Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Applying to Kansai Gaidai

As I considered, then applied, to Kansai Gaidai, the resources that were the most informative and helpful (besides some of the official info) were blogs--those written by current and former KG Asian Studies students. It was wonderfully reassuring to hear (real!) people describe their application, social, academic, etc. experiences. Hopefully, this blog, too, will be of use to other prospective KG students. :)

Most of the student blogs are written by direct-exchange students--those who apply through their schools (which have an exchange agreement with KG). However, because my school is not affiliated with KG, I had to apply as an independent student. Though it was at first a really intimidating idea, now that I've gone through the process, I've realized it's not quite as daunting as it first may seem. In fact, certain aspects are simplified and far more efficient. But there are certain drawbacks, mostly relating to the payment of fees.  You'll see..

Okay, enough intro-talk, here's a basic sort-of detailed outline of the process!

(actually, before we start, KG provides an "at-a-glance chart of the entire procedure" HERE (pdf)--highly recommend you save that to your computer)

Applying to KG as an Independent Student
  1. Consider all the stuff you're supposed to consider before going abroad: Why do I want to go to Japan?  Why Kansai Gaidai?  When will I go?  Does this fit into my academic plan?  Can I afford this? etc.  Sometime during this process, bookmark the KG Asian Studies Program homepage.

  2. Make sure that you are eligible!!  Once you've decided you want to apply, this is something you should check before taking any more steps. HERE is the page on KG's website describing what requirements you need to meet before applying.  If you know you'll need financial help of any sort, you should probably start looking at this point (maybe not in earnest, but definitely do a couple google searches).
  3. Make sure that KG is eligible!!  Unless you're reeeally passionate about KG in particular, before you even go through all the trouble (and $$$) of applying, check to make sure your college or university will give you credit for courses taken at KG.  Every school's a little different in requirements, so check up on those, and look into the policies your school has about non-school-affiliated study abroad programs.
    *Independent Student Bonus!* KG's tuition is not cheap--$12,000/semester (at time of writing).  As an independent student, you are -not- eligible for JASSO (a very popular scholarship).  You are, however, eligible for a $6,000 tuition rebate (merit scholarship) from KG at the end of the semester, provided you: 1) maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA the two semesters (or three quarters, year, etc.) before attending KG, and 2) maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA during the semester at KG.  Something to keep in mind.

  4. Once you know you wanna go, e-mail KG to get access to the online application system, K-GENESYS.  The address and details you should include in the e-mail are listed HEREYou will receive two e-mails in reply: one contains your username and the K-GENESYS url, the other will contain your password.  These are both important; don't delete them.

  5. Fill out and submit the online application first.  Then, download the paper forms (these will be PDFs).  Fill them out, and mail them to Kansai Gaidai.  Request recommendation letters from three of your teachers (FYI: let your teacher know these can be submitted through e-mail!  Faster & cheaper!).  Try to have everything properly filled and assembled when you send your application out, so you only have to mail things out ONCE.  The checklist is very helpful--feel free to double and triple check your packet.  International postage is expensive.
    *Independent student bonus 1* Read Form G (Confidential Financial Questionnaire) carefully!  Especially the instructions (second page), #4 in particular.
    *Independent student bonus 2* (If you're from the USA) Pay for your US$50 application fee using an international postal money order.  There are regular postal money orders, and international ones; be sure to order the international one.  The order itself costs ~$3, so your total will be ~$53.  Include this in the envelope you send your application in, so you don't have to pay EVEN MORE postage.

  6. Check K-GENESYS to see whether KG has received your documents.  Once received, places where it says "Not received" will be replaced with the dates their office received it.  Once your application is finally complete and "under review," breathe a sigh of relief.

    But this is just the beginning...what comes next...? :)
-If at any time in the application process you have a question about something, just e-mail them! aspadm(at)kansaigaidai.ac.jp [change the (at) to an @, of course]  They usually reply within 2 - 3 days.  And if you don't get an answer after a week, just send another (polite) e-mail. :P
-If you have a question you think I can answer, leave a comment here or e-mail me~

    No comments: