European Studies Course


In the European Studies Course, students explore the vast diversity of Europe (including the Mediterranean-rim, Central Europe and Eastern Europe) from a variety of perspectives, examining the language, culture, politics, economics and history of the region in order to comprehend the dynamics of European societies and the dilemmas of European identity in a globalizing world. The student first learns English communication skills, acquires a basic knowledge of Europe and approaches to understand the international community, and deepens understanding of Japanese history and culture. Students then go on to pursue specialized studies of Europe. Students are encouraged to develop a cosmopolitan way of thinking through interaction with Japanese and international students and through participation in various overseas language courses and short-term studies abroad. The curriculum is designed:

  • To develop global citizens who are genuinely open-minded towards different cultures.
  • To improve high-level “international” communication ability.
  • To provide a comprehensive and detailed understanding of the workings of the international community

Philosophy and Goal of the Course

Various value systems co-exist in modern society and globalization is constantly progressing. In this context, we endeavor to prepare our students with a far-sighted global vision while focusing intensely on the region of Europe. Given Europe’s global impact, students are also required to gain a deep understanding of Japanese history, society, and culture as well as the structures of the international community. As the world becomes increasingly complex, the importance of understanding Europe that has such diverse values and societies will be more and more important.

Educational Goals

In this course, by focusing interest on Europe, the student develops not only foreign language skills but also an ability to understand diverse peoples. In particular, students learn to engage in international dialogue in a variety of given situations. They learn how to carry out creative work with people from other countries, discovering how to overcome linguistic and cultural challenges through extensive personal experience.. Furthermore, they learn to look at problems from multiple viewpoints, incorporating these diverse perspectivewhile searching for the solutions to real-world problems. Our aim is nothing less than the cultivation of an international aesthetic that equips students with the ability to see the world through multifaceted eyes.


In addition to general academic subjects, students take practical English subjects that are common throughout the university and take a number of elective basic subjects from both international studies and Japanese culture studies. These are required because cross-cultural understanding is not possible without having sufficient understanding of international perspectives and one’s own culture. After these requirements have been met, students in the European Studies Course are also required to take specialized courses as well as a second foreign language (French, German or Spanish). In these specialized courses, after learning basic subjects such as “Modern Western History,” “Contemporary European Society” and “Religion in Europe,” students take more specialized courses related to Europe to deepen their understanding of European society. To experience real European society, overseas language studies and study abroad programs are offered. Ultimately, students write a graduation thesis that reflects their individual academic focus and that constitutes the culmination of their various achievements and experiences.

Field of Study

In the European Studies Course, the student studies Europe, that is, the Mediterranean-rim countries (Italy, Spain, etc. with north African countries also included in this course), Central Europe (France, Germany, etc.), Eastern Europe (Russia, etc.) from various aspects including language, culture, society, politics, economics, and history while looking at the entire picture of Europe and regional characteristics.

Noteworthy Fields of Study and Faculty Staff Members

This course introduces various research that is being conducted by our faculty members active in various fields. For example, Professor Morihisa Ishiguro: teaches on the History of Political Thought and Culture in Renaissance Italy. His more recent interests include intellectual thought at the time of Fascist Italy. Professor Yuichi Kasuya: is active in teaching about French culture, and various regional cultures that have flourished with the use of the French language in the world. Introductions and studies courses are provided with particular attention to the culture of North Africa and to the immigrants within France. Additionally, Professor Megumi Shimura’s research interests have included German colonial cultural policy and missionary activities in Tsingtao, international comparisons of child support policies, studies of the life of twins and the concept of “life” looked at from a perspective of Christianity, as well as German modern literature.

Feedback from Students

Ai Kosaka

We study European culture and social systems through the classes in courses such as “Introduction to European Life” “Introduction to European Studies” and “History of Art” Especially in the History of Art, it is very interesting to study the social history of Europe and people’s thinking and perspective at that time through Christian art. I am very interested in dog-training and environmental policy in Germany, so I attended a short language course in Germany in my freshman year. Making my intentions clear and active participation were required there, and so it was a very good experience for me. I want to study in Germany again for another year in my junior year to learn a lot more things. I am thinking about becoming a rescue-dog handler in the future.

Masato Sato

I am studying mainly French and English languages at Kanazawa University. When I started French as my second language I found that it helped me to further understand the rules of pronunciation and discovered many synonyms with English. I am planning to start learning German as well beginning next semester. In the School of International Studies, exchange with international students and studying abroad is very popular. Many students come and go through exchange programs, which makes our campus very international. Even if the international students speak in Japanese, don’t hesitate to try hard to use the other languages that you know, too. They are all friendly and easy to make friends with. This might be one shortcut to becoming bilingual!

Careers after Graduation

Graduate school, foreign affairs or foreign assistance organizations, national or local governments, extra-governmental organizations or foundations, foreign companies or Japanese companies that have overseas divisions, travel companies, the mass media, NGOs or international NPOs, teachers, etc.

Acquirable Certifications

Bachelor: International Studies

Certifications: junior high school teaching category 1 (Japanese, Civics, English), senior high school teaching category 1 (Japanese, social studies, English), Japanese Language Education sub-major equivalent certification, interpreter-guide (after passing the appropriate national exam), interpreter (after passing the appropriate interpreter exam)

Course Credit System

In the first year, general academic subjects, liberal arts subjects and “Introduction to International Studies” are required. In the second year, mostly basic subjects offered in the school (including the foreign languages required in each course) are required, but also a short-term language study abroad (English or other language) is strongly recommended. By doing “Introduction to European Studies I” in a seminar style, we aim to motivate students for area studies. In the third year, mostly more specialized courses (specialized course subjects) are required. Area studies focus is deepened with “Introduction to European Studies II”. For very motivated students, we prepare them for short-term (half or one year) study abroad programs. In the final year, more specialized course subjects are required as preparation for writing a graduation thesis. Students are expected to carefully prepare their graduation theses in taking the “Seminar in European Studies”.

Subjects Unique to the Course

Students learn about the society, people and culture of Europe and the surrounding regions in seminars in the second or third year (“Introduction to European Studies(history, culture, society)”). In “Contemporary European Society” (second or third year), thereby, learning the various issues faced by modern Europe in a comprehensive way. In “Introduction to European Life” (third or fourth year), students learn about life in Europe from foreign faculty staff members.

Specialized Course Subjects

Other subjects include; Modern Western History, Western Economic History, History of Social Thought, European Economic Integration, Religion in Europe, History of Art, Special Lecture : European Studies, Seminar in German Communication, Seminar in French Communication, Seminar in Spanish Communication.