Kansai Gaidai University

Kansai Gaidai University

About Kansai Gaidai University

Kansai Gaidai is a private, non-profit institution composed of Kansai Gaidai University, Kansai Gaidai College, the Graduate School, and the Asian Studies Program. All of these schools are fully accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education, which is the sole accrediting agency in Japan.

The University is situated in Hirakata City on the Yodo River midway between Kyoto and Nara, Japan's ancient capitals, and Osaka, Japan's second largest modern industrial metropolis next to Tokyo. Located in the cultural heart of Japan, the campus provides an excellent starting point from which to begin exploring of a land that, by anyone's standards, is truly fascinating. Many of the cities in the Kansai region are extensively utilized in the Asian Studies Program through field trips, independent research, and/or case studies. 

Because of Osaka's urban sprawl, many view Hirakata as simply a suburb of Osaka lacking any distinct characteristics of its own. Yet, Hirakata does boast a number of historical monuments including ancient tombs, Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines that attest to its long history. For instance, next to the Kansai Gaidai campus is a 5th century tomb, and within a fifteen minute walk lies a 17th century Shinto shrine. Still, many people who visit Hirakata today come to enjoy its amusement park, Hirakata Koen, which is famous for a huge chrysanthemum festival in the fall.


A limited number of participants are accepted for the Kansai Gaidai exchange each year and the selection is fairly competitive. Students applying to the Kansai Gaidai program must demonstrate strong academic achievement and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Previous study of Japanese language and/or culture is not required but is a plus.  This program is only available to Millersville University students.

Please note: Due to increased demand for this program, students are only able to apply to study abroad through this program for one semester at a time.  Extension of the study abroad program to a subsequent semester may be possible and will be determined on a case by case basis. 

Most students who study abroad are traditionally juniors. However, students can and do study abroad anytime after they have completed 24 credits. Students should complete an application to study abroad one semester before wishing to go abroad. An official transcript and a minimum of two recommendation forms from MU professors are also required. The Office of Global Education will then review all applications. Approval will be determined shortly after the application deadline and students will be notified via email at the address noted on the application.


Courses for those participating on exchange within the Asian Studies Program are comprised of two parts: Japanese language courses and Asian area studies courses. For language courses, students are divided into levels of instruction according to the results of placement tests conducted upon arrival at Kansai Gaidai. Asian area studies courses are offered in various fields ranging from business and economics to religion, history, culture, and politics.  These courses are all taught in English by professors with extensive academic backgrounds in Japan and Asia and considerable experience teaching international students.

Please note: no prior Japanese language ability or experience is required. However, all students are required to take an introductory 5-credit Japanese language class.  There is also an option to take a 3-credit Kanji and Reading class.  For more information on the curriculum and courses offered, click here.

Courses Class Type Credits Length # of classes per week
Japanese (Levels 1-8) Mandatory 5 90 min 3
Kanji and Reading (Levels 1-8) Elective 3 90 min 2
*The mandatory Japanese course includes the study of four skills (i.e., speaking, listening, reading and writing).

Kansai Gaidai's program in Japanese and Asian Studies in internationally renowned.  It therefore attracts students from all over the world, contributing to a truly international community on the Kansai Gaidai campus. For a more detailed overview of the experience at Kansai Gaidai, click here and see Campus Life.

Housing & Meals

Students may choose to live in a dormitory or participate in the homestay program. The meals included for homestay are breakfast and dinner as well as all weekend meals. For lunch on weekdays, a lunch allowance will be provided for students to eat at the on-campus cafeteria. The homestay is a popular option and often times more students select a homestay than there are host families available.  Students initially selecting a homestay should be aware that there is a possibility they will still be placed in the dormitory if they cannot be matched with a family.

For those students electing to live in a dormitory, a larger meal allowance will be provided to cover three meals per day. Students may also prepare meals in the dorm kitchen, eat at on-campus cafeterias, or nearby restaurants. Full kitchen facilities are available in the dormitories. During winter break, if students wish to stay in the dorms, an additional fee will be charged. Please ask for the current prices if you seek this option. Students may, however, prefer to spend this time traveling or to stay with friends.

