This program offers introductory through advanced Japanese language study and a wide rage of Japanese and Asian Studies courses taught in English, including a few studio art courses. Housing options include homestay and dormitory. The campus located about 45 minutes from the center of Kyoto. Kansai Gaidai hosts an average of 700 international students every year for its Asian Studies program, one of the biggest in Japan. Enroll for a semester or the academic year.
Kansai Gaidai University is in Hirakata City (pop. 406,000), which lies in the middle of the triangle formed by Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Travel to each of these surrounding cities is about 45 minutes by train. A new campus with pleasant buildings is surrounded by the residential neighborhoods of Hirakata City where department stores and all necessary conveniences are close at hand.
Founded in 1945 as a small language school, Kansai Gaidai has fulfilled its founder's dream of a large, internationalized university with a current undergraduate enrollment of 10,000 and 700 international students. Japanese students can major in English, Spanish or International Languages and Communication, and they are strongly encouraged to study abroad during college.
All students must enroll in a 5-credit Japanese language course (three 90-minute course meetings per week) and may also choose to enroll in the appropriate level, 3-credit "Kanji and Readings" course (two 90-minute course meetings per week).
The Asian Studies Program offers approximately 45 lecture courses (3-credits each) taught in English on topics ranging from the more traditional (Survey of Japanese Art) to the leading edge areas of international business, Asian Psychology and Gender & Sexuality in Japan. Your classmates will be mostly from the U.S. Kansai Gaidai's location allows many classes to go on field trips, and there are also Studio Art courses offered in ceramics and Japanese brush painting, manga drawing and koto (Japanese harp).
Most of the professors are trained in North America so class expectations are similar to those in the U.S. See Course Descriptions for recently offered courses in the Asian Studies Program.
Kansai Gaidai is able to offer either homestay or dormitory. The homestays are scattered throughout Hirakata City so there is usually a short commute involved, either by bus or by bicycle. The homestay arrangement includes two meals per day, breakfast and dinner. Homestay families generally have a curfew for international students, especially during the first couple of months. The International Student dormitories are located about 10 minutes walk from the campus and offer double rooms of semi-traditional Japanese style, with tatami floors. Students are expected to cook their own meals in the shared kitchenettes or buy meals at the on-campus cafeteria.
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 Kansai Gaidai
After the UMass screening process for applicants to any of the Japan Exchange programs, students will be nominated to Kansai Gaidai by the Asia programs advisor. Students will then receive login information for K-GENESYS, Kansai Gaidai's online application system. The online application must be completed by May 15 for fall or academic year study, or by November 1 for spring semester study; thus students must complete the UMass screening process at least one month in advance to make sure they are nominated in a timely fashion. The application requires a Japanese Instructors Reference form (for students who have had prior Japanese study), as well as two other faculty recommendations. Be sure to ask for these recommendations in a timely fashion to allow adequate time for your instructors to write thoughtful recommendations for you.