The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Kansai Gaidai University have exchanged students since 1978! The Asian Studies Program at Kansai is an exciting opportunity for you to take courses in English with Japanese language courses.
Kansai Gaidai University (Gaidai) is located in Hirakata City (population 410,000), midway between Osaka, Japan's second largest industrial city, and Kyoto, the ancient capital (map). Located in the cultural heart of Japan, Gaidai's campus provides an excellent starting point from which to begin your exploration of a land that, by anyone's standards, is truly fascinating.
Kansai Gaidai was founded in 1945 as a private language institute. Today it is a university that currently enrolls more than 15,000 students, including approximately more than 600 students from 40 countries who enroll in the Asian Studies Program. For a campus map click here.
HOUSING & MEALS
You have a choice of staying with a Japanese family or in a dormitory:
Kansai Gaidai recommends that students stay with a Japanese family, at least for one semester. In addition to the advantages language immersion, staying with a family adds substantially to learning about Japanese culture and society. Many past students list it as the most important part of their experience. You will eat breakfast and dinner with your family and buy lunch at a campus cafeteria. The location of host families can vary from a short walk to a train ride away. Students can expect an average of an hour for commuting. The Japanese public transportation system is extensively developed so commuting is not as difficult as it may seem.
The dormitory is Japanese-style, with two students sharing a room. Each is provided with a desk, drawer space, closet, futon, and bedding. Each floor has Japanese-style showers, a communal kitchen, a study room, and a student lounge. There is no meal plan; however, there are two full cafeterias and two "snack shops" on campus, offering food at relatively inexpensive prices. The dormitories are located within a 20-minute walk to Kansai Gaida.
To learn about eligibility requirements, academic offerings, and the academic calendar; click here: Academics - Kansai Gaidai
Below you will find more information on program costs: Spring 2014, Academic Year 2013-2014, Fall 2013
Want to see more pictures? Click here!
Student organizations, known as Clubs and Circles, abound. They range from sports to traditional Japanese cultural activities such as tea ceremonies or flower arranging. Clubs are very serious organizations; members are expected to be at every meeting. Circles are more laid back--just a chance to have fun with Japanese students. Also, choose to participate in the Experience Japan Program, where you will partake in Japanese cultural activities and have the opportunity to meet Japanese students while doing so. Past activities have included day trips, cooking, sports, making Japanese paper, learning calligraphy, etc.
During orientation in Japan, you can also sign up for the Speaking Partner Program, which matches you with a Japanese student who wishes to practice English. One past student reported, "My international friends and I would all eat lunch together with our speaking partners. This way, we all became one big group of Japanese and international friends."
Even if you live in the dorms, you can sign up for the Host Visit program. This is a chance to stay with a Japanese family on weekends and get a taste of Japanese life off campus. Kansai Gaidai will also give you information on possible volunteer opportunities. In addition to meeting people and giving back to your host community, you may be able to complete your service learning requirement.
Japan has been a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and encounter new ideas. The Kansai region provided me with a wonderful opportunity to see historic Japan by visiting Kyoto and Nara, and modern Japan by visiting Osaka. If you stay a year, you will find yourself becoming a part of society with many Japanese friends. This will undoubtedly be the most rewarding year of my college experience." -Chris
Hirakata City is well situated for exploring Japan. Osaka, Kyoto & Kobe are within easy reach. Recent participants also report visiting Gifu (to see old Japanese-style architecture), Hiroshima & Miyagima (on a class trip), Takamatsu (on Shikoku island), Tokyo, Nara (to see the deer park & large temple), Okayama, (a beautiful nature area), and Wakayama (to stay in a temple and see the ocean.)
For more information click here
HOW TO APPLY:
To apply, read the application instructions on the How to Apply Page. Then return to this program brochure page, and click the 'apply now' button at the top of the page.