Sophomores, juniors and first semester seniors have the opportunity to enroll in the Asian Studies program at Kansai Gaidai University, located in Hirakata, Japan. The Asian Studies program at Kansai Gaidai was established in 1972, and hosts more than 700 international students annually. Coursework covers a broad spectrum of subjects, and students will find themselves alongside Japanese and international students from more than 40 countries in their Asian Studies courses. All students will take Japanese language while on the program, but need not have completed Japanese language coursework prior to participation.  

  • Based in Hirakata
  • Fall or Spring semester; or academic year
  • Pre-requisites: 3.0 GPA; one Asian Studies course OR a course with significant Asian content.
  • Must take Japanese language course
  • St. Lawrence University students live with homestays.

Apply to Study in Japan

Location     Academics     Co-Curricular     Housing     Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


Hirakata is located midway between Osaka and Kyoto, both cities being about an hour away by train. 

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Students MUST take 15 credit hours at Kansai Gaidai. Students may need to take 5 courses in order to fulfill the credit hours requirement. 15 credit hours is equivalent to 4.72 SLU units.  

Students select elective courses from within the Asian Studies program.  Coursework is offered in history, government, gender and sexuality studies, communications, economics, arts, psychology, literature, religious studies, and more.  

For course offerings and syllabi, please visit the Kansai Gaidai website.

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Students will have the opportunity to join organizations on campus, including the “Speaking Partner Program” and the “Experience Japan Program,” as well as Japanese cultural clubs and teams such as judo, flower arrangement, kendo, karate, tea ceremony, tennis, and soccer.   

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As with most SLU Study Abroad Programs, students are required to live with a homestay family.  Living with a Japanese family and taking part in its daily routines and conversations provides students with a unique and valuable insight into Japanese culture that they could not otherwise attain. Students must also be prepared for a potential commute of over an hour to campus. 

For more information about housing, please visit the Kansai Gaidai website.

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See the Kansai Gaidai website for the academic calendar and program dates. The Fall semester typically begins in late August and ends in mid-December. The Spring semester typically begins in mid-January and ends in late May. 

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students' participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session led by the CIIS office on culture shock, what to expect, as well as safety and security while abroad.

For arrival/pick up information, please visit Kansai Gaidai website.

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Program Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the Japan program please contact one of the following people.

CIIS Office: Dr. Helen Huang, Director of Asia Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Helen Huang, Questions about program academics.

Apply to study in Japan

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