Spanish is among the most widely spoken languages in the world today. In the United States, and especially in California and the Southwest, it is the first or second language for millions of people. Knowledge of Spanish gives you access to the rich literature and diverse cultures of Spain, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico and an important sector of the United States. Students who choose to major in Spanish have a lively interest in language in general, and a curiosity about the cultures, language and literature of the Spanish-speaking world in particular.
A major in Russian not only provides instruction in speaking and understanding the Russian language, it exposes you to the richness of Russian literature and culture. Writers like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Nabokov; composers Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky; and painters Chagall and Kandinsky have all come from the great Russian tradition. At UC Davis, Russian classes are small group sessions taught by internationally-known professors. Education abroad and careers in international business and relations are open fields with a background in Russian from UC Davis.
The major in Middle East/South Asia Studies (MESA) offers comparative studies of the Middle East and South Asia, regions that have been integrally linked for centuries by trade, migration, exchange of scientific, mathematical, political and philosophical ideas, religion, literature and art. This region encompasses 44 countries, and the major focuses on the Arab Gulf, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, the Meghreb (North Africa), Palestine, Syria and Turkey.
The Japanese civilization extends back more than 1,200 years; its contributions to global culture include art, poetry and the world's first novel. Today Japan is the world's second-largest economy, making vital contributions to science and technology. As a Japanese major, you will first build a strong foundation in the Japanese language, then cultivate an understanding of Japanese literature and civilization. You will gain perspective and context about Japanese culture from classes in Japanese history and anthropology.