Modern Languages and Literatures


Union students on a term abroad program in China

The goals of the Chinese program are to sharpen the intellectual skills of students and to encourage intellectual growth. The major offers students a broad understanding of the various Chinese speaking cultures around the world. Through language study students come to understand the interconnectedness of people despite different worldviews. The skills students acquire while studying Chinese include greater aptitude in concentration and self-motivation. They learn that rewards of language study are had through guided risk and challenge. As students develop linguistic and cultural proficiency they enjoy deeper conversations with the people of the Chinese-speaking world. With the growing political, economic, and cultural significance of China in the world students who graduate with Chinese have increased earning power. Union alumni have gone on to professional degrees in law, medicine, and teaching, as well as engaged in business and civil service roles that relate to the Chinese speaking world. In addition to the major and a minor, students can combine their language study with an Asian Studies major or interdepartmental major.

  • Why study Chinese?
    • Chinese is the most spoken first language in the world.
    • China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.35 billion people.
    • In addition to mainland China and Taiwan, Chinese is also widely spoken in Southeast Asian countries.
    • China is the world’s second largest economy and remains the fastest growing one.
    • China is one of America’s largest trading partners.
    • More and more U.S. companies do business in China, including Apple, IBM, and General Motors.
    • Chinese language is beautiful, melodic, and poetic. Chinese lessons are mentally stimulating and fun.
    • If you know 1000 commonly used characters, you will recognize 90% of the characters in Chinese media.
    • Learning Chinese helps understand China’s rich culture, literature, and its long history of over 5000 years.
  • Courses & requirements
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  • Chinese Table

    Tuesdays @ Common Lunch in Golub House

  • Career opportunities

    Greater China Job Listings from Wang & Li Asia Resources

    Job Information Journal: China ESL Cafe’s journal of various job experiences in China, including places you should avoid when looking for employment.

  • Internet resources

    Integrated Chinese Multimedia Exercises from the University of California Chinese Characters and Culture On-line Chinese tools