A student who wishes for the independence and diversity of the dorm but also wants to experience life with a Japanese family can opt to participate in the Home Visit program.  This program allows students to become acquainted with aspects of Japanese culture and daily life through interaction with a Japanese family on the weekends. 

Click here for more detailed housing information.


Fall semester classes start at the end of August and continue until the middle of December. The Spring semester starts at the end of January and finishes at the end of May. See the Kansai Gaidai Academic Calendar for important dates.


Studying abroad requires a student to plan for both academic costs/fees and personal travel expenses. It is important to keep in mind the cost of living and currency exchange rates compared to costs associated with living in Millersville. For example, living in a large city will be more expensive than living in Millersville. However, in other areas of the world, the cost of living may be less. Traveling while you are abroad is an additional expense for which you must also plan for realistically. Always keep your travel plans in financial perspective. 

To help students plan for all academic costs, the Office of Global Education prepares cost worksheets for all official MU study abroad programs. These cost worksheets take into account all academic costs associated with studying abroad. Some of the amounts listed are estimated for budgeting purposes (airfare, meals, and living expenses); others are actual fees (tuition, passport fees, insurance, participation fees, etc.). Global Education does not provide estimates for additional personal travel.

Cost Worksheet(s):

Here is an estimated worksheet of costs for the Fall 2015 semester at Kansai Gaidai- Kansai Cost Worksheet [PDF] 

Cost Overview:

Students pay MU tuition (in-state or out-of-state depending on residency), the mandatory MU technology fee and an ABS program charge directly to Millersville. There is an additional non-refundable, non-transferable MU program participation fee and application fee paid directly to Millersville, due at the time of application. Students pay separately for accommodations.

Billing for study abroad at Kansai Gaidai University follows the regular Millersville billing cycle. Bills are sent out and due to MU on the customary schedule.

Students pay Millersville University tuition, room, board, and general fees directly to MU. There is an additional non-refundable, non-transferable MU program participation fee and application fee paid directly to Millersville, due at the time of application.

Funding Your Experience

Students should investigate loans which may be available, such as Federal Student Aid. Students should contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if their scholarships are transferable, since scholarships have individual regulations. Students can also look into scholarships or grants such as Bridging Scholarships for Study Abroad in Japan.

Another option is to research online on www.studyabroadfunding.org.

Please see Financial Considerations for more information.

Transfer of Credit

Students should work with their major/minor advisors to select courses which help them make academic progress. Courses may fit into their major(s), minor(s), and General Education requirements, where appropriate.  The Office of Global Education cannot provide academic advice or determine class equivalencies. 

After being accepted to study abroad, a Study Abroad Transfer of Credits Form and detailed instructions are  made available to students and must be completed before a student leaves. This form gives students and their major/minor departments the opportunity to determine potential course choices abroad and the MU equivalencies before departure.  With advisor, department, and The Office of Global Education approval, the Transfer of Credits Form can also be amended while abroad, should students choose to register for other classes that was not originally approved. 

After the study abroad program is completed and a transcript is sent to Millersville University, all courses taken will come back to Millersville as transfer credit. Consult the Undergraduate Catalog ("Transfer Credit") for details regarding Millersville University’s transfer policy.

To Apply

Refer to Global Education's home page at www.millersville.edu/globaled for the application release date and the final application deadline for each cycle. Approximate deadlines for applications are as follows:

  • Fall: mid-February
  • Spring: mid-September

Before downloading and submitting an application to study abroad through this program, students are STRONGLY encouraged to research the program thoroughly and discuss their plans with the Office of Global Education, their academic advisor(s) and any family members or other parties involved in the decision making process.

To apply, click on the following link to be directed to the "To Apply" webpage. Be sure to read all instructions before completing an application to study abroad: To Apply webpage