FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

SHIPPING

Q1.
Can trunks and boxes be shipped prior to my arrival?
A1.

You should have no difficulty in mailing parcels to Japan through your local postal system.

Simply address them as follows:

  • Your name “NEW STUDENT”
  • c/o Center for International Education
  • Kansai Gaidai University
  • 16-1 Nakamiyahigashino-cho
  • Hirakata City, Osaka 573-1001 JAPAN
  • Phone: 072-805-2831

We will hold parcels addressed to you that arrive before you do. Large trunks, etc. which cannot be mailed through the postal system may be shipped through a shipping agency. However, upon arrival in Japan such items are usually held at the port of arrival for customs inspection, and you will probably have to claim them in person. There also may be some difficulty in having the items transferred from the port to Kansai Gaidai. If you choose to ship anything in this manner, please be sure to check all the details with your shipping agent, and understand that we cannot help you in bringing your trunks, etc. from the port to Kansai Gaidai. Please be aware, also, that shipping things back to your home country from Japan is extremely costly.

Q2.
How can I be reached while in Japan?
A2.

You will have your own mailbox on campus, so you may wish to give the above address to your family and friends.
You can also be reached by phone. International phone calls can be made from overseas countries by directly dialing:

  • Int'l – 81 (Country Code) – 72 (Area Code for Hirakata) – XXX – XXXX

The Center for International Education will not page you when a call comes in to our office, unless it is an emergency.

ORIENTATION

Q3.
What will be introduced during orientation?
A3.

Please refer to the Orientation Section of this site.

Q4.
Where can I stay during orientation?
A4.

You will be temporarily housed in our university housing during the orientation period. If you participate in our homestay program, you will move in with your family at the end of the orientation week.

Q5.
What do I do about meals during orientation?
A5.

Meal service is not available in the above accommodations, and kitchen facilities therein may not be used during the orientation period. Cafeterias on campus are available to the students. They serve various types of reasonably priced food.

There are also many restaurants in the area, which serve meals at reasonable prices(approx. ¥500-600).

Q6.
Do I need to bring personal articles such as towels, soap, etc. ?
A6.

Yes. None of our accommodations provide towels, soap, nor other personal items for your use; however, futon sets (Japanese bedding), a pillow, sheets, and a pillow case are provided by the University upon arrival.

Almost any articles used in your country should be found in our area, though some things may require a little searching or travel.

HOUSING

Q7.
Will I have the accommodation I requested?
A7.

Yes. Unless you hear from us otherwise, you will be assigned to the accommodation you have requested when you applied for our program. Please be advised, however, due to the increasing number of participants, we may have some difficulty in securing an adequate number of host families or accommodating all the students who request to live in our international student dormitories. Should it be necessary to ask you to choose some alternative, we will give you adequate notice prior to your departure from your home country.

Also, given this difficulty, we would like to urge you to inform us immediately if you have to withdraw from our program, particularly if you have requested a host family. We have had several cases in which families decided not to host another student because of the disappointment they experienced with no-shows of their prospective students without any notification. This sort of behavior not only puts us in a very embarrassing situation, but makes it difficult to operate our homestay program.

Q8.
When will I find out about my host family?
A8.

Homestay arrangements are not usually finalized until one week prior to the orientation period in order to avoid problems caused by last minute cancellations. Therefore, we are not able to provide any information on your host family prior to your arrival here. The information will be provided during the orientation period.

Q9.
What do you suggest I should bring for my host family?
A9.

Although you are not expected to bring any presents for your host family, it would be nice if you bring an inexpensive gift, such as picture book about the area where you live, candies, T-shirts, etc. Also, families will enjoy looking at pictures of your own family and friends.

Q10.
I will be staying in the dorm. What facilities are available?
A10.

There are four dormitories at our university which are co-educational and Japanese-style. Rooms are floored with "tatami" mats on which you will be sleeping.

Two students will share one room; each student has his/her own desk, closet, drawer space, futon (mattress) and bedding.

Each dormitory has kitchen(s) with some cooking utensils, shower rooms and laundry facilities. There are also storage rooms, student lounges and computer rooms.

