Keio Tomodachi Program

As part of its international exchange activities, the Keio University International Center oversees the “Keio Tomodachi Program,” in which any Keio student can participate. 


Every year, over 500 students from partner universities all over the world take advantage of the student exchange program to study at Keio University. In the Keio Tomodachi Program, groups comprising international students who are predominantly at Keio on exchange and Keio students are formed (ideally, 2 Keio students and 3 international students). The aim is for the group members to interact with each other and build friendships. Many international students come to study at Keio University for only one semester. To ensure that this short stay in Japan will be a fulfilling experience for them, as their tomodachi or “friends,” we want Keio students to support their everyday life in Japan and student life at Keio, as well as planning activities together and going out with them. Because this is an international exchange program in which Keio students must take the lead, more than anything, Keio students interested in participating must have a high degree of independence and be able to show a warm spirit of hospitality toward the international students. 

This program will also be beneficial to those wishing to support international students, those looking to make the most of their own overseas experiences, those considering studying overseas in the future, those interested in working in a multicultural environment, etc. We are looking to recruit Keio students who are willing to participate proactively in this program, which aims to see students from diverse cultures learn from and teach one another in the spirit of hangaku-hankyo (learning while teaching, teaching while learning).

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Eligibility criteria 

  1. Those who are enrolled at a Keio University undergraduate faculty or graduate school and expect to be enrolled at least until the end of January 2020. (You are not eligible if you are taking a temporary leave of absence during the AY 2019 Fall Semester.) 

  2. Those who can participate in the Keio Tomodachi Program orientation for Keio students (Keio students only) and the kickoff meeting (to introduce the international students to Keio students), planned to be held from 13:00 to 16:00 on September 13 (Fri.) at Mita Campus.

    You will not be able to apply if you cannot participate in the orientation for Keio students and the kickoff meeting as this will hinder future activities. You will be officially recognized as a member of the Tomodachi Program once you participate in the orientation for Keio students and the kickoff meeting. If the above date and times overlap with the orientation of your faculty, please consult us in advance. Absence for reasons other than attending your faculty orientation will not be accepted under any circumstances.

  3. Those who can submit a monthly “activity report” while the program is underway and a “completion report” once the program has concluded.

    Those who submit the reports by the deadline and have been recognized as having carried out the activities stipulated by this program will be issued with a certificate of participation confirming that they took part in the Keio Tomodachi Program. Those who have not submitted activity reports and/or have not carried out enough activities at the time of completion of the program will not be recognized as program participants. Please note that in this case, you will not be permitted to state that you participated in the Keio Tomodachi Program in your CV, etc. 


  4. Those with a sense of hospitality and a willingness to proactively interact with the international students while taking the initiative to look for information on events, etc., that would interest these students.


  5. Those who are open to understanding various cultures and have good communication skills (some international students may not be able to speak any Japanese, while others may want to speak in Japanese as much as possible since they have come to study in Japan). 


  6. Those with a spirit of volunteering and who can take part in the activities with a sense of responsibility.


Expectations on host students (Keio students) and points to keep in mind 

  1. In this program, the willingness of the host students (Keio students) is more important than anything else. Only students who are motivated to interact with the international students, even when they become busy with classes, seminars, part-time jobs, etc., will be recruited. Please make regular contact with the international students after the kickoff meeting, getting together with them during the semester. According to the questionnaire responses that we received from past international students who participated in the program, it was found that the greatest need to interact with Japanese people for international students arose during the first month of the program. Please keep in mind to interact closely with the international students, especially at the outset. 

  2. Students who struggle with English are of course welcome to apply as well. What is important to deepen exchange with the international students is a willingness to proactively communicate with them, not how good or poor your English skills are.

  3. Most international students will be taking classes on Mita Campus but will be living near Hiyoshi Campus. Each group will decide on their own what activities they want to organize and where they want to go, but there is a greater tendency for students to meet around Mita Campus.

