Frequently Asked Questions

We have put together some answers to the most common questions that applicants ask us. We hope that these help you. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

Index

  1. General Applicant FAQs
  2. CoE and Student Visa
  3. Move-in and Move-out
  4. Accommodation and Facilities
  5. Student Life
  6. Student Academics
  7. Extension and Transfer

General Applicant FAQs

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We have put together some answers to the most common questions that applicants ask us. We hope that these help you. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

What do I need to complete my application?

  • An online account and a nomination from your home university
  • The course / module titles that you want to apply to
  • Evidence of Proficiency in English Language
  • Full name and contact details for your referees (2 required)
  • Personal Statement
  • Copy of biodata page of your passport

How do I create a new online account to submit an application form?

Go to https://icla.heiapply.com/application and complete the form, keeping note of your email address and password that you used.

How do I log in to my account?

Go to https://icla.heiapply.com/application/login and put in your email address and password that you used to register your account with.

What if I forget my password?

Contact us if you have forgotten your password support@heiapply.com. We will identify you and send the password securely to you, or give you access to reset your password.

Can I take my time to complete the application form?

Yes, of course. You can save each section and come back to it at a later date. Just don't forget your password.

Can I edit after submitting my application form?

No. Once you have submitted we review the information that you have provided. We may ask you for more information, but you can't edit your application.

Can I track my application after submitting?

Yes, just log in and use Application Tracker in the Quicklinks menu.

Can I contact someone about my application?

Yes, if you have any questions during the admissions process please get in touch with us via the Communication Inbox in your Quicklinks Menu

I want to change my referee - how do I do this?

If you have not submitted your application form, you can log in and edit it straight away. If you have submitted and wish to change your referee, then please contact us by logging in and sending us a communication through your Communication Inbox.

What is the maximum file upload size?

Maximum upload size is 10 megabytes. Any files larger than 10 megabytes should be uploaded to personal or public online storage facilities and a link provided in the comments section as a portfolio link. Accepted File types: doc,xls, pdf, jpeg/jpg

CoE and Student Visa

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Q: Can I check on the status of, or accelerate my CoE application?

A: Unfortunately, there is no way to accelerate your CoE application. The process is handled entirely by the Immigration office. iCLA will send the CoE to applicants' home institution as soon as we receive the document, and share the tracking number with you. We advise applicants not to commit to arrangements (e.g. purchasing a flight ticket) before successfully receiving the CoE and subsequently, student visa.

Q: I plan to travel before starting / after completing my exchange. What should I enter under “intended length of stay” in the CoE application form?

A: As your main purpose in coming to Japan is to be a student on exchange, please enter the number of months as stated in the iCLA Visa and Entry Guide.

Q: I have a Japanese passport. Do I need to apply for a CoE / student visa?

A: No, you don’t. You will be able to enter and participate in iCLA’s Study Abroad program with your Japanese passport.

Q: Do I need vaccinations or specific medical tests before coming to Japan? When should the medical test be performed.

A: Although a medical checkup is required prior to coming to Japan, iCLA does not require any specific vaccinations or specific medical tests. It is, however, highly recommended to consult your doctor for vaccination suggestions before traveling. The medical checkup must be done within six months from the date of entry at iCLA.

Move-in and Move-out

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Q: What happens during the orientation period?

A: There will be placement tests as well as Information Sessions, some of which are mandatory. You will also have free time to spend as you wish.

Q: Can I change my iCLA dormitory move-in date?

A: No, changes are not possible. You may arrive in Japan earlier than the given move-in date, but you will be responsible for securing your own accommodation until you check in to iCLA.

Q: Is it possible to move out of the dormitory at a time other than stated in the Student Guidebook?

A: No. You can only move out between 9am-5pm on a weekday. The Student Affairs Team needs to be present to conduct a damage check and other moving-out procedures.

Q: I need to re-take an exam(s). Can I stay in the dormitory past the given move-out date?

A: Yes. Students who need to re-sit an exam(s) will be allowed to extend their stay in the iCLA dormitory until their exam is over.

Q: Can I move out of the iCLA dorm to an off-campus housing temporarily during Winter break, and move back in to iCLA before the start of the Spring semester?

A: For the reasons outlined below, we strongly recommend that you stay in the iCLA dorm even during the Winter break period.

1. We cannot guarantee that you will be able to move back in to the iCLA dorm if you move out at the end of the Fall semester, and having no residence address will affect your VISA status.

2. You will be required to do all the City Hall-related procedures yourself.

Accommodation and Facilities

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Q: What fees do I have to pay as an exchange student?

A: Incoming exchange students enrolled under the student exchange agreement are exempted from tuition fees, however, still required to pay for all dormitory fees, board fees (meal plan fees)*, rental goods fees as well as cleaning and repairing fees.
*The meal plan is required for all students living in iCLA’s dormitory. If you have specific medical or religious reasons that make it difficult to enroll in the meal plan, you may apply for an exemption.

