Club Spotlight Series #3: Chinese Undergraduate Student Association

April 2, 2019

By: Muziah Kargbo

Club Board: 

President: Connie Chen        Vice President: Jason Yu            Treasurer: Kevin Liu           Secretary: Lixuan Xia

First Year Rep: Kelly He     Design Chair: Alyes Chen    Photography Chair: Amy Lo  Cultural Chair: Katherine Li

International Ambassador: Meilin Wu        Publicity Chair: Samuel Li          Culinary Chair: Sophie Zou

Social Links: CUSA Facebook | CUSA Heel Life

I was fortunate enough to be able to email some questions to the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association or CUSA to interview them about their club and the types of activities they do. These are the responses they gave with minimal editing.

Q1: What is the purpose of this club?

This club is dedicated in bringing together those interested in Chinese culture or language at UNC, whether it be students or people in the community. CUSA serves as an educational instrument by organizing social and learning events that promote awareness and appreciation for Chinese culture. We also aim to foster long-term relationships of those within CUSA through the sibling program, as well as collaborations with other organizations.

Q2: What are the usual activities of this club and what special activities do you do during the year?

CUSA hosts monthly events that strive to create authentic experiences of the Chinese culture. Past events have included dumpling making, mahjong game night, badminton, lantern making, fan painting, ramen bar, and more. Our two most notable and long-standing events are the annual Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese New Year celebration. Both include dinner alongside an evening of performances to celebrate the traditional holidays.

Q3: What do you think is the selling point of your club? 

CUSA is unique in that involvement in the club does not require membership and is open to the public. The intention is so that all people of the community are welcomed to attend the events, regardless of occupational status. Additionally, all of our events, besides the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year, are completely free. We hope that this would allow greater focus on building relationships between club members and their community.

Q4: What do you hope for the future of this club?

In the past few years, CUSA has been experiencing tremendous growth and widespread publicity. Because so, our shows have been sold out annually. We would like to upgrade the venue where the shows are held so that more people may be able to attend. In addition, we hope that our traction within the community would enable us to garner sponsors so that we may continue providing free cultural experiences. Through promoting awareness and appreciation for Chinese culture, we look forward to making an even bigger impact in the community.

Korean Summer Courses

April 2, 2019

We are proud to announce that the Asian Studies Department will be offering Elementary Korean I and II as summer 2019 courses.

  • Intensive courses for introductory Korean
  • A full academic year or 8 credit hours of Korean in just one summer
  • Classes are 5 days a week from 9:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
  • Visiting student application opens February 4, 2019
  • Summer School registration is already open so register now

Korean Summer Flyer

First Session (May 15-June 20)

KOR 101 Elementary Korean I (4)

Introduction to the basics of modern Korean, including the pronunciation of spoken Korean, the writing system of Hangul, communication and reading skills in controlled contexts, and fundamentals of grammar. Intensive course.

Second Session (June 24-July 30)

KOR 102 Elementary Korean II (4)

Prerequisite, KOR 101. Develops speaking and listening skills for everyday communication, reading skills for simple narratives and descriptive texts, and understanding for core grammatical patterns. Intensive course.

On-campus housing available on request
The summer program is available to current UNC students, incoming freshmen, students from other universities, community members, and rising high school seniors.

For questions or for further information, please contact: Dongsoo Bang at or Eunji Lee at

Kakehashi Project Interview: Graysie Carreiro

March 29, 2019

By: Muziah Kargbo

In 2017, Morgan Pitelka, Professor of Asian Studies and Director of the Carolina Asia Center, applied to the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta for UNC to be a designated 2018 Kakehashi program school. After UNC was chosen for the Kakehashi project, he collaborated with the Kenan-Flagler Business School to launch the one-time program.

Thankfully, I was recently able to do an email interview with one of the participants of the Kakehashi Project, Graysie Carreiro, who was generous enough to answer some questions I had for her about the program. The interview is as followed with minimal editing. And thank you again to Graysie Carreiro for taking her time to provide these answers.

