Loyola University Maryland

International Programs

Osaka: Information For Parents

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Program Director

Kenneth Kwarciany
Assistant Director
Office of International Programs
Phone: 410-617-2910
kckwarciany@loyola.edu

Thank you for your interest in our study abroad programs! The goal of this page is to help you better understand the Osaka study abroad exchange program and highlight distinguishing features and components that will interest you as a parent. More detailed and updated information are given to your son or daughter in information sessions, academic reviews, workshops, and predeparture orientations. Once you read this information, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with your son/daughter first. Please know all information is given to the students, and we ask students to share all of this with you.

Sending students abroad is a partnership that includes students, parents, university personnel, and our overseas partners. We realize that you will have questions, and if our website or your son/daughter cannot answer those questions, we will be happy to discuss the study abroad process and program information with you. Please keep in mind that due to the FERPA federal regulation (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act), we will not be able to discuss specific information regarding your son/daughter; however, if your son/daughter is willing to sign a waiver form indicating the specific information to be shared with you, we will be more than happy to discuss specific matters regarding your son/daughter.

We hope you find this information helpful in assisting your son/daughter to accomplish his or her goal of learning, living, and serving abroad. We look forward to working with you and your son/daughter.

Background

Loyola students in the Osaka Exchange attend the prestigious and well known university Kansai Gaidai. Kansai Gaidai University is proud to be recognized as one of the leading institutions in the field of international education in Japan. The program now annually welcomes some 700 students from about 40 countries and regions.

Kansai Gaidai University is located in Hirakata City midway between Osaka City, Japan’s second largest industrial metropolis, and Kyoto. The University is located in the cultural heart of Japan. Gaidai’s campus provides an excellent starting point from which to begin an exploration of a land that, by anyone’s standards, is truly fascinating.

Exchange programs are different from Loyola programs in a few important ways. Students partaking in a Loyola exchange are looking for a more independent abroad experience. Loyola students, like other international students, are looked after and supported by the international office at Kansai Gaidai. The last important difference to note is billing and benefits differ from Loyola programs.

Travel/Arriving to Osaka

Students are responsible for arranging their own flight to and from Japan and for paying for their airfare. We encourage students to review the airline carrier’s website information on a monthly basis due to the many changes airlines make. In addition, students will have to inform Loyola and Kansai Gaidai’s office of international programs of their departure and return dates.

Loyola recommends to students to purchase their airline ticket through a reputable travel agent or agency. We do know that online sites do offer less expensive tickets, but in the event there is a crisis that affects air travel, like snow storms, online sites may not be able to address your questions in a timely fashion, or it could shut down completely due to high volume requests. Travel agents may have inside information to help you make ticket changes quicker and can provide you with the most up to date airline and travel information.

Students will fly into Kansai International Airport located in Osaka. If your student arrives the official arrival day set by the university, someone from the university will pick them up in a bus and transport them back to campus in a suburb of Osaka called Hirakata City. Students must reserve this option with Gaidai beforehand during the application process. If not, students must take a train to Hirakata City and either take a bus or a taxi to campus. Most signage is in English, but can be a bit complicated for students to do with luggage.

In terms of international travel, we highly encourage you to be checking the airline’s website for their luggage restrictions as you pack your son/daughter to go. It is subject to change and can be very expensive if students do not follow their restrictions/requirements.

On-Site Support

Our students, as well as all other international students, are supported by an on-site international student’s office. The staff in the office is bilingual and the majority of them have had international experience. This office conducts the international orientation and plays an important role in acclimating Loyola students to the various parts of campus and the city.

Our students should go to this office for all issues that they might encounter: academic, health and illness, housing, travel, administrative issues, etc.

Academics/Grades

The exchange program accommodates many majors, making it a popular program. Students usually take a course load of 14 to 17 credits per semester. Among these courses, international students are required to enroll in a spoken Japanese class as well as a written/reading Japanese class. Gaidai offers this class at seven levels and there are about 12-15 students per class.

All other classes offered to international students are taught in English and there is a maximum of 35 students per class. There are more than forty business courses offered as well courses in social sciences and humanities. Many of the classes that our students take have a focus on Japan and/or Asia. Many of the classes offered include a trip to enhance the learning of our students.

All grades transfer back to Loyola at the end of the semester, as opposed to the pass/fail system. The transcripts from Kansai Gaidai arrive to Loyola about one month after the students’ return. Grading system is the same as the American system.

For more information, please view the following websites:

Academic Calendar

This exchange program is offered for either the fall or spring semester.

  • Fall Semester: August/September–December
  • Spring Semester: January/February–May

Housing

Loyola students that choose the Osaka exchange have two housing options: homestay or dormitories on campus. The homestay families are carefully selected by the Center for International Education and works closely with Kansai Gaidai to make sure students are happy and comfortable.

Living with a host family has given our students an excellent opportunity to learn the Japanese language and culture first hand. Kansai Gaidai has full time homestay coordinators that are available to help students get settled. Host families usually provide two meals a day, but it may vary family to family.

The second living option is a dormitory. They are called Seminar Houses on Kansai’s campus. They are fully furnished, come equipped with a full kitchen and provide a cross-cultural learning environment. There are a few living arrangements that the Seminar Houses offer: single rooms, double rooms or apartment style living.