Q: What kind of method is used for paying of fees?

A: Flywire (online payment) or domestic bank transfer if you have a Japanese bank account. Incoming exchange students enrolled under the student exchange agreement are exempted from tuition fees, but are required to pay for all dormitory fees, board fees (meal plan fees)*, rental goods fees as well as cleaning and repairing fees.

Q: Is there an option to stay with a local family?

A: No, iCLA currently does not provide international students the option of staying with a local family.

Q: What should I do for meals during the weekend and national holidays?

A: There are several convenience stores and restaurants in walking distance. You can buy boxed meals (bentos) for around 500 yen each and eat at most of the nearby restaurants for under 1000 yen per meal. The best way to explore and learn is by making friends with existing Japanese and international students!

Q: Are there vegetarian / vegan options meal options at iCLA?

A: As a general rule, all dorm residents are required to join a meal plan where meals are served three times a day on weekdays. There are two meal plans that you can choose from: regular and vegan. The regular meal plan contains meat, fish and dairy, etc. The vegan meal plan does not contain animal products.

Residents can be exempted from the meal plan for religious and health reasons. In the case of religious reasons, you are required to submit a document from a religious organization outlining your dietary restrictions. In the case of health reasons, you are required to submit a medical certificate outlining your condition.

Q: Is there a kitchen I can use?

A: Yes, there is a spacious studio kitchen in the cafeteria with capacity for several students to cook at once. You may use the shared kitchenware available.

Q: Are pillows and blankets provided for students living in the dormitory?

A: Exchange students are required to rent a bedding set (including a pillow) for your entire stay in the iCLA dormitory. You can exchange the bedding set seasonally (once a year) and do not need to worry about disposing your mattress/futon upon departure.

Rental fee: JPY 6,500 (one-time payment)

Q: Does iCLA provide students with laundry detergent or do I need to purchase on my own?

A: You have to purchase your own laundry detergent.

Q: Does iCLA provide/loan/rent out household appliances like vacuum cleaners or irons?

A: Unfortunately, we do not. In principle, dormitory residents are asked to prepare any items they need by themselves. Students often buy and share such items or lend them to their friends.

Q: Is there any sort of safe or similar item in the dormitory?

A: No, but each room can be locked with a key, so we strongly recommend you to lock your door whenever you leave your room.

Q: Is there any Internet service available for students on campus?

A: Yes. Students have access to the on-campus YGU wireless network called ‘ygu-spot’. This network is designed for educational purposes and has restrictions on protocols: only HTTP and HTTPS are accessible through ‘ygu-spot’. VoIP services such as Skype and LINE phone, POP/SMTP email, FTP and online gaming software cannot be used.

There is one more network called “icla-spot”, which is accessible only in the Student Lounge area in the iCLA building. Unlimited internet access is available through this network but the speed may be impacted depending on the number of students using the network at the time. If you are considering renting a mobile router, we recommend that you use companies that provide such services in English.

Q: Are there computer facilities on iCLA’s campus?

A: Students can loan out laptops from the Admin Office during office hours. You are required to return the laptop before the office closes for the day, so if you would like 24/7 access to a computer we recommend you bring your own.

Q: Is there a gym that I can use?

A: Yes. The main campus has a sports gym, and you can sign up for a paid membership. You will be able to use the gym after attending the Gym Orientation Session. There is also a private gym near iCLA that is not affiliated with YGU/iCLA.

Student Life

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Q: Are there any clubs that I can join?

A: Yes, there are. The parent institution, Yamanashi Gakuin University, has a wide range of casual and serious clubs in art, sports, music creativity, etc. Please note that most clubs use Japanese language and that serious sports clubs have strict requirements for membership that are decided on a case-by-case basis. The main campus also has a gym with membership available at a low price (gym orientation attendance required).

Q: Can I work part-time while studying at iCLA?

A: Your student visa does NOT permit you to work part-time. In order to work part-time, you must fill out the Application for Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted form and submit it to the airport immigration upon your arrival. After this form is approved, you will receive a stamp in your passport allowing you to work part-time (up to 28 hours per week) during your exchange period at iCLA; however, absolutely no jobs in any sexual service (and/or related) industries are permitted.

Please note that the procedures for this differs before and after arrival at Japan. If you are planning or even just thinking about working part-time while in Japan, we highly encourage you to fill out the form (provided during the visa process) and submit it to the immigration office at the airport when you first come to Japan, NOT after coming to iCLA.

Q: Are there part-time jobs available at iCLA?

