Language immersion courses are an essential experience for Cambridge language students if they are to reach their potential in their studies. Until recently the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES, which older members may remember as Oriental Studies) was able to give financial support to undergraduate students to enable them to undertake both immersion vacation language courses in their first year and a full year abroad in their third year of study. However, departmental funds are no longer available to students and the College is therefore fundraising for this purpose. Without such support, Asian and Middle Eastern languages are in danger of being subjects that are only accessible to those with funding from family means, or other outside sources. At Robinson we would like to maintain access to all subjects for all candidates based on academic ability alone and not upon their financial situation.
Robinson is a strong college for Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Professor Peter Kornicki (Deputy Warden), Dr Mike Shin and Dr Imre Galambos are on our Fellowship. Peter is a scholar of Japan in particular and focuses on the history of the book; Mike is the University of Cambridge’s first lecturer in Korean Studies, focusing on the intellectual history of the colonial period; and Imre specialises in pre-Modern China, particularly the history of the Chinese writing, manuscripts and epigraphy. As a result the College aims to admit an average of 3 AMES students each year. To support this number of students so that they can afford to complete the overseas study and work necessary to do well in their undergraduate degrees, we need to make grants averaging £500 to each first year and £1,250 to each year-abroad student in the third year, a total of £5,250 in grants each year.
Robinson is fortunate to have a fund designed to support AMES students in this way, the Matsuo Fund, for studies in Japan. However, at present it has an endowment of just over £39,000, generating an annual grant making capacity of £1,560. Robinson would like to increase its endowment for AMES students to £135,000, a fundraising target of £96,000.