Q11.
Are there any accommodations available during the winter break?
A11.

Yes. One or two dormitories remain open during the winter break. Homestay arrangements are not made during this period.

Q12.
Can I stay in the dorm during the summer before/after the semester?
A12.

No. All Kansai Gaidai's dormitories are closed during the summer months for major repairs. Therefore, students extending their stay from the spring to the fall should understand that they must secure their own housing during the summer.

Q13.
Does Kansai Gaidai provide housing for married students?
A13.

No. There are no accommodations for married students or families at Kansai Gaidai. Thus, such students must find off-campus housing.

FINANCIAL MATTERS

Q14.
When should I pay tuition and fees?
A14.

All necessary fees have to be paid before or during the orientation week. It is recommended, however, that you complete the required payments before your arrival at Kansai Gaidai so that your course registration and other necessary procedures can be completed without delay or complications. Since financial arrangements vary depending upon enrollment status, the specific information regarding your financial obligations will be sent to you together with your certificate of eligibility.

Q15.
Is there a bank at the University?
A15.

No. However, there are several banks available in Hirakata. We recommend that you open a savings account with the Sumitomo-Mitsui Bank, Hirakata Branch because at the beginning of each semester Sumitomo-Mitsui Bank representatives come to the university, and you can open your bank account right here through our office rather than going to the bank by yourself.

Q16.
How can I pay fees to Kansai Gaidai?
A16.

The following options are available for payment of fees due to Kansai Gaidai University. You may use one or a combination of these options to complete your payments:

  • Credit Card
  • Wire Transfer (Bank Transfer)
  • Cash

For more information, please refer to the payment method section.

Q17.
Will I need some yen in cash when I arrive in Japan?
A17.

Yes. We suggest that you have at least ¥50,000 in cash for your immediate use. Although payment by credit card has started getting common in Japan, Japan is still a cash-oriented country; the number of shops that accept credit card payment is limited, especially in residential areas like Hirakata.

Please also note that no payment by checks, including travelers' checks, is accepted at any local shops in Japan.

Q18.
How can I have money sent from my home country?
A18.

Wire Transfer

The fastest, safest (yet most expensive) way to have money sent to you from home is by wire transfer. In order to have money transferred by wire, you should first open a bank account upon arrival at our university. You should then send the following information to a person who will transfer funds to you:

  • Your Bank Account Number
  • Name of the Bank, Name of Branch Office
  • Address and Phone Number of the Bank
  • The Bank’s Swift Code
It still takes a few days to receive money in your bank account after action for transfers is initiated.
We advise you to open a savings account with the Sumitomo-Mitsui Bank, Hirakata Branch. The address of this bank is:

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Hirakata Branch
21-10, Okahigashi-machi
Hirakata City, Osaka 573-0032 JAPAN
Phone (072)-846-2551

International Postal Money Order

To have money sent by international postal money order, the person who will be sending you the funds must go to a local post office and ask that this check be issued. There may be a limit as to how much can be sent. This can easily be determined at the post office.

Q19.
Tips on Credit Cards, Debit Cards, etc.
A19.

Japan is still a cash-oriented country. Shops which accept payments by credit card are still limited.

If you wish to use a cash advance service by credit card or to have access to your bank account in your home country by debit card, etc., try the post office ATM machine on the Nakamiya Campus. If your card has a “PLUS” or “CIRRUS” mark on it, it should be accepted. If not, a trip to Osaka or Kyoto (40 minutes train ride) is required.

The handling fee and the maximum amount you can withdraw with your credit card or debit card varies; you may wish to check on this prior to your departure from your country.

Q20.
I am a full-exchange student/a JASSO Scholarship student. When will I receive my meal allowance/JASSO scholarship?
A20.

The meal allowance for full exchange students and the JASSO scholarships will be deposited directly into applicable students’ bank accounts in Japan around the end of the second month of a semester (Subject to change). Assistance in opening a savings account will be provided during the orientation week. Since it takes approximately three weeks to process these payments, please have sufficient funds for necessary expenses during the first two months of the semester.

