Sara Baxter ’23Japanese Major
Posted on March 15th, 2023 by

“Studying abroad gave me opportunities to dive deeper into subjects on Japanese culture.”

Sara, a senior from Wisconsin, was interested in studying languages even before coming to Gustavus, learning Italian as a hobby when she was a child. She started taking Japanese language courses in high school and really enjoyed it, and she knew that she wanted to continue Japanese studies at Gustavus, saying, “Continuing with Japanese just seemed natural.”

Sara has enjoyed the smaller atmosphere of the department, appreciating that she is able to have closer relationships with professors and other students within the major. She particularly enjoyed the courses “Politics of Japan and China” and “Modern Japan,” in which she felt especially engaged in the course material. “I would come away from those classes and genuinely think about the lectures for days afterwards.”

Of the professors within the major, Sara says that in addition to what she has learned from lectures and course material, she has also been made aware of opportunities outside of the classroom. Specifically, the faculty encouraged her to apply to the JET program, which is something that she hadn’t previously considered.

What Sara has valued the most from the Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures Department is her opportunity to study at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan for the Fall 2022 semester. She enjoyed the opportunity to visit places that she had only learned about “on paper” and the opportunity to vastly improve her Japanese language skills. She felt the closeness of the Gustavus community even during her time abroad with the other Gustavus students that were with her. She says, “Even though we found our own friend groups there, we still met up and had dinner together.”

On campus, Sara is also involved in the ThriftyGold Club.


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