Japanese, International Political Economy
Jennifer Weiss got her first taste of Carthage while she was still in high school. She had been studying Chinese and learned through her Youth Options Program that Carthage would be offering classes in Japanese, a language that also interested her. She enrolled in Carthage’s Japanese courses as a high school student. After graduation, she attended Gateway Technical College, but continued her study of Japanese at Carthage.
“I enjoyed the school and teachers so much and I really felt I did my best here,” Jennifer said. “I made it my goal to study at Carthage exclusively.”
She recently added a second major,International Political Economy, to her undergraduate education. While in high school, she had taken classes that emphasized business, which was something she wanted to continue during her time at Carthage.
“I’ve always had a love for language,” she said. “I decided on Japanese because I found it to be the language that intrigued me the most. It is challenging but fun to learn, and I think it will be one of the languages needed when working in global business, hence my second major choice of IPE.”
Jennifer’s two majors complement each other very well, and she thinks that her study of Japanese will give her a much-needed edge in the business world.
“Our businesses are becoming more global by the day, and Japan is one of the top countries America does business with,” she explained. “I want to be as prepared as possible when it comes to doing business with Japan.”
According to Jennifer, the TLE — Target Language Experts — program at Carthage is one of the Modern Languages Department’s biggest assets, especially in Japanese. She has even had the opportunity to tutor the newest Japanese TLE in English.
“I feel it gives a good foundation to language learners by being able to ask certain questions about culture, trends, or obscure words that only a native would know,” she said. “Not only does it help us, but it gives the TLEs an opportunity to teach in America and learn from us as well.”
Right now, Jennifer is working with Prof. Yan Wang on some research topics regarding Japanese linguistics. She is also a member of Alpha Mu Gamma Modern Language Fraternity, International Friendship Society, and Japanese Club. She plans on studying abroad in Tokyo during the spring semester of 2012.
“Our businesses are becoming more global by the day, and Japan is one of the top countries America does business with. I want to be as prepared as possible when it comes to doing business with Japan.”
“I think I would most enjoy working in a global business setting where I can use Japanese most of the time.”
How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?
“My favorite professor is Dr. Yan Wang. She challenges us to expand on what we have learned, clearly explains difficult Japanese grammatical structures, and just makes everything much easier to understand. She is always there to help students, and what’s best is she is always happy and willing to meet with students outside of class for help or for a broader understanding of something.”
“My favorite class so far has been Japanese 302. In this class, we really started going in depth to the more difficult side of Japanese and it was very interesting and challenging.”
“Although it was also my favorite class, Japanese 302 was also the most difficult. Japanese culture is very polite, and there are special ways of speaking when in business settings, talking to people who are older than you, etc. This way of speaking has three different structures called ‘honorific,’ ‘humble,’ and ‘extra-modest’ expressions where each one takes the verbs that we have learned and been using for about two and a half years and changes them into something entirely different! It was a very difficult concept to learn and be able to use them in the correct situations.”
Favorite moments and memories at Carthage
“There are so many, but a couple of them have been making new friends and meeting different teachers over the years, going on field trips like to Mitsuwa Marketplace, and having the opportunity to teach and help others.”
Favorite spot on campus
“Einstein’s and the Clausen Center atrium. Although, they have almost completed the New Student Union, and that will probably become my new favorite spot.”
Biggest surprise so far
“When I first started going to Carthage through the Youth Options Program, I was really nervous and scared to be taking a college course while in high school. But those negative emotions were soon eliminated by the friendly people and inviting atmosphere of Carthage.”
Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?
“You’re in for a great learning experience and great opportunities. When difficulties in the language arise in the beginning courses, don’t run away from them. Rather, meet with your TLE and ask questions until you understand because in language, you need a good foundation to be able to proceed well with the more difficult courses.”