Campus/Student Life/City Life

Kansai Gaidai offers many culturally enriching opportunities to international students. One experience is their "Conversation Partner Program," where international students are paired up with Japanese students to work on conversation in both English and Japanese. Another one is the "Experience Japan Program" that invites international students to cultural events organized by local students. Lastly, our students have partaken in the "Home Visit Program." For those students that do not want to commit to a full semester of living with a host family, this program allows them to spend one day with a homestay. In addition, field trips are frequently conducted to enhance and supplement students’ classroom experience.

Hirakata City is located midway between Osaka (Japan’s 2nd largest metropolis and a center of pop culture) and Kyoto (Japan’s ancient capital with numerous national treasures and World Heritage sites). It is popular amongst international students to buy a bike to get around the city. During the two day orientation, students will be walked through the ins and outs of the city and the campus.

Health Insurance

Loyola has also arranged emergency travel Assistance/evacuation and repatriation coverage for each student through Chartis. In addition, it is required that students have an active domestic health care policy that will cover them internationally. The minimum coverage for Japan is $45,000 for medical/injury treatment. Each student should check with their current health care provider to ensure they will provide coverage while abroad-most will do so on a reimbursement basis. We keep proof of this in the student’s file just in case, the proof usually is a letter from the insurance company or a print out of the international policy description from one’s policy.

Students may also choose to join the Japanese National Health Insurance after arrival in Japan. Students will receive information about this additional medical insurance upon arrival and if they are interested, it is up to them to enroll and comply with the necessary requirements. It is important to realize that this insurance only covers the students while in Japan, so if your student plans to travel, once they leave the country they will be covered by their American plan.

Costs/Benefits

Because this is a Loyola exchange, all financial aid remains the same except for federal work study. Students pay Loyola tuition, and will be billed by Loyola as if they were staying on campus. Housing, however, is paid directly to Kansai Gaidai when students arrive. When Loyola students apply, they will have to designate which housing option they will choose. A home stay for one semester costs about $4,230 per semester. This price includes meals (excluding weekday lunches). A double room on campus is about $2,200 per semester, and a shared room in apartment style housing costs about $2,627.

As mentioned above, students are responsible for airfare. In addition, students will also be responsible for fees incurred to acquire the Japanese Visa. In preparing their paperwork to study abroad, the Office of International Programs will help students to apply to Kansai Gaidai. Once accepted, students receive a document from Gaidai called the Certificate of Enrollment. With that document, students will apply for the visa.

Student’s expenses in Japan will vary greatly depending on how much they travel, shop and go out at night. The range for how much students spent in the past semesters is between $3,500-$7,000. It is a very large range, but again, will depend on how much your student travels, drinks, and eats in a restaurant.

Money/Banking in Japan

You and your family will soon become experts at international banking transactions. You will want quick access to your funds, and you will also want to protect your money against loss.

It is very important that students contact their banks and major credit cards before going abroad to let them know that they will be in Japan and their dates. If not, most banks and major credit cards will freeze their accounts once they see abroad transactions because they will assume that the card was stolen.

Students have the option of opening a bank account in Japan or using their American account to draw from. If your student opts to draw from their American account, they must educate themselves on the fees for withdrawing money and using their credit card outside of the US. Fees and taxes tend to be expensive. If your student opts to open a bank account in Osaka, they must prepare themselves for a lengthy process. When they arrive, they should speak to the International Office about which bank they suggest and exactly what documents they will need to open the account.

Travelers Checks

In addition to your ATM card, bring some of your funds in travelers checks. This is a more convenient way to carry your money. With traveler’s checks, you have immediate access to your money and checks can be used to open a local bank account. Be sure your checks are from an internationally recognized source such as Visa, American Express, MasterCard, or Cooks. If you are a member of AAA, you can obtain free American Express traveler checks at your local AAA office.

You decide in which currency to purchase your checks. If you buy Japanese Yen denominated checks, the exchange rate is fixed at the time of your purchase. U.S. dollar checks have a variable exchange rate based on when you change them. Most banks charge a fee for this service.

Credit Cards

You can use credit cards in Japan for everything from drawing cash to buying dinner or shopping. While Visa and MasterCard are more widely accepted than American Express for purchases, American Express offers its card holders some very useful financial services. Check with each company before you depart.

Drawbacks to Plastic

Even with careful planning and strict adherence to a budget, it is frighteningly easy to overspend. Finance charges can add up quickly if you extend payment on goods or take out cash advances. It is a good idea to establish an online banking account with your bank at home, so that you can monitor your spending in U.S. dollars.

Criteria for Acceptance and Application Requirements

For the Osaka Program, students must have (and maintain) a minimum of 3.0 CQPA. They should apply to Loyola’s international programs office by December 4 (Wednesday after Thanksgiving break) of their sophomore year, in order to be considered for fall or spring semester spots in their junior year. Disciplinary records from Loyola’s Office of Student Life are taken into consideration when reviewing applications. Students should mark down second and third choices in the event that we cannot offer them a spot in the Osaka Program.