Summer Programs

2015 Japanese SEALS students are happy after a pizza party and movie day.

For more than fifteen years, the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures has offered intensive language training in Japanese during summer months. Called Summer East Asian Language Studies (SEALS), it continues to offer a concentrated mix of intensive training in language and culture. We began offering Chinese in the summer of 2014.

These summer courses challenge your resolve but reward you with rapid language acquisition with a strong proficiency in aural comprehension and oral communication in addition to basic reading and writing skills.


Everyone enjoys the caligraphy workshop.

JPNSE 1061 First Year Japanese is equivalent to two semester of Japanese at Pitt (i.e., JPNSE 0001 and JPNSE 0002). Likewise, Second Year Japanese JPNSE 1062 is equivalent to second year Japanese courses at Pitt (i.e., JPNSE 0003 and JPNSE 0004). These two classes have a special ten-week span: it starts two weeks later than Pitt's regular 12-week summer term.

Past SEALS Japan faculty included lecture teachers Junzo Oshimo (Assistant Instructor) and Sachiko T.  Howard (Assistant Instructor). In addition, three more drill class teachers led recitation classes. If you have a question, ask Sachiko T. Howard.

Pedagogical Philosophy

A successful language program must have at least two components: explicit knowledge about the target language and culture and a large amount of practice in context. We address the first component through daily lecture on linguistic facts and through a series of cultural activities built into the curriculum. As for the second, we recognize that we do not acquire the full range of language use through studying the language by looking at example sentences in the textbook. All moves we make in language, including utterances and communicative behavior, must be securely pinned to the culture of that language.

In Japanese, for instance, it is not enough for you to know that dōmo may mean “hello,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry,” among other things; you must learn through repeated practice in actual situations how the conversational move of saying dōmo is carried out. We make this learning possible by repeated practice in many permutations. When dōmo is learned in this way, it will run in your veins and will come out instantaneously whenever you detect an appropriate situation.


STARTALK is a federally supported program offered for the first time in the summer of 2017. It is a non-residential Chinese language and culture program for high school students. Contact Juchun Wei for more information.

To learn more about the Japanese, Chinese, and Korean language study at the University of Pittsburgh during the summer or academic year, contact :

  • Yi Xu, Chinese Language Program Coordinator
  • Stephen Luft, Academic Advisor for Chinese and Japanese majors and Japanese Language Coordinator
  • Mi-Hyun Kim, Korean Language Program Coordinator