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Careers & Outcomes

Academics / Departments & Programs / Asian Studies / Careers & Outcomes

Recent Calvin graduates with majors or minors in Chinese, Japanese, or Asian studies have found careers in a number of fields in Japan, China, the United States, and elsewhere.

Explore Asian Studies at Calvin

Discover how our Chinese or Japanese language majors can teach English in China or Japan.

Graduate Studies
Read about our alumni and their grad school experiences at prestigious schools nationwide.

Alumni Stories
See how our graduates use their knowledge of Asian languages out in the world.


Teaching abroad

Students who have studied Chinese at Calvin can find a job teaching English at a university or a private academy in China through one of several organizations with which Calvin has a long-standing relationship, including ELI (English Language Institute) of San Dimas, California. For over a decade now, several Calvin graduates have taken advantage of these programs to teach in China. Through the English Language Institute in China, graduates may teach English at a university in China for two years and simultaneously earn a Master's in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). There are currently seven Calvin graduates teaching English in China. They help to better the understanding of Chinese students of both the English language and of western culture and belief systems, and in so doing create much good will toward Americans and Canadians.

Students who are still enrolled at Calvin may go to China in the summers through organizations like ELI. After an orientation and training period in California, participating students spend five weeks teaching English to and having fun with Chinese junior high and high school students in various parts of China. As many as a dozen Calvin students have already participated in summer programs like this in China.

Careers to consider

These career paths reflect those taken by Calvin Chinese graduates in the past ten years:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • International Law
  • International Relations
  • Intelligence work for the U.S. Government (CIA, NSA)
  • Interpreter
  • Linguistics
  • Mission-International NGO
    (e.g. World Vision)
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • World Language teacher
  • Translator
  • Researcher
  • Foreign Service Worker
    (Peace Corps, VISTA, AmeriCorps, USAID)
  • Health Services Worker
  • Missionary
  • Employee at an International Business
  • University Professor
  • ESL Teacher
  • Social Worker
  • Educational Administrator for Study Abroad Programs

Quick Facts

  • In demand!

    Hundreds of American-based businesses are hiring graduates who can speak Chinese.


    Mandarin Chinese is the most-commonly spoken language in the world.


    Modern languages taught at Calvin


Teaching Abroad

Over the past several decades, students who have studied some Japanese at Calvin and were about to graduate have been applying to the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Program with great success. The JET Program was started in 1987 by the Japanese government to hire university-graduate native speakers of English from all over the world to teach English in junior high schools and high schools all across Japan. The contract is for a year, and is renewable for up to three years. Because the pay is so high for a recent university graduate, nearly $30,000 per year U.S. with free or subsidized housing, and because of the allure of Japan, the competition for acceptance into the program is very keen.

Nevertheless, because of the strength of our Japanese language program at Calvin and because of the high caliber of so many Calvin students, as many as 35 Calvin graduates have won jobs with this prestigious program. Most of these students elected to spend the maximum of three years teaching in Japan, which speaks well for both the quality of the JET Program and of our students. Few colleges or universities in America have as many graduates accepted as JET teachers as does Calvin University. Our students have been putting their Japanese language ability to good use serving in Japan, spreading good will toward America and Canada, and generally being Kingdom builders, while paying off their university loans and having a great adventure learning about another culture.

Jobs in Japan

A small number of Calvin students have taught in Japan through the JET Program or similar programs and have then found other employment in Japan after their contracts expired:

Kory DuPilka

Kory DuPilka spent three years as a JET teacher and then found a job as a translator with Toyota in Nagoya, Japan. He then got an MBA from Michigan State University and now works as a junior executive for United Technologies in Orlando, Florida.

Tim Veltman

After teaching for three years with JET, Tim Veltman found a job in Hikone, Japan, for a non-profit organization that helps foreigners adjust to life in Japan. Tim has created a web service that provides all the helpful information a foreigner might need to adapt to life in Japan, and answers questions daily from foreigners who need advice on various matters pertaining to daily life in that very different culture.

Careers to consider

  • World Language teacher
  • Translator
  • Interpreter
  • Linguistics
  • Researcher
  • Foreign Service Worker
    (Peace Corps, VISTA, AmeriCorps, USAID)
  • Health Services Worker
  • Nonprofit Worker
  • Missionary
  • Employee at an International Business
  • University Professor
  • ESL Teacher
  • Social Worker
  • Educational Administrator for Study Abroad Programs
Michael Huissen

Michael Huissen lives in Hamamatsu, Japan, with his Japanese wife and two lovely children. After graduating from Calvin, Michael got a Ph.D. in Asian History from Harvard University. Michael has taught English and American literature at several universities in Tokyo and Hamamatsu for many years now.

Larry Spalink & Richard Systma

A handful of our graduates from Calvin Theological Seminary have found jobs with the Christian Reformed World Mission in Japan, working in the Tokyo area as ministers and missionaries. A few, like Larry Spalink and Richard Systma, have served the Church in Japan for as long as several decades.

Jobs in America

Anna Nielsen

Anna Nielsen was hired by Johnson Controls in Holland, Michigan, partly on the basis of her knowledge of Japanese. Johnson Controls designs and makes car interiors for most of the major Japanese auto companies. They are always interested in hiring Calvin graduates with a background in Japanese language.

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