Hirakata is an ideal city for students to get a taste of old and new Japan. The modern metropolis of Osaka and the temples of Kyoto are both less than 45 minutes away by train. The area abounds in traditional festivals, delightful eateries, and bustling shopping centers. With a population similar to that of Miami, Florida, Hirakara offers urban conveniences with small neighborhood intimacy.
Several courses in the Asian Studies Program at Kansai Gaidai
are effectively supplemented by outside field trips. Each semester, professors and students explore dimensions of Japanese society and culture that cannot be learned from books.
In most cases, you will be happy to discover that your expertise from class adds valuable background texture to what you see with your own eyes. Destinations of field trips in the past are:
The Experience Japan Program generates opportunities for international and Japanese students to meet and deepen their friendships. It does so by introducing international students to various aspects of Japanese culture. All activities are designed by Kansai Gaidai local students and publicized to international students by means of handmade posters. Some activities are free, and others have a small fee. International students pick the activities they wish to explore by viewing the posters such as the following:
Activities in this program are roughly divided into the following four major categories:
- Day Trips
- Cultural Activities
To name a few, the activities conducted thus far are:
- Day Trips to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Aquarium, Universal Studios Japan
- Cooking Japanese Food (Sushi, Sukiyaki, Okonomiyaki)
- Playing Basketball
- Learning Calligraphy
- Wearing Kimono
- Dancing Bonodori (Japanese traditional dance)
- Making and Flying Kites
- Making Japanese Paper, Washi
- Visiting Toei Samurai movie sets
International students are also welcome to organize activities along with Kansai Gaidai students.
The Curriculum of the Asian Studies Program is twofold: rigorous Japanese language studies and courses in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Business/Economics pertinent to Japan and Asia. This makes 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. For this reason, the structure of the program may not necessarily accommodate the needs of those students whose primary interest lies solely on acquisition of the Japanese language. Since all courses in the Asian Studies Program, aside from those focusing on the Japanese language, are conducted in English, it is possible for students with no previous Japanese training to pursue an in-depth study of Japan and Asia.
Given our primary framework of meeting upper-level undergraduate requirements, students must have at least one year (preferably two years) of college level instruction prior to coming to Kansai Gaidai. This way students will be able to fully benefit from our Course Offerings and to maintain our high academic standards. Due to this policy, there has been very little difficulty in Credit Transfer from Kansai Gaidai to the participants' home institutions.
After Your Trip:
at EIU to fulfill your senior-seminar
Homestay participation is strongly encouraged, for it is an excellent opportunity to acquire and enhance knowledge about the Japanese language and culture. Experience in living with a Japanese family can be the highlight of your stay in Japan.
The locations of host families vary from a short walk to train rides. Since not all the families are located close to the university, students must expect an average of one hour of commuting. Commuting involves walking, bicycling, or using public transportation (i.e. buses and trains). Since the Japanese public transportation system is extensively developed and well run, commuting may not be as difficult as it seems. A student discount on a commuting pass is available.
Students are provided with their own furnished bedrooms. The average room size is six tatami mats. Furniture may include a desk, closet, bedding, etc. Household items such as a washing machine, dryer, and TV are shared with the family members.
Two meals (breakfast and dinner) on weekdays are provided by the host family. Three meals on weekends are included in the homestay arrangement, though students have to buy their own food, should they choose to go out. The sorts of meals served at home may differ from one family to another, but what is most important is to be flexible and try everything at least once. Generally, the host mothers are much more accommodating to students preferences than normally expected. Students with severe dietary restrictions are strongly encouraged to stay in the dormitory where they can prepare their own meals.
In order to avoid the confusion caused by last-minute cancellations, the homestay placements are not finalized until immediately before the beginning of the semester. Therefore, homestay assignments are announced to students during the orientation program after arrival at Kansai Gaidai.
Dormitories are called International Seminar Houses and offer an international living environment. With the increasing number of nationalities, living in the dormitory will make it possible to acquire various cultural perspectives from your fellow students.
All four Seminar Houses are located within a 20-minute walk of Kansai Gaidai Nakamiya Campus, 10-minute walk from a supermarket, and a 20-minute walk from the nearest train station.
Dormitories do not offer catering services. Students are expected to cook their own meals in the kitchen or eat at university cafeterias or local restaurants. Each student is given a full range of cooking equipment such as cooking utensils, pans, cups, plates, knives, forks, and storage space in the shared refrigerator.
Living in the Seminar Houses may offer somewhat limited exposure to Japanese society, compared to what the homestay program can offer. Therefore, Seminar House residents are strongly encouraged to participate in our Home Visit Program, through which students are given the opportunity to visit and interact with a local Japanese family.
Foreign Entry Requirements
To enter a foreign country, you must have a valid passport. If you are a U.S. citizen and do not currently have a valid passport, or if your passport will expire during the time you will be overseas, please go to the U.S. State Department web site
for information on how to apply for/renew your passport.
Kansai Gaidai University will assist you in getting all necessary documentation for a Certificate of Eligibility, which they will forward to the Office of Study Abroad. You should then take it to the Japanese Consulate nearest your home or university to begin visa application procedures. You may apply for a student visa directly by appearing in person at the consulate, in which case you will be requested to fill out the visa application forms and attach two photos of yourself. Or, you may elect to go through the procedure by mail, in which case you should first write to the consulate and obtain a visa application form to be returned by mail.
Please note that EIU does not own, operate, or sponsor this program.