A: There are numerous events held on the YGU campus throughout the academic year which often require student workers. You can sign up to work at these events. Please note that the availability of these jobs depends on the frequency and type of event as well as the number of student helpers required. In addition, floor assistant positions are available at iCLA’s dormitory. Further details on on-campus job opportunities will be provided during orientation week after your arrival at iCLA.

You can also work off-campus, however, please note that many part-time jobs off-campus require Japanese language skills. iCLA does not offer support for students in applying for off-campus part-time jobs, however, Japanese language volunteers may be available to help you.

Q: Will I need to open a Japanese bank account?

A: You are not required to open a Japanese bank account since the ATMs on campus can accommodate bank transfers by cash deposits. There are ATMs at Seven Eleven convenience stores with foreign card functionality (please check with your local bank or credit card company regarding transaction fees.) If you want to open a bank account, there will be an information session during orientation week at iCLA explaining the necessary procedures.

Q: Can I get a student ID card?

A: Yes. Yamanashi Gakuin University (the parent institution of iCLA) will issue your student ID card with your photo and name printed on it upon your arrival.

Q: Can iCLA recommend a cellphone/SIM card plan?

A: No. iCLA does not offer recommendations for phone plans, so we encourage you to do your own research. Getting just a SIM card is a popular option for exchange students as Japanese mobile carriers do not offer short-term contracts.

Q: I have tattoos. Will this impact my participation in Physical Education classes at iCLA?

A: No, tattoos do not affect eligibility to participate in Physical Education classes or other types of activities within iCLA (there may be exceptions). If you would like to use YGU’s gym/fitness center, you must first attend a YGU Gym Information Session. The gym staff will explain their rules and guidelines then.

Student Academics

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Q: I need to take a certain amount of credits each semester at my home institution. How many, and what iCLA courses would provide the equivalent amount of academic credits?

A: iCLA’s lecture courses are worth 3 academic credits, and workshops are 1 credit. Please contact the Study Abroad coordinator or relevant person at your home institution about your university’s credit conversion ratio with iCLA.

Q: What is the minimum number of credits required for the student visa?

A: 12 credits.

Q: What is the maximum number of credits I can take at iCLA per semester

A: In principle, 18 credits. If the student wishes to enroll for credits between 19-21, the student must complete the course Overload Request Form by receiving approval from their iCLA advisor and submit to the iCLA administrative office.

Q: I am currently taking intermediate Japanese at my home university. Can I take advanced Japanese at iCLA?

A: Although you can put advanced Japanese in your Study Plan, all international exchange students are required to take a Japanese placement test upon arrival at iCLA which means you may or may not end up taking your originally planned course. In addition, only 1 level of Japanese Language Course can be taken per semester.

Q: I have studied Japanese and can recognize/read kanji, but am less confident with writing it. Will I be placed in a Japanese language class appropriate for my level?

A: iCLA’s Japanese Language placement test is handwritten, including kanji. Usage of physical and electronic devices is prohibited. The placement test includes listening, reading, grammar, composition, and kanji, so you will not be graded purely on kanji. Your class level will be determined based on your overall Japanese language skill.

Q: I am required by my home institution to enroll in two iCLA courses that have a conflicting schedule. What can I do?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot change our course timetable, and you cannot read both courses at the same time. We suggest that you explain the situation to your home institution, and see if there are other iCLA courses that fit your academic plan.

Q: Is there a bidding system for academic courses at iCLA?

A: No, there isn’t. Most courses, with the exception of seminars and foundational courses, are open to enrolment by exchange students. Please note that degree-seeking students are given enrolment priority for certain courses. For further details, please see the course list uploaded at the bottom of the following webpage: https://www.icla.ygu.ac.jp/en/inbound/ .

Q: Excluding Japanese language courses, are there any pre-requisites?

A: Although international exchange students do not have pre-requisites, in principle, all seminar and foundation courses are only for degree-seeking students and priority is given to degree-seeking students in some of the introductory courses and workshops during registration. If you have specific questions regarding the difficulty level or eligibility of a certain course, please contact us

Q: Can I get a transcript from iCLA?

A: Yes, you can. One copy will be sent to your home institution for administrative use after all your grades are confirmed. If you want to have a copy for yourself personally, you can request it while you are at iCLA for 300 yen per copy or after departing from iCLA for 500 yen per copy plus postage. You can also request other types of certificates such as Certificate of Enrollment Period and Certificate of Course Enrollment.

Extension and Transfer

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Q: I would like to extend my time here and obtain my degree from iCLA.

A: We are happy to hear that you are enjoying your time at iCLA. If you are originally only studying for one semester and the agreement between your university and iCLA permits extended stays, then it is possible to apply for extension for an additional semester for a total of two semesters. It is important to note that you will be required to pay additional fees such as room and board (this also includes the winter or summer break) and to renew your visa. The extension process is complicated and failure to submit the necessary documents on time can result in deportation.