ASSORTED TIPS

Q21.
What kind of clothing should I bring?
A21.

The climate of Hirakata is relatively mild. Seasons are quite distinct. Summers (late June – mid-September) are sultry, thus neat but cool attire (e.g. sandals OK, but avoid halters, tube tops, short shorts, etc.) Winters (December - February) are cold and damp; you will need a warm coat, sweaters, thick socks, and gloves. (Few Japanese homes are centrally heated; thermal underwear and the layered look is essential). Spring and fall are mild and pleasant, with the exception of early/mid-June when there is a 2-3 week rainy season.

Clothes that are somewhat "conservative" would be preferred; NEATNESS is the word.

Q22.
Can I purchase medicine, contact lens solution, etc. in Japan?
A22.

Yes. You can find most kinds of medicines here. Students wearing contact lenses should bring at least a month's supply of the necessary solutions, so that if you are unable to locate your necessities here, you will have a supply to last you until more can be sent from home.

Also, please refer to the sheet enclosed with your Certificate of Eligibility for detailed up-to-date information concerning regulations on medicines.

Q23.
How about traveling in Japan?
A23.

Transportation facilities in Japan are well developed and extensive. You will have no difficulty in finding means to visit places of your interest. In addition to a nation-wide railway system, many private railway lines are available in major cities. There are also networks of express buses and inter-island ferries.

Students in our program often take short weekend trips to places such as Hiroshima (Peace Park), Ise Shrine (known as one of the oldest shrines in Japan) and Tokyo (the capital city), etc. During longer breaks (spring recess or winter break) trips to Kyushu (southern part of Japan) are easy to arrange.

Transportation costs vary according to the type of service, and students often benefit from special discounts on some routes. Youth hostels, which are located throughout Japan, also help keep costs down.

Japan Railway Pass is available only for people coming to Japan as tourists and can be purchased only in your home country. You, as a student, cannot take advantage of this program.

Q24.
Electrical Appliances
A24.

The Japanese electricity supply operates at 100 volts. Most of the outlets will only accept a two prong plug. Some of the outlets will not accept a safety plug on which one blade is longer/wider than the other. Before you bring an appliance from your home country, you should be certain that it can operate on 100 volt electrical supply. If your appliance has a three prong plug then you should purchase an adapter in your home country.

Most computers do work in Japan. However, it may be difficult to find a printer which can be connected to your computer. If you bring a computer or a printer then it is very helpful if you also bring the system installation discs.

About...

Hirakata City

Hirakata City is situated on the Yodo River midway between Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, and Osaka, Japan's modern industrial metropolis. Hirakata boasts of a number of historical monuments including ancient tombs, Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines that attest to its long history. For instance, there is a 5th century tomb near university dormitories, and within a fifteen minute walk from the dorms, a 17th century Shinto shrine. Still, most Japanese visit Hirakata today to enjoy its amusement park (Hirakata Koen).


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Budgeting

You may find living in Japan rather expensive. Please make sure that you will have adequate funds to cover expenses necessary in Japan.

You should not count on earnings from part-time jobs, since it is illegal to work part-time without receiving special permission from the immigration office. Such permission will not be granted until the second semester at Kansai Gaidai, if granted at all. Students participating in our homestay program are not allowed to be engaged in any part-time jobs.

If you are in the homestay program, your family will provide breakfasts and dinners on weekdays, and three meals per day on weekends. Lunches can be taken at one of the on-campus student cafeterias. Prices range from ¥200 to ¥500. To help you in making realistic estimates, the following are examples of prices for various items:

  • Airmail Letter: ¥110 (min.)
  • Airmail Postcard: ¥70 (min.)
  • Hamburger: ¥160-¥350
  • 10 Eggs: ¥200
  • Movie Ticket: ¥1,800
  • Basic Bus Fare: ¥230
  • Box of Cereal: ¥200
  • Liter of Milk: ¥200
  • Pizza (9inch): ¥1,800
  • Haircut: ¥1,500-¥3,000
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