  1. Please introduce yourself (e.g. major, name, year)

My name is Graysie Carreiro and I am a senior (May 2019), pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies (Japanese). After graduation, I’ll continue my time at Carolina through a year with the Masters of Accounting Program at Kenan-Flagler Business School. 

  1. What was the Kakehashi Project and why were you interested in participating? Did you have an interest in Japan or were you more interested in getting a global business experience?

I learned about the opportunity to participate in the Kakehashi Project through Kenan-Flagler Business School. One of my professors approached me after class one day and told me about the opportunity to participate in a Government of Japan initiative that recently connected with Kenan-Flagler. We didn’t know much about the program at the time – only that it was an initiative by the Japanese government to connect young North American business students to Japan. However, my professor believed the integration of business and Japanese culture matched perfectly with my personal background and my career goals and suggested I apply for the program. 

My personal connection to Japan runs deep. I spent 7 years of my childhood in Japan and am pursuing a double major in Business and Japanese. When I heard about the opportunity to return to Japan and integrate both of my majors through the Kakehashi Project, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. The Kakehashi Project (or the “Bridge to Tomorrow” program) is an exchange program, promoted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through the program, I knew I’d be able to further my knowledge about Japan, practice my Japanese language skills in formal situations, and gain insight into the business environment within Japan – a context where I hope to work one day. 

  1. What was the most valuable thing that you learned from the program?

Japan is at an extremely interesting socioeconomic cross-roads. Population decline has limited the domestic labor force and prompted immigration reform. New global alliances (such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership) open up new avenues for trade while political tensions are molding new barriers for Japan. Japanese businesses are grappling with these changes and are learning to take advantage of the opportunities for growth that result from them. 

Although I spent quite some time in Japan during my childhood, I learned so much about the Japanese business context through my time on the Kakehashi Project. Getting the opportunity to speak with government officials, CEOs, and even local families about such a dynamic socio-economic environment increased my understanding of the business environment in Japan and gave me a better appreciation for the complex global economic forces currently at work. 

As a growing businesswoman myself, I was particularly struck by the changing role of women in the Japanese workforce and in Japanese society as a whole. Japan is actively initiating reform for women in business and is creating opportunities for them to balance family lives and their careers. This change is a stark contrast to Japan’s deeply-rooted traditional family and gender roles. The future is bright for women in Japan. 

**One particularly impactful part of the Project was a 24 hour homestay with a local family in the country-side. Through our time with the Onuma family, other participants and I not only got to experience “real-life” in Japan, we also learned the value in human connection beyond cultural and linguistic barriers and formed lasting friendships that we still maintain today. This part of the program was probably the most memorable for me. 

  1. Did this program change your study abroad intentions or academic plans for the future?

Participating in the Kakehashi Project gave me even more motivation to work with a Japanese-related company one day. It’s one thing to grow up in and around Japan and to understand the cultural dynamics that govern society. It’s quite another thing to see those cultural dynamics applied to business contexts that make a difference in the lives of the every-day person. 

Through the project, I was also able to appreciate the little things about Japan that I love so dearly – things like white rice and miso soup with every meal, rolling mountainous countryside, and polite bows every time you meet someone new. I think the program did a wonderful job of exposing us to Japan’s large business trends while also candidly introducing us to beautiful aspects of the culture, society, and everyday life. 

  1. Would you recommend this program or other programs like it to other students?

I would absolutely recommend this program to other students. Getting the opportunity to apply your classroom learning in a foreign experience is one that is so rare and so beneficial to learning. 

  1. Anything else you would like to add?

One of the great benefits to the Kakehashi Project at UNC was that we combined students from Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Asian Studies Department. This mixture of backgrounds provided such a vibrant, dynamic learning community during our pre-departure class time and also through our in-country experience. We all learned so much more through each other’s experiences than we would have if we had gone in a more homogenous group. 

A required component of The Kakehashi Project was that we record our experiences and impressions of Japan through social media outlets. I created an Instagram account (@callmegraysie) specifically for my time abroad at UNC where I recorded all my experiences. Perhaps students interested in participating in The Kakehashi Project might find it useful. I’m also very excited to share my experience and am available for questions at any time via email ( 


Four Asian Studies Majors Inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

March 8, 2019

Four Asian Studies majors will be inducted into Alpha of North Carolina Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honor society in the U.S.

