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Student Profiles

See what some of our current and recent students have to say about the course.

Dann Anscombe
BA (Hons) Japanese Studies

“My first three years of Japanese Studies at Cambridge have been a fantastic experience. Straight from the word go we were plunged in to Kanji learning. The language learning curve in the first year was quite steep, so it is not a course for the faint hearted! I was astounded by what we had achieved by the end of just one year through the great teaching of the language instructors Mrs Laurie and Mrs Boulding. We used what we had learned in order to translate short stories and several chapters of a full-length novel. This rapid progress in language continued in Year 2, with more advanced grammar and more challenging translations, including non-fictional texts. All this prepared me very well for my year abroad at Doshisha University in Kyoto, which is as much a great learning opportunity as it is an adventure!

But the course is much more than language. The East Asian Studies course in Year 1 is brilliantly organised and was enjoyed by all, and gives a really solid base for further study in to Japanese, Chinese and/or Korean history. The second year course in Modern Japanese History is very demanding, and gives you a much deeper understanding of Japan’s recent past. The second year options I chose to study were Classical Japanese and Japanese Society, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed and gained a great deal from. The former is very challenging, but a fascinating look into the language and literature of the past. The latter looks at trends in Japanese society, mainly focusing on current themes such as gender, education, and family issues.

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A grave stone, destroyed by the earthquake in Japan, photo by Brigitte Steger

Japanese Studies is a course which does not leave you short on choices, and you can tailor your studies to your interests. It is a very challenging, and therefore rewarding course. The class is generally very small – ten to fifteen people on average – which gives you closer contact with your instructors to help your study, and with each other, resulting in a very tight-knit group, and faculty in general. I can’t recommend the course highly enough!”