Kansai Gaidai University (Hirakata, Japan)
Requirements: Students must be in their second year, in good standing at the home institution, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, and demonstrate a strong interest in Asian/Japanese studies.
Financial responsibilities: Students pay tuition directly to the home institution as normal. Students must pay housing and meal fees to Kansai Gaidai if they participate in a homestay program, which is recommended. If the students decide to live in a dormitory, Kandai Gaidai will refund the meal fees as meals are not included in the dormitory arrangement. Health insurance provided by the Japanese government will cover up to 80% of international student's medical expenses. Students are also responsible for transportation costs to and from Kansai Gaidai, as well as any other costs incurred while staying in Japan.
Room: Kansai Gaidai offers three dormitories called Seminar Houses. Seminar Houses I and II have rooms shared by two students, and Seminar House III has apartment-style housing for six to eight students. All Seminar Houses provide students with a desk, a closet, and a futon (bedding). Study rooms, student lounges, storage areas, and full kitchen facilities are also available. Another recommended housing option is participating in the Homestay Program, in which a student becomes a member of a Japanese family and participates in family activities, such as being present at meals, doing chores, having a set Japanese schedule, and going on outings with them. This option can be very beneficial to one wanting to truly experience Japanese family life.
Board: While Kansai Gaidai does not have a meal programs, there are three reasonably-priced cafeterias on campus that are open all day. The campus also has a McDonald's restaurant and Seattle's Best Coffee, which are open all day. Japanese cuisine has been influenced by many cultures. Meals commonly include curry, and the Japanese often eat ramen (Chinese) noodles; udon or soba (Japanese) noodles; okonomiyaki, in which a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetables are mixed in egg and batter and quickly cooked on a griddle; and tempura, in which seafood or vegetables are dipped in a light batter, fried, and quickly eaten.
Classes: All exchange students are enrolled in Kansai Gaidai's Asian Studies program. Students take Japanese classes in the morning and business/economics, social sciences, humanities, and studio art classes in the afternoon.
About Kansai Gaidai: Kansai Gaidai has a program for students who live in the dormitory called the Home Visit Program. This allows students to become acquainted with Japanese culture and daily life through interaction with a Japanese family on the weekend. The city of Hirakata is near the Yodi River and Ikoma Mountains, as well as the cities of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, and Osaka, Japan's second largest metropolis.
Visit the official Kansai Gaidai University website at http://www.kansaigaidai.ac.jp.