China is in the fast lane. The economy of the huge country is growing like no other and the country is also taking on a pioneering role in science. More than 1.3 billion people live in the “Middle Kingdom”. This makes Chinese the most widely spoken mother tongue in the world . With the growing importance of China in the world economy, so does the demand for experts who are familiar with the Chinese language and culture.
The Sinology course at a glance
According to Existingcountries.com, Sinology courses train people to mediate between China and Germany . The students learn the Chinese language and attend seminars on Chinese culture, history and economics . As part of a two-subject bachelor’s degree , students at many universities can choose a second subject and thus give their studies a sharper profile. Recently there has also been the possibility of studying the subject for a teaching position . In this case, content from the areas of pedagogy and didactics is also part of the course.
In all courses , language acquisition takes up the greater part of the bachelor’s degree . The students get to know the Chinese characters and attend language courses in standard Chinese, which is also called Mandarin. At some universities, the basics of Classical Chinese are also on the curriculum. Depending on the focus of the university’s studies, there are also courses from the fields of economics, cultural and social sciences . The students deal with the history or politics of China, become familiar with Chinese economic culture or learn about the classics of Chinese literature .
Anyone who is aiming for a scientific career or who would like to take on management positions later should follow up with a master’s degree. In the master’s program , students usually specialize in one of the subject areas of Chinese language, literature or culture . Student teachers attach a master’s degree with pedagogical and didactic content so that they can later start their preparatory service.
Studying Sinology: requirements
Anyone interested in studying Sinology should not only be enthusiastic about the Middle Kingdom, but also have a certain talent for languages . As a rule, no knowledge of the Chinese language is required to start the course. However, students are expected to devote sufficient time and discipline to acquire the language during the course of their studies. Knowledge of English is also required, as many academic papers on China are only available in English.
Perspectives for graduates of a Sinology degree
China specialists are more in demand than ever. The choice of the future occupation often depends on which second subject was taken in the course. Graduates who have studied Sinology and an economic subject can, for example, work as China experts in companies. Students with a minor in cultural studies, on the other hand, often work in museums and foundations.
Further fields of activity for graduates arise in the publishing industry, in the areas of advertising and PR , in adult education or in management consultancies. A relatively large number of graduates complete a doctorate after completing their master’s degree and later work in research institutions or at universities. China experts are also in demand in international organizations and in politics. Since Chinese is being taught in more and more schools in the wake of the China boom, sinologists can also work as teachers.
It is advisable for sinologists to gain practical experience during their studies and to get a taste of various professional fields.
Reasons for studying Sinology abroad
Study periods abroad are compulsory in order to deepen language skills and to get to know the local Chinese culture better. One or more semesters abroad in China also train intercultural skills and offer the opportunity to establish a network of international contacts at an early stage.