Kansai Gaidai University
About the Program
Kansai Gaidai University was established in 1945 for the purpose of promoting international education and cultural understanding. The university’s small modern campus houses a library, language labs, ceramics studio, lecture halls and a student lounge. The main campus is located in Hirakata City, where 4000 Japanese commuter students and 350 international students attend classes.
Students take courses within the Asian Studies Program, a division of the university that offers Japanese and Area Studies courses to international students. As a former student said, “I would recommend this program to anyone wanting to experience Japanese culture. The location of Kansai Gaidai is great for the experience. Being directly in-between both Osaka and Kyoto allows for easy access to many of the cultural experiences in the Kansai region of Japan.”
Hirakata and Osaka, Japan
Osaka has been a major center of commerce since the eighteenth century, and is still a vast and expanding hub of business and industry today. The metropolis exhibits many colorful aspects as can be seen in the competition for bigger and showier street signs which are on display in Minami (the southern part of the downtown district). As a center of pop culture, Osaka never ceases to generate a variety of new trends and give birth to new dimensions of the urban experience.
Kyoto was founded in the late eighth century, as evidenced by the ancient layout of its numbered avenues. While prestigious museums house the most valuable collections of Japanese art in the country, Kyoto itself is a fine museum in its own right. Fortunately, the city was not damaged in the Pacific War, and therefore many of its temples and shrines have been designated as national treasures for everyone to appreciate.
A train ride of a little over an hour will bring you to Nara the ancient capital preceding Kyoto, which also offers various cultural treasures to its visitors. Claiming to be the site of the first organized political state in Japan, Nara has the dignified atmosphere of an ancient capital.
Kansai Gaidai is located in the city of Hirakata, midway between Osaka, Japan's second largest industrial metropolis, and Kyoto and Nara, the ancient capitals of Japan. Located in the cultural heart of Japan, the Asian Studies Program draws on this heritage for field trips, independent research, and/or case studies. "Kansai" refers the area centering on Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe. The area centering on Tokyo is called the "Kanto" region.
- 3.0 cumulative GPA
- Recommended completion of Japanese language at Tulane during the year before departure
Fields of Study
The Asian Studies Program at Kansai Gaidai offers courses in the following fields of study:
Anthropology, Art Studio, Asian Studies, Communication, Cultural Studies, Economics, Film Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, International Relations, Literature, Philosophy, Political Economy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology.
As a student in the Asian Studies Program, you will be taking classes alongside other international students on the same campus as degree-seeking Japanese students. The curriculum of the Asian Studies Program is twofold; the rigorous Japanese language studies and courses in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Economics pertinent to Japan and Asia make it possible for participants to approach a wide array of study areas during their stay in Japan. While Japanese language instruction plays a key role in our program, we are by no means a language-training institute. Many of the courses in the Asian Studies Program are supplemented by outside field trips to such locations as the Kyoto National Museum, the Takarazuka Theater, and a number of temples, including Byodoin, Horyuji and Toji to name a few.
There are many ways you can get involved in campus life at Kansai Gaidai. There are over 13,000 local students willing to extend their assistance to international students, so the settling-in process should be quite smooth. In order to facilitate initial contact with local students, various friendship programs are organized. It is up to your initiative to join these activities which will make campus life more enriching and interesting.
Since the Asian Studies Program follows the typical academic calendar of overseas institutions in the northern hemisphere (i.e. August-May), there are times when many local students may not be around (e.g. February and March are the spring break in Japan). However, you will always find some local students taking courses with you in each class. Moreover, increasing diversity among international students adds the special flavor of learning about many other cultures, which will make your campus life an international experience. The campus life at Kansai Gaidai will provide you with a rich opportunity for personal and intellectual growth.
Kansai Gaidai University offers its international students the option of staying with a homestay family or in an on-campus dormitory. Homestay participation is strongly encouraged, for it is an excellent opportunity to acquire and enhance knowledge about the Japanese language and culture. In the homestay program, students eat all meals (except lunch during the school week) with their host family. Experience in living with a Japanese family may be the highlight of your stay in Japan. As one past student remarked, “Staying in a homestay is the main reason my conversational Japanese became good. My host family spoke little English with me so I always communicated with them in Japanese.”
In the dormitories, students are expected to prepare their own meals in the fully equipped kitchens or eat at university cafeterias or local restaurants. Students make their housing arrangements with Kansai Gaidai University. One student, who stayed in the apartment-style dorms, said that they “were quite nice. The RAs and dorm host-parents were always hosting informative and fun events, and were always available to help with any number of issues.” Whichever option you select, you will find a supportive community to guide your time in Japan.
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