Studying in Tokyo her junior year cemented Karen Haedrich's ’06 passion for Japanese language and culture. After graduation, she was Japan bound.
Haedrich graduated from Hamilton with a minor in Japanese and a major in creative writing and moved to Tokyo. She works at NHK, writing and narrating for an English radio program called Kiso Eigo Two (Basic English Two) for junior-high students.
“I use both my creative writing and Japanese language studies every day at work. I write the daily dialogues for the textbook that are part of an overarching story over the school year – from April to March in Japan. We narrate in English on the show, but I use my Japanese language skills every day for meetings, emails, et cetera. My studies at Hamilton played a huge role in allowing me to have this job,” she says.
At Hamilton, Haedrich won a Freeman-ASIA Award for undergraduate study in East and Southeast Asia and tutored in the Writing Center. Her interest in the Japanese language, movies, music, anime and culture traces back to high school, even though her small school offered no Asian language classes.
“I tried studying Japanese on my own, but I didn’t get very far. I decided to look for a college with a good Japanese program. When I took a tour of Hamilton College, I visited one of the Japanese classes. It was a great experience. When I started at Hamilton as a freshman, I signed up for Japanese language class right away,” she says.