Kwansei Gakuin University

Attend Japan’s most famous baseball tournament or a Hanshin Tigers home game at Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, where Kwansei Gakuin University is located, halfway between Osaka and Kobe.

Take in a unique form of musical theatre in the nearby town of Takarazuka or the amazing food culture of Osaka! Kwansei Gakuin University’s cherry tree-lined campus features Spanish mission style architecture, reflecting the school’s founding in 1889 as a Methodist mission school.

Key information


English, Japanese


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2024-2025 applications

Fall 2024 and Winter 2025

Priority deadline: January 10, 2024

Apply Now

University-specific additional requirements

Two references required - 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

Click the image to view a series of video-interviews that Kwansei Gakuin did with past exchange students!

Program details

Areas of Study: The Contemporary Japan Program has two streams:

  • The Japanese Language Track is for students who wish to concentrate on Japanese Language Studies. This program gives access to Winter intensive courses for full-year exchanges as well as access to the Nihongo (buddy) program. There are two required courses in this program, a Japanese language course and a Kanji/vocab course.  
  • The Modern Japan Track is for students who would like to focus on the study of various aspects of modern Japan, and may choose if they want to take Japanese language courses or not. A Modern Japan Seminar course is required.

The CJP brochure has a full list of all available courses for 2018-19. Students in either track also can take English-taught electives in the International Studies Program (page 19 of the linked brochure). 

Note: Please indicate which stream you wish to choose from in your course list on your online application. All courses in this program (except for the language classes) are offered in English.

Course Information:

Course descriptions can be found online.  3 UCalgary units (1 half-course equivalent) = 4 Kwansei credits.

Students should take between 12-20 credits per semester - we recommend students to take 16 credits. Full-year students are also required to take at least 2 credits during the Winter Intensive Period.

The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • The Fall Semester runs from mid September to mid-January (must stay through to January).
  • The Spring Semester runs from late March to mid-July.

Full-year students are also required to participate in the Winter Intensive Program, which runs from mid-February to mid-March, so full-year studies are only an option for students taking the Japanese Language Track.

  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. KGU provides a cost of living estimate in their brochure on page 33. 

    Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, 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.

Kwansei Gakuin guarantees accommodation to all incoming exchange students.

Homestays: The majority of students are placed in homestays, which allow for the greatest immersion into the language and culture. Homestays include 2 meals per day on weekdays and 3 meals per day on weekends and holidays. Cost is roughly 2,200 JPY/day. 

A limited number of dormitory spaces are available for exchange students. Most dormitories are located off-campus. The dormitory fees varies according to the dormitory, but range from 35,000-55,000 JPY/month, excluding meals and utilities. 

Learn more about the homestay and dorms here!

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 2.5.

Kwansei Gakuin University offers courses in both English and Japanese. All students must have taken a minimum of Japanese 205 in order to study at KGU.

Kwansei Gakuin has specific forms that references need to be submitted on. Please do not approach your professor for a reference until after you have been accepted by our office. Two references are required, one of which must be from your Japanese instructor, if applicable

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

What supports or services are available at KGU?

The Student Services Centre at KGU provides much of the student life supports including disability support and chapel services.

While the school maintains chapel and events put on by the KGU Christian Center, there is no religious requirement. Students from other faith backgrounds are also supported and Mosques and Synagogues are available in the area. 

Students in the Japanese Language Track can apply to be introduced to KGU students in their first semester who will act as their "Nihongo Partners" to assist in learning Japanese over the period of each course. In language classes, contemporary and practical Japanese will be acquired through interactive activities with Nihongo Partners, such as eating lunch and going shopping together. Cultural classes not only involve classroom lectures, but include a variety of real-world experiences such as a fieldtrip to Kyoto, Japanese sweets cooking workshop, and joining extracurricular club activities, where knowledge on traditional cultures can be cultivated.

What's special about KGU?

Kwansei Gakuin is one of the few Japanese partner universities that offers longterm homestay options to exchange students wishing to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and language. 

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.


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.