Congratulations to Hannah Balser, Scott Diekema, Wenwen Mei, and Takoda Ren.

Club Spotlight Series #2: Japan Club

March 1, 2019

By: Muziah Kargbo

Club Board:

President: Sara Cook                       Vice President: Junqi Zhang

Treasurer: Ian Dewars                    Event Coordinators: Trinity Battle and Catherine Williamson

Secretary: Jasmine Akoto

Social Links: Instagram: @uncjapanclub | Facebook: UNC-CH Japan Club | Japan Club Heel Life


Last week, I was able to interview Japan Club during their Game Night Event on Thursday at the Student Union. The whole team participated in the interview adding their own say in the questions that were asked including some personal experiences. Unfortunately, I couldn’t transcribe everything but here are the highlights that you need to know.

Q1: What is the purpose of this club?

Sara: The purpose of Japan club is to provide a safe space for anyone interested in learning about Japanese culture or those who are interested in Japan in general.

Jasmine: I didn’t really have a group to talk about my interest in Japan, so this group helps me learn more about Japan with people that have similar interests as me.

Catherine: Before I really came here, I was from a really small town and coming here to join a group that enjoys Japanese culture as much as I do is great.

Q2: What about Japanese culture interests you and why did you particularly join this club?

Catherine: I had a Japanese neighbor back in Texas and would go over to her house when I was 6 because we would watch anime together. I saw these female superheroes and thought that was so cool because I didn’t see anything like that back then. After that, I later grew to love the language and asked my friend’s mom to teach me a bit of Japanese but then I moved to North Carolina. So I started to self-study and got into more anime and music.

Jasmine: In middle school, I was one of those people who thought anime was weird and so I wasn’t interested in it until my friends introduced me to it around 8th grade. I thought anime music was beautiful so I got interested in learning the language. I wanted to take an online course at my school but they didn’t have it so I decided that I wanted to study abroad in college. Now, I definitely want to go on the Tokyo Summer Abroad program.

Q3: What are the usual activities of this club and what special activities do you do during the year?

Sara: We hold regular events every other week, usually presentations to present new Japanese culture or introduce studying abroad in Japan. We recently had a special guest, a professor in the linguistics department, who introduced the linguistics of Japanese. We also usually do nice study break near exam time to watch anime after club meetings sometimes, too.There is also the DC Trip to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring.

Q4: What do you hope for the future of this club?

Sara: I hope that Japan club survives long after I graduate while my short term goal is fundraising.

Q5: How do you become a member of this club?

Sara: Just come and talk to us! We meet every other Thursday at 7pm in the Student Union (Rm 2518). And you just have to pay $5 dues.


Photos from the Game Night (the Go Club joined too!)

Club Spotlight Series #1: UNiCorn K-pop Dance Cover Team

February 25, 2019

By: Muziah Kargbo

Club Board: 

President: Sharon Ge                                      Vice President: Serena Gao

Treasurer: Alexandra Wang                             Creative Chair: Kylie Shen, Cyan Bai

Publicity Chair: Vivi Wang                                Outreach Chair: Annie Zhang


Social Links: Instagram:uncunicorndance       Facebook:uncunicorndance        Youtube:UNC UNiCorn           Bilibili:UNiCornUNC (in Chinese)

Starting with this post and for the rest of the semester I’ll present a blog series based on different Asia-related clubs around UNC. To start off this new series, I was able to interview a new club called UNiCorn K-pop Dance Cover Team, which as you can guess, is a club that does dance covers of Korean pop songs. Named with UNC in mind, hence UNiCorn, not Unicorn, the group has already achieved some popularity through performing at Knite, a showcase of all things Korean held by KASA, and by uploading their first cover of a song titled, “What is Love?” by a popular Korean girl group called Twice. At the time of writing this, the video has reached over 400 views on YouTube and was uploaded back in December so the members had to perform outside in the freezing cold showing how passionate they are about K-pop and their club. They even have a fandom name, Corn! But how did this club begin and what can we expect from the Unicorns?

