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


2022-2023 applications

Program is not open for 2022-23

University-specific additional requirements

Two references required - see the Eligibility section below.

2023-2024 applications

Open November 1, 2022

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.


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.


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.


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 2.7 (B-).

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.

One academic reference is required for a complete application. Please note that while only one reference is required for our application, Kwansei Gakuin requires a second Japanese language reference to be submitted with their application from a different referee. You must submit this additional reference only if and once you are nominated to this partner, since the reference needs to be completed on a specific form. 

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. 

Kwansei Gakuin's semester runs from Sept 21 - Jan 21 . There will be an online orientation September 1 that all students are expected to attend. 

KGU's courses are divided in two categories: 

  • Japanese Language Courses (1 KGU credit each) - reading, writing, listening, and speaking (if seeking these courses, you will be asked to do an initial self-assessment of your language skills and later do a language placement test to ensure you attend the right course level) They offer the Intensive course at each level twice a day to hopefully fit more time zones.
  • Japan Studies Courses (2 KGU credits each) - variety of courses in topics such as politics, international relations, business/economy, arts, culture, society

Courses are taught over livestream according to Japanese time (use a timezone converter to check what time it will be in your location!). You must be present for the whole class period to be considered present. Please see the program page for more information, including information about their buddy program!

Virtual exchange students are allowed to take as few or as many courses as they wish from KGU. However, UCalgary students are recommended to take enough courses to make up at least 4 KGU credits. 4 KGU credits = 3 UCalgary units = 1 UCalgary semester course. Your UCalgary academic advisor can explain how the courses you wish to take will "combine" and transfer back to your degree. Any extra credits are not guaranteed to transfer back (for example, if your courses equal 6 KGU credits, you will get credit for 1 UCalgary semester course) although it may be possible for you to use up the extra credits if you attend a future in-person exchange at KGU. 

UCalgary students will pay UCalgary tuition for these courses according to the credit transfer, not the actual number of KGU courses. 



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.