The University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu offers students the opportunity to study the cultures of Asia in an interdisciplinary program leading to an Academic Subject Certificate in Asian Studies. This academic credential is included on student transcripts and can be the first step toward employment in a variety of professional and academic fields related directly, or indirectly, to Asia.
The term “Asia” is of Western origin, but for the purposes of this certificate, refers geographically to the Far East (China, Japan, and Korea), Southeast Asia, and South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangaldesh). Although the term is vague, the economic and cultural influence of Asia is real. Due to the increasingly global environment of business, persons with an understanding of Asian cultures are in demand. Asia is home to nearly 60 percent of global GDP, some of the world’s fastest-growing economies, half the world’s population, and an expanding middle class, and so offers great opportunities for U.S. firms and workers. This certificate will be useful to students who work in Hawaiʻi after graduation, given the prominence of international visitors in the tourism industry. In 2016, about one in six visitors to Hawai‘i came from Japan (almost 1.5 million), while there were roughly 250,000 South Korean visitors and 170,000 Chinese visitors (the highest spending of all visitors to Hawai‘i.)