administration major. Students majoring in both China studies and business administration are prepared to work in Chinese and global business markets. In addition, WLC provides students 50 minutes a week of one-on-one instruction for the first three years, with opportunities for study-abroad and internship immersion experiences that better equip students for post-college careers. Though the study of language may be challenging, previous students have been able to successfully complete the China studies major, as well as study abroad, intern, and study an added discipline, while graduating within four years.


    Mandarin Chinese

    Proficiency Students will develop conversational skills and proficiency in reading and writing Chinese characters. The relationship between language and culture is stressed throughout the program. Complex conversational skills will be developed with exposure to authentic Chinese spoken and written materials. Through an examination and discussion of modern texts and media, students will come to understand enduring themes of modern Chinese culture, as well as examine ways those cultural beliefs are reflected. Students also will study modern samples of Chinese television media, news casts, talk shows, and newspapers.

    Oral Development

    Students in the China studies program at WLC develop speaking skills through conversation with both non-native and native Chinese speakers. In addition, immersion experiences through internships and study-abroad opportunities aid in further proficiency and development of the spoken language. All graduating students will be provided an Oral Proficiency Interview, which is a certified examination of oral abilities that can be used on applications for jobs and graduate schools.


    Study Abroad

    China studies majors are required to complete an approved residency or internship in a Mandarin-speaking country. WLC leads a semester abroad, but students also are allowed to choose where they would like to study abroad, upon approval by the program. Students have studied in Taiwan and China, including Nanchang, Beijing, Taibei, Hangzhou, Wuhan, and at Jiangxi Normal University. Recently, several students have been accepted to ACC's Intensive Language Institute in Beijing and awarded Fulbright Hayes Scholarships.

    Immersion Experiences

    China studies students are able to take advantage of WLC's location in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, which offers Chinese worship and cultural events with the nearby Chinese Lutheran congregation at St. John's Lutheran Church in Wauwatosa. Students may take part in Milwaukee's Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese Culture Fest, and the Chinese New Year festivities at the Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes), or visit the Milwaukee Chinese Community Center.


    Graduate School

    WLC China studies majors have pursued graduate work in the area of China studies at such schools as Martin Luther College, Middlebury College, and Valparaiso University. WLC properly prepares China studies majors for success in graduate school through an emphasis on both the Chinese language and culture, as well as practical knowledge and skills, strong academics, and experiential and immersive learning.


    China studies graduates are well equipped to work in foreign investment, tourism, and trade, as well as consulting, immigration services, and public administration. Alumni work at DHI Corporation, Hangzhou Guanbo Technology Co., Merrill Lynch, and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, among others. Graduates are currently teaching in Chinese universities and high schools. Other career opportunities include work in the State Department and Commerce Department. The private sector is in need of translators and interpreters, as well as those with China studies backgrounds for educational, church, and international exchange groups.