  4. You will basically be grouped with international students based on the “interests” you include on the application form. If you have any other requests, please be sure to include these in the “other requests” section of the form. The office will do its best to consider your requests, but please note that this will not always be possible. Even in such cases, please be flexible about taking part in the activities of the group you have been assigned to. 

  5. Do not forget that the purpose of this program is to support international students. Therefore, for example, consider how you can help the international students improve their foreign language skills before taking advantage of this opportunity to improve your own language proficiency. 

  6. It is not necessary for everyone in your group to always participate in activities. 

  7. When interacting with international students, be aware that you are being seen as a student representing Keio University, and keep in mind to show moderation. 

  8. If you encounter a problem, be sure to share the details with the International Center as soon as possible.

  9. Because this is a volunteering program, you will not receive any kind of financial support. Transportation and participation costs to take part in activities will be at your own expense. If you feel an activity is too expensive, be sure to tell the international students and make adjustments. Please also take the expenses that the international students must bear into consideration when planning events, etc. 


Program period

AY 2019 Fall Semester (end of September 2019 to end of January 2020) 

How to apply 

Fill out and submit the online form to complete your application. In addition to individual applications (1 person), it is possible to apply in pairs (2 persons). If you apply as a pair and have been selected for the program, you will both be assigned to the same group (students who have applied individually will not be assigned to the same group as students who applied in pairs).

Online application form 

We have closed the online application for Fall 2019


You can apply either as an individual or as a pair from the above online application form. If applying as a pair, please fill out the name (kanji, katakana) and student ID number of your partner in the partner information section.


Even if you are applying as a pair, both students are required to complete and submit the online application form. If only one of you applies, your application will not be accepted.

※You are required to attend the Keio Tomodachi Program orientation for Keio students and the kickoff meeting which are planned to be held from 13:00 to 16:00 on September 13 (Fri.) at Mita Campus. Those who fail to attend on the day will not be registered to participate in the program. If these times happen to overlap with the orientation of your faculty, please consult us in advance.

Application deadline 


16:45, August 28 (Wed.), 2019 


Note 1) Please write the statement of purpose in both Japanese (about 200-400 characters) and English (about 150-250 words). Please include details such as your reasons for applying, what your activities hope to achieve, specific plans to achieve these goals, and how you would like to support the international students in the statement of purpose section. 


Note 2) Students wishing to become a group leader should indicate this in the designated section on the application form. 


Note 3) If we receive a large number of applications, we will select suitable candidates based on the information provided on the application forms. 


Note 4) The International Exchange Services Group of the Office of Student Services may contact you via the PC e-mail address you provided on the Keio Tomodachi Program online application form. Please be sure to check your e-mail regularly.


Keio Tomodachi Program orientation and kickoff meeting 

The Keio Tomodachi Program orientation and kickoff meeting is planned to be held from 13:00 to 16:00 on September 13 (Fri.), 2019 at Mita Campus. Please make a note of the date and times in advance. Details will be sent to the e-mail address you provided on the online application form by September 11 (Wed.), 2019.

You will not be able to apply if you cannot participate in the orientation and the kickoff meeting as this will hinder future activities. 

※You will be officially recognized as a member of the Tomodachi Program once you participate in the orientation and the kickoff meeting.

Schedule after submitting online application 

Date Details
September 11 (Wed.), 2019

Announcement of Keio Tomodachi Program groups 

September 13 (Fri.), 2019

Keio Tomodachi Program orientation for Keio students and kickoff meeting  

Venue: Mita Campus

September 2019–January 2020

Actual activities Submission of monthly report (4 reports, for September to December) 

(Online report that takes about a minute to complete.)

February 2020

Submission of completion report (Online report that takes about 5 minutes to complete.) 

Keio Tomodachi Program activity report 

Some of the activities planned and thoughts of past Tomodachi Program participants are available at the following link. Please use these as a reference for your activities. 



Keio University Office of Student Services, International Exchange Services Group, Keio Tomodachi Program Section 

・Tel: 03-5427-1613