Nara

Kansai Gaidai University

Explore the Kansai region of Japan, famous for its food, entertainers and distinctive dialect at Kansai Gaidai University, about half an hour by train from both Osaka and Kyoto. 

Will you be able to squeeze through a hole the size of the nostril of the Great Buddha in Nara for enlightenment in your next life? Or become a real-life Snow White to some local Sika deer? Short for Kansai Foreign Language University, Kansai Gaidai offers several opportunities for local students and exchange students to interact and work together on language learning.

Key information

Location

Hirakata, Japan

Language

English, Japanese

Semester

Fall, Winter, Academic year*

Program type

Exchange

Application information

Application status

Open

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2024-2025 applications

Fall 2024 and Winter 2025

Priority deadline: January 10, 2024

University-specific additional requirements

Two references required, min GPA 3.0 - see the Eligibility section below.

These references will not be collected at time of application but during the partner application step.

2025-2026 applications

Open November 1, 2024

Student experience

"I participated in a study abroad program at Kansai Gaidai in Osaka, Japan. Not only did I get to extensively travel throughout Japan, but I was also able to visit China, Taiwan, and SE Asia on various breaks."

Japan and Beyond

Taylor Sakon

Program details

Areas of Study:

Kansai Gaidai offers a wide variety of courses in English through their Asian Studies program for international students:

  • Studio Fine Art and Music courses (like ceramics, manga drawing, japanese harp)
  • Anthropology,  Art History, Asian Studies, Business (Entrepreneurship, Finance, Human Resources, Management, Marketing), Communications and Media,  Disability Studies (including Japanese Sign Language studies), Economics, Film Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, International Relations, International Business, Law & Society, Literature,  Philosophy,  Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, Visual Studies. 

[Search courses by Semester] [Review Course Syllabi]

All students are required to take one Japanese language course at their level. Courses on kanji and Japanese culture are also offered. 

Students may apply to add an internship in the summer to the end of their Winter exchange. Applications are competitive for the [Internship program] and happen in while you are in Japan. 

Course Requirements:

1 UCalgary half course equivalent = 3 Kansai Gaidai credits. All students are required to take the mandatory 5 credit Japanese course (provided at your level). All other courses are 3 credits and are at the 3rd and 4th year level. Students may take between 14-20 credits per semester (4-6 courses, including the mandatory Japanese course).

Full-year students may apply to take an independent study in the second semester. They must also meet academic requirements in the first semester to be eligible to stay for the second semester.

The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • Fall Semester runs from early September to late December. 
  • Spring Semester runs from late January to late May.

Kansai is our only Japanese partner with study dates compatible with those at UCalgary, so students may choose a Fall semester and still be back to take Winter semester in Calgary!

Please note that full-year studies at Kansai Gaidai may not be guaranteed - students applying for full-year studies will apply to Kansai Gaidai for an extension of stay during the fall semester they arrive, which will be considered on a academic and behavioral basis by Kansai Gaidai. 

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. Kansai Gaidai has general living expense budgets on their website. Relevant fees include accommodation (meals with homestay), reservation fee, general deposit (refundable), international student fee, liability insurance, and a dorm security deposit (for those staying in dorms). 

    Also, remember to include things like visas, textbooks, flights, health insurance, food (if relevant), vaccinations, etc. in your budget planning.

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learning program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, for more information.

Students can choose from a variety of housing options, including homestay, dormitory and off-campus housing.

For the 2018/19 academic year, here are some cost estimates:

Accommodation TypeOne SemesterFull Academic Year

Homestay*320,000 yen640,000 yen

Dorms**230,000 yen460,000 yen

* Homestay includes breakfasts and dinner on weekdays, 3 meals on weekends. 
** Additional Reservation fee of 2000 yen, and Refundable Deposit of 10,000 yen.  

Spring 2018, Kansai opened a brand new international dormitory, "GLOBAL COMMONS 結 -YUI-" which provides a ratio of 1:1 international and local students, is designed to facilitate cross-cultural community and learning. Various events are held each semester to enhance interactions between international and local students to help foster the growth of global citizens. 

Smoking is also prohibited on campus grounds and all university-owned facilities (including athletic fields). 

You can see some updated and additional costs here

Kansai also offers an optional Home Visit Program for students that want to visit Japanese families and get acquainted with local aspects of Japanese culture over some weekends. 

Student Experience: "Kansai Gaidai had YUI Global Commons for exchange students. It houses both international and Japanese students with a balanced ratio. The building is new, only a year old. It was clean and almost felt like a hotel. It was very well kept and cleaned. Beside the residences was the cafeteria where fresh, hot food could be bought. The Resident Advisors host events for resident students to get to know each other."

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at UCalgary, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B).

Students with no previous Japanese language are eligible for this exchange.

Kansai Gaidai has specific forms that references need to be submitted on. Two references are required, one of which must be from your Japanese instructor, if applicable. You may approach your professors to ask if they can provide you a reference specifically in February, after you have been accepted by our office. We cannot accept references that do not meet the partner's requirements and/or are on the school specific form.

Important Visa Info: Japanese citizens must travel on their Japanese passport.

What's special about Kansai Gaidai?

For students that want the independence of dorms but still experience cultural immersion with a host family can apply for the Home Visit Program to visit a Japanese family on weekends!

What resources are available for new students?

Kansai Gaidai offers Interaction opportunities with local students, like the Experience Japan Program and Speaking Partner Program.

What supports or services are available at Kansai Gaidai?

Counseling in English is now available on campus. An experienced U.S.-trained and licensed English-speaking counselor is present on campus on Mondays and available on call at other times to help students.


Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Flavien Niederst

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.

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International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.