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


Hirakata, Japan


English, Japanese


Fall, Winter, Academic year*

Program type


Application information

Application status


Fall 2021 Virtual Program

Deadline: July 10, 2021

University-specific additional requirements

Two references required (in person exchange only) - see the Eligibility section below.

For the virtual exchange, no references are required.

2022-2023 applications

Open November 1, 2021

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

Kansai Gaidai's semester runs from August 30 - December 18, 2021 (including final exams). There is a live Zoom orientation session held on August 23 that all students are expected to attend.

Students can choose to take 1 or 2 classes. The majority of classes are in a 90-minute format, 2 times per week. All classes are held live on Zoom at a selection of different times with the goal that students can attend at the time that best fits their time-zone. The lectures are also recorded to watch later, if necessary. (Time Zones 1 & 2 are designed for the Americas region.)

Class options: 

  • Japanese language learning: Japanese (beginner to advanced level), Kanji/Reading, (beginner to advanced level), Business Japanese (advanced level), Translation English to Japanese (advanced level) *Wondering what's the difference between Japanese and Kanji/Reading classes? For an explanation, click here
  • Variety of Japan & East Asian topic classes in subjects such as Literature, Religion, History, Art, Media, Music, Anthropology, International Relations, War, Politics, Economics, Business, Communications
  • Click here to view a full list of class options for online exchange students
  • Kansai will confirm which of your selected classes you have been enrolled in by August 3, 2021

UCalgary students will pay UCalgary tuition for these courses. Please note that Kansai charges an additional fee of JPY 10,000 (about CAD $125) for registration in their virtual student event program, which is due to be paid by August 17, 2021. 

In addition to online classes, Kansai offers an intercultural engagement program. All students are expected to attend at least 1 of their cultural activities. Some example activities include: country quiz night, fashion show, digital art night, etc. This program includes local Japanese students. 

Hear from past students about their experience on this program - watch the video here!

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. 


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.


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 the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page 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.

An academic reference is required for a complete application. While only one reference is required for our application, students nominated to Kansai Gaidai will be required to submit a second academic reference. This second reference must be from a Japanese language instructor for students with previous Japanese language experience, so please ensure your first reference is a different person!
You can only submit the secondary reference after you have been nominated to this partner, since the reference needs to be completed on a university-specific form provided after nomination. 

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.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange 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

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: Tara Jorgensen

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.


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 study abroad 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 Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.