Well, it all started when the president of the club and long-time lover of K-pop, Sharon Ge, noticed on her arrival to UNC from Washington State University that there were no dance clubs focused on K-pop culture. She also noted that many of the dance clubs on UNC were restricted to higher-leveled or skilled dancers and so felt she needed to create not only a space to spread her passion for K-pop and its dances but also a friendly environment for students who have little to no experience dancing, let alone to K-pop (which is quite hard at times, I know from experience). And so, she along with some friends who held similar interests in K-pop, formed this dance team late last semester to provide a club that shared K-pop culture for anyone and everyone, regardless of your experience, ethnicity, or gender. Sharon also aimed to reduce academic stress by providing a fun activity that anyone can try. So why not go take the stress of studying by Kpopping?

I’m sure after that riveting exposé, you are interested in knowing just how to become involved and be a fellow Unicorn. Well, Sharon admitted that they are still working out how membership will be defined but ultimately you should expect a few things. First, you have to participate in cover practices and be ready to do stage performances around campus and the community as the team is connected to several other Asia-related clubs like KASA and Moonlight. And you should expect dues of $20 for the whole school year. However, if you are not interested in being an official member and just want to enjoy the lighter side of dancing to K-pop, then the team offers monthly dance workshops that will teach a couple of popular dances for the general public so anyone can attend for FREE!

For the future of the club, Sharon and the others hope to continue performing and dancing at such events as Admitted Students Day, Arts Everywhere, the Asian Cultural Festival and more while earnestly trying to recruit others with a similar interest in K-pop. I would also encourage anyone who has a mild interest in exploring other cultures in general to give this club a shot especially if they enjoy dancing. The club members were very earnest about wanting to include everyone and anyone and are eager to engage with their community especially non-Asians since clubs like these can be viewed as more of an Asian thing. They plan to take dance requests, organize parties and Korean drama viewings, and more. The only thing you need to do is RSVP and show up!

DAS faculty social

February 18, 2019

Faculty in the Department of Asian Studies gathered to socialize and relax on February 14th. Professors Uffe Bergeton, John Caldwell, Mark Driscoll, Ji-Yeon Jo, Pamela Lothspeich, Morgan Pitelka, Afroz Taj, Claudia Yaghoobi, and Nadia Yaqub, plus department Accounting Technician Angelika Straus gathered at Linda’s for good cheer. 

Arabic summer courses

January 23, 2019


  • Intensive courses for introductory Arabic studies
  • A full academic year (8 credit hours) will be covered over the two summer sessions
  • Classes meet five days per week from 9:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m
  • Visiting student application opens February 4, 2019
  • Summer School registration begins March 18, 2019
  • FLAS funding eligible

FLYER: UNC Arabic Summer Courses 2019

First Session (May 15-June 20)

  • Elementary Arabic I (ARAB 101, 4 credit hours) Introduction to written and spoken Arabic. Includes introduction to both Modern Standard Arabic and a dialect. No prerequisite.

Second Session (June 24-July 30)

  • Elementary Arabic II (ARAB 102, 4 credit hours) Continued introduction to, and development of, written and spoken Arabic skills. Prerequisite: ARAB 101 or departmental placement.

On-campus housing available on request
Program is available to current UNC students, incoming freshmen, students from other universities, community members, and rising high school seniors
For more information about Arabic Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, please visit

Professor Lothspeich to serve in MLA’s Delegate Assembly

January 10, 2019

Associate Professor Pamela Lothspeich has been elected a delegate for Women and Gender in the Profession in the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association, the largest professional organization for scholars of language and literature in the U.S.  She will be serving in this capacity for a three-year term beginning in January 2019.

Advanced Hindi-Urdu Student Presents Poetry at Conference

December 3, 2018

One of the department’s advanced Hindi-Urdu students, Denton Ong, presented his original Hindi poetry at a major Hindi literature conference in Boston. The conference, “Hindi Manch Rashtriya Mahostav (Hindi Manch National Convention)” is the first of its kind in the United States to feature Hindi learners alongside native language poets and creative writers. Attendees included the Consular General from India. Denton wrote his poems in Professor Afroz Taj’s HNUR 306 course as part of a creative writing assignment.