Brown Rice: The Far EASt

Brown EAS

Hello there! My name is Kenneth Kim and I am a Korean-American freshman at Brown from sunny Los Angeles, California. Welcome to my column, Brown Rice, where I’ll talk about everything Asian from clubs to culture to cuisine as I try to figure out life at Brown. So if you’re a fan of Asian food, Asian culture, or self-deprecating humor, come along for the ride!

(East Asian STudies, that is)

Today, I’m going to digress a bit from student life and talk about the more academic aspect of Asian and Asian-American life here at Brown: the East Asian Studies Department. East Asian Studies is an academic concentration (what Brown calls “majors” at most schools) offered by the school. The East Asian Studies concentration has requirements that can be split up into two general categories: Language and Cultural Electives.

For the Language portion, students are expected to have proficiency in either Chinese, Japanese, or Korean. All three languages are offered at Brown from beginner to advanced level. The Cultural electives are elective courses that you may choose from from the East Asian Studies department or one of the respective Chinese, Japanese, or Korean courses.

Not sure if you have this pre-conceived notion about East Asian Studies concentrators (I know I had a slight inkling of this before I got here), but they are not all Asian or Asian-American. So if you find yourself to be interested in East Asian culture, don’t worry about feeling out of place as an East Asian Studies concentrator.

Now, of course, you absolutely don’t need to be a concentrator to take courses in the department. In fact, I encourage you to try a history or culture or language course in the department to find out more about your own heritage or someone else’s. I know for me personally, I’ve felt like I’ve grown  up in a fairly “white-washed” community, so I feel a bit out of touch with my Korean heritage. I hope to be able to take a Korean language and/or history/culture course to get a better idea of where my parents and family members are coming from. I know that even here at Brown, it is tough to get in touch with your heritage, but if the effort is put in, the work is definitely worth it.

For more information about the specific requirements and/or courses, check out the Brown East Asian Studies Department webpage: or here:

Final words: as I am not concentrating in East Asian Studies, I am not the best person to ask about particulars of the program or department. The editor of the Bruin Club Blog, Emily Schell, (Woohoo! Go Emily!) can be reached at and will probably have a better idea on the particulars of the department. You can still email me, and I’ll try my best to connect you with someone who can better answer your question.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about anything I talked about above, just shoot me an email at and I’ll answer to the best of my ability.


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