Past Review

By (Philosophy., SUNY Purchase) for

Kansai Gaidai University: Hirakata - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience held so many wonderful memories and experiences, and I wouldn't change it at all. Other international students are often quite interested in traveling together and participating in various activities both on and off campus. I found myself far more motivated to do well in school because of this program; it allowed me to delve into my academic interests and inspired me to think about working in Japan in the future.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Full-Year 2008

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Kansai Gaidai offered challenging courses that also allowed for plenty of free time in cultural experiences outside of school. Language, reading and writing, and other courses were offered, and all were excellent from my experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Center for International Education at Kansai Gaidai was absolutely incredible. They helped the students at all possible times, and often extended information about opportunities in the community that many students were able to partake in and enjoy.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a host family who had been taking care of international students for about 30 years. The experience was invaluable, and my language improvement was possible largely because of speaking with my host family. They also took me on weekend trips, so I got to see parts of Japan that I never would have experienced otherwise. Also, the food was incredible. I enjoyed the commute to school every day, and my host family was not strict about what I did with my free time.

* Food:

From my experience, Japanese food is some of the healthiest and tastiest in the world. I recommend that people go to Japan with an open mind, as there are many foods we are unfamiliar with. It may be a good idea to live in the dorms or apartments if a student is a vegetarian, as host families may have difficulty catering to this dietary decision.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were several events planned by Kansai Gaidai for the international students as well as events we could get involved with. I was part of a karate circle, and met many Japanese students my age. A field trip to Hiroshima was quite memorable, and festivals at the school were always fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The students received a number of emails regarding public health and safety, which made me feel like the administration cared deeply for its students. Japan is a very safe country, and I never felt threatened or scared by anyone. Also, even without Japanese health insurance, taking a trip to a doctor was quite inexpensive compared to costs in the United States.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


Language acquisition improvement?

I had no previous knowledge of Japanese before I arrived, but the professors were extremely gracious, patient, and understanding. Because of their ability to encourage students, I was able to test out of level 2 Japanese and move on to level 3 in my second semester.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is absolutely amazing. For any students interested in Japan but have no language experience, don't worry! There are plenty of ways to get involved and learn at your own pace. I highly recommend the homestay program, which greatly facilitated my language ability and opened new doors to Japanese culture.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Zen Buddhism

Course Department:
Instructor: Elizabeth Kenney
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was one of the best classes I have ever taken. I had background knowledge in Buddhism before arriving in Japan, but this class allowed me to study and experience Zen in ways that would not have been possible outside of Japan or even with a different instructor. Professor Kenney was incredibly knowledgable and engaged with the subject and devoted time outside of class for students.
Credit Transfer Issues: All of my credits transfered just fine, but students should be aware that some institutions do not factor in GPA from studying abroad.