Sophomores, juniors and 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.
  • Enrollment caps may be limited to less than 15 per semester based on space limitations.
  • 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 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.

For the pre-approval course, please find it here


Course Credit Hours Conversion

In order to maintain full-time student status, SLU students must take the Japan courses that are equivalent to 3.5 units. However, in order to be on track for graduation, we require students to take 4 SLU units equivalent courses each semester while at off-campus programs. 

A 3-credit hour KGU course is equivalent to a 0.83-unit SLU course. 

14 credit/semester hours is equivalent to 3.88 SLU units that fulfill the full-time student status. However, if students are receiving any kind of financial aid or scholarship, students must contact the financial aid office to confirm the requirements for course credits.  

17 credit/semester hours is equivalent to 4.72 SLU units. 

Grade conversion: 

























Scholarship Opportunity:

The Bridging Scholarship program will award scholarships to American students participating in study-abroad programs in Japan that begin in Spring 2023. Undergraduate students majoring in any field of study and attending any recognized credit-bearing exchange or independent program in Japan are eligible to apply for these scholarships.

Recipients of Bridging Scholarships will receive stipends of $2,500 to $4,500, depending on the length of their study program in Japan. The scholarships are funded by donations from corporations, individuals, and foundations to the US-Japan Bridging Foundation. Since 1999, the Bridging Scholarship program has awarded more than 2,000 scholarships to students studying abroad in Japan. Most recently, 79 students received scholarships for study in Japan beginning in the Fall 2022 semester.

Spring 2023 study programs are those beginning between January and April 2023 and continuing for at least eight weeks. (Students studying in Japan beginning in Fall 2023 should apply beginning in February 2023.)

The deadline for applications for Spring 2023 Bridging scholarships is October 1, 2022. Applicants will be notified of the results by November 30. Selection will be based on academic potential and financial need. The scholarships are administered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese.

Applications should be submitted electronically. The online application form and complete information can be found here.

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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. Yanqiu Zheng, Associate Director of Asia and Pacific Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Mark MacWilliams, Questions about program academics.

Apply to study in Japan

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