Kwansei Gakin University offers two tracks in its Contemporary Japan Program (CJP): the Japanese Language Track (5 credits of language plus 5-11 elective credits per semester) and the Modern Japan Track (Modern Japan seminar for 2 credits required, plus 8 -14 elective credits per semester). Students without prior Japanese study can enroll in either track. Students can elect to live with a family or in a dormitory. Students who study at Kwansei Gakuin for the full year will also enroll in the winter term, which carries an additional 2 credits. Semester study is also an option, but note that the fall semester ends around January 15. Nishinomiya City is poised between the large cities of Kobe and Osaka on the coast of the Inland Sea with mild winters and sea breezes during the summer.
Kwansei Gakuin University is a large private institution with a combined enrollment of 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Situated on the hills overlooking the city of Nishinomiya with the ocean in the distance, the campus is spacious and green with a Spanish architectural theme. Nishinomiya City has a population of 480,000 and there are department stores of many types available within a short walk or bus ride from the campus. Travel by train to Kobe or Osaka centers is about 1 hour in each direction.
Founded in 1889 by Christian missionaries, KGU has grown from a small school to nine undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools and two independent professional graduate schools. It is ranked among the top private Japanese universities.
Students in the Japanese language track will take at least 5 credits of language study each semester, though additional language courses are available, and choose the rest of their courses from the Japanese Studies curriculum taught in English. Courses in arts and culture, business and economy, society, politics and international relations and linguistics are available, and generally carry 2 credits each. Japanese is taught at 7 levels. A few courses related to Korea and China are taught each semester. Students with who have passed the N1 level of the Japanese Proficiency test and can pass the regular entrance examination can enroll in regular university courses taught in Japanese. Courses in the School for International Studies taught in English are also open to visiting students. Exams for both kinds of courses may occur after the CJP course exams.
Students in the Modern Japan Track are not required to study language, though 3 credit language courses at the beginning and intermediate levels are available to Modern Japan students, as are other 1 credit language study courses. The Modern Japan Seminar (2 credits) is required for students enrolled in this track. Students fill out their curriculum with English-taught elective courses in arts and culture, business and economy, society, politics and international relations and linguistics, which generally carry 2 credits each. A few courses related to Korea and China are taught each semester. Courses in the School for International Studies taught in English are also open to visiting students, however exams for these courses may occur after CJP course exams.
See the current CJP brochure for course listings and descriptions at: http://global.kwansei.ac.jp/study_abroad_at_kg/study_abroad_at_kg_203283.html
Kwansei Gakuin offers homestays for all exchange students and placements are between 30 min. - 1 hour commute of the campus. The homestay includes two meals per day, breakfast and dinner, and 3 meals on weekends. All homestays have internet, though not necessarily Wi-Fi. Students will be expected to observe a curfew for at least the first couple of months while learning the transportation system.
Dormitories are also available. Meals and utilities (except internet) are not included. Dorms provide single rooms with basic furnishings and shared kitchens. Some have shared bathrooms, others have private baths.
Visiting students are strongly encouraged to join student Clubs or Circles as this is the main method of connecting with Japanese students. The Clubs or Circles focus on a wide variety of activities from intramural sports to martial arts to music appreciation, kimono wearing and calligraphy. Students are urged to consider carefully the time commitment required as some of the clubs meet daily for 2-4 hours.
Students applying to any of the UMass-sponsored Japanese exchange sites must first complete the UMass Japan Exchange Program application and screening process which includes an interview. The deadline is early October for the spring semester, or early January for the following fall semester & year. After your interview, during which your preferred host university will be confirmed, your "UMass Japan Exchange Program" application in the UMass Abroad system will be changed to an application for your preferred university. There will be some additional documents that you must complete, and information about the actual university application.
Application to Kwansei Gakuin
Once the UMass screening process is complete, the Asia Programs Advisor will nominate students to Kwansei Gakuin. Kwansei Gakuin application materials are available online. PDF documents should be completed, saved to your hard drive, and then uploaded to the CJP upload website. Then they must be printed on A4 paper (available at IPO) and physically mailed to KGU by IPO before the deadline. The application includes a Japanese Language Assessment Report for students with prior Japanese study. Students without prior Japanese study or who are applying to the Modern Japan Track should request that an instructor who knows them well complete the Student Assessment Report instead. You should start talking to your Japanese language instructor or other instructor about your serious interest in study in Japan as well as other topics so that they can write a more detailed recommendation for you.