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Kyoto

Life in Kyoto

 

 

Overview

Once you have been accepted or waitlisted, you will be expected to attend a series of orientation sessions organized at Stanford by the Bing Overseas Studies Staff and the Kyoto Student Advisors. These meetings will give program participants a chance to meet each other and learn many details about their upcoming quarter of study in Kyoto. See the Participants Requirements section of the website for more details.

The following sections will give you a brief overview of life in Kyoto.

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Arrival

You must arrive in Kyoto on the arrival date indicated in the program calendar. The first two nights of the program are spent at the Co-Op Inn Kyoto, arranged and paid for by the program, before moving into permanent housing arrangements. Orientations at the hotel and the Kyoto program office prepare students to start their stay in Kyoto.

Note: Students who arrive prior to the required arrival date are responsible for their own accommodations.Top of page

Accommodations and Meals

Housing is provided for the duration of the program, as indicated in the program calendar, from the arrival date through the last day of residence. All students studying in the Kyoto Program live in homestays. In arranging housing, the staff takes into account the preferences and personal descriptions students outline on the housing preference form. The homestay offers an excellent opportunity to explore Japanese daily life and become familiar with Japanese values and customs.

In a homestay arrangement students typically eat breakfast and dinner at home with the family. The program provides a meal allowance to cover the cost of lunch. Most homestays require a thirty- to sixty-minute commute — considered short by Japanese standards — by bus, train, or a combination of the two to reach Doshisha University.

 

Internship Period

During the internship period, a student’s basic living expenses including housing are covered, but one should not expect to generate a savings from the living allowances. Interns are generally housed in company dormitories, which can enhance involvement with the firm and its employees. For others, short-term rentals are arranged. Cafeterias are available in some dorms and company facilities. Arrangements for interns vary from firm to firm (and even from year to year at the same firm) and do not necessarily correspond with those made for other foreign trainees at the same company.

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Meeting People

From exploring the cobbled alleyways of Kiyomizudera to checking out Kawaramachi ramen shops, there are so many things to do in Kyoto and the surrounding area that students have to balance between the desire to travel and the value of integrating into the local culture. Spending time with host families, investing energy into building friendships with Japanese people, and getting involved in local activities are ways that students tend to put down roots in Kyoto. The staff at the center can help point students toward things to do and ways to pursue some of their hobbies while living in the city.

Students also have opportunities to meet Doshisha University students, who are invited to participate in some activities. Through the friendships made with Japanese students, Stanford students can find ways to be involved in sports, music, and other extracurricular activities.

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City Life

Located in the Kansai region, an area of great cultural diversity that includes Osaka, Kobe, and Nara, Kyoto is surrounded by mountains on three sides and is divided by a major river. Japan's largest lake, Lake Biwa, is a short ride over the Eastern Mountains. The city is approximately forty minutes from Osaka and, by Shinkansen, two and a half hours from Tokyo.

One of Japan's largest cities with 1.4 million residents, Kyoto is both traditional and modern. Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and master craftsmen in the traditional arts are interspersed with shopping arcades, pachinko parlors, and corporate research parks specializing in biotechnology, electronics, and the development of new materials.

For centuries the city has been the cultural heart of Japan, boasting magnificent art treasures. The city, established as capital in 794, is known for its cloisonné, bronzes, damascene work, porcelain, and lacquer ware, and its renowned silk industry. Kyoto is home to over 140,000 university students and forty colleges and universities, including Kyoto and Doshisha Universities. It is also headquarters of Nintendo, Horiba and other high-tech firms and one of the world centers for neuroscience research. Among the city's artistic treasures are the Old Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle (former palace of the Tokugawa shoguns), and Kiyomizu Temple. Others are housed in the Kyoto National Museum of Fine Arts, the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, and the city's other numerous museums and galleries.

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Staff

Andrew Horvat, Director, ahorvat@stanford.edu

Professor Andrew Horvat completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of British Columbia, and has had a diverse and distinguished career in Japan as journalist, as the Director of the Tokyo Office of the Asian Foundation, and as Visiting Professor and Vistiting Scholar and Co-Founder of the recently established International Center for the Study of Historical Reconcilitation at Tokyo Keizai (Economics) University. Professor Horvat’s specialization is in cross-cultural communications, language policy and international relations in Northeast Asia.

As Director, he has primary responsibility for the program's academic affairs and cultural enrichment program, budgeting, administration, representational functions, and student well-being. In addition to teaching a course on Japanese foreign affairs and overseeing research projects, he serves as a counselor to students.

 

Kiyoko Eguchi, Internship Coordinator, kiyokoe@stanford.edu

Ms. Eguchi is in charge of internship development and placement.

Hiromi Uehira, Housing, Administrative and Students Services Coordinator, hiromiu@stanford.edu

Ms. Uehira is in charge of housing arrangements and assisting students in adjusting to homestay and life in Kyoto, as well as academic scheduling, reporting and coordination of class-related field trips and enrichment programs.

Mako Watanabe, Financial Coordinator, makow@stanford.edu

Ms. Watanabe is in charge of financial accounting and the library.

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