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Interview with Internship Participants

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Interview with Internship Participants

2020

Olivia Lee

Photo of Olivia Lee

■ Home Country: America

■ Job Type: CIR

■ Placement: Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Third Year

■ Field of Internship: Tourism

Why did you decide to participate in the JET Internship Programme?

I decided to participate in the programme, because I plan to find a job in Japan outside of JET in the future. Since I’ve experienced working in a government office for a couple of years as a CIR, I was especially interested in seeing what the working culture was like at a private company in Japan. My placement is more rural so I was also interested in what the work culture would be like in a larger city.

What type of work were you expecting to do before the internship?

I was set to intern at a small company which works with inbound tourism and I expected to do work with writing tourism content on the company’s website or SNS accounts.

What type of work did you experience during the internship?

At the internship, I mainly worked on translating documents related to sightseeing spots and products, from English into Japanese. I also helped make a video to introduce a sightseeing spot and a tourism initiative of the company. The experience let me work closely with the company staff, and I was able to explore some new areas of Tokyo as part of filming the video.

What did you get out of the programme?

The programme gave me insight into what it would be like to work at a small private company. I found it interesting how different the company’s atmosphere and work culture was from my office with the JET Programme, such as the differences with technology in the office, or with rules in the office.

After participating in the internship, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

I would like to work in Japan in the future. After learning about what it would like to work at small private company through the programme, I would like to consider applying to small companies when I start my job search outside of JET. The experience also gave me a glimpse into what work life in Tokyo, or a larger city would look like, which also makes me feel more prepared if I were to work in a large city in the future.

Message to JET Programme participants who might consider participating in the JET Internship Programme in the future:

I think participating in this programme makes for a good experience to see what a different work culture is like from your current workplace as a JET participant. For JETs who didn’t have much work experience outside of JET, the experience could help guide you in your job search after JET, as it can give you insight on what kind of workplace is right for you. Furthermore, depending on the type of work you do at your internship, you can also use it as an opportunity to challenge yourself and try new things.

Taro Yanagitsuru

Photo of Taro Yanagitsuru

■ Home Country: America

■ Job Type: CIR

■ Placement: Kochi Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Fifth Year

■ Field of Internship: Manufacturing

Why did you decide to participate in the JET Internship Programme?

I would like to work in Japan after my time as a JET finishes, so I decided to participate in this programme in order to prepare for that. I wanted to find out how foreigners can make the most of their skills and play an active role in Japanese companies, and conversely, what Japanese companies are looking for and expecting from foreign talent. Also, I think it is rare to have an opportunity to experience Japanese work culture for a week, so I didn’t want to miss this chance.

What type of work were you expecting to do before the internship?

I was matched with a company which specialises in manufacturing metal alloys. Being part of the manufacturing industry, I thought I would be touring the factory and doing some related work. I was asked beforehand about my clothes and shoe sizes since I will be wearing safety wear, so I got excited thinking about what I would be wearing and about going to the site.

What type of work did you experience during the internship?

During the internship, I visited all the departments and was able to observe and experience a wide range of business operations, from floor work to sales and operations.

First, I observed the manufacturing process of copper alloys and received detailed explanations about the melting, forging, heat treatment, and processing procedures. Although I was not allowed to experience the actual work because it was too dangerous, I was able to see each process up-close and gained a broad knowledge of copper alloys.
For the second half of the internship, I visited departments which had foreign employees, such as quality control and sales. In the quality control department, I listened to former JETs talk about their work in detail and experienced a type of inspection used in product testing. In the sales department, I joined their meetings and saw how the sales team shared information. On the last day, I had the opportunity to participate in a training programme that the company conducted to improve the skills and knowledge of employees. The training happened to be about the history of the company, and I was able to learn about its establishment and some stories of the former president.

What did you get out of the programme?

This internship was a really good experience, and it was a training program with a lot of insights for me.

Of course, I learned a lot about the business and the niche industry of special copper alloys, but the best part for me personally was being able to talk to different employees. The employees were open and friendly, and the president and upper management were also very kind to me. They helped me understand how the company is run and what kind of spirit they have for their work. Talking with different people made me realise many assumptions I had unconsciously made about working in Japan, and it was a good opportunity for me to rethink my values regarding job searching after JET, such as what aspects of the company I should look for when applying for a job. It was also a good opportunity for former JETs to reflect on their values.

It was also reassuring to see former JETs working and using the skills they acquired during their time on JET, such as international understanding and language skills, and it was also inspiring to see them in action.

After participating in the internship, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

After participating in the internship, my desire to work in Japan after my time in the JET Programme has become even stronger. I realised once again that Japan is the place where I can make the most of my experience and skills that I have developed as a JET. I was also relieved to learn that there are small and medium-sized companies that value global human resources.

Message to JET Programme participants who might consider participating in the JET Internship Programme in the future:

Those who wish to work in Japan in the future can learn a lot from this internship, but even for those who don’t, I think there is a lot to be gained by putting yourself in a different environment. I highly recommend this internship as an opportunity to be inspired and think about your future. I think there are a lot of things you can learn by experiencing different workplaces and interacting with different people, and I believe that what I have learned through this internship will be an asset for my future.

2019

Brigid Riley

Photo of Brigid Riley

■ Home Country: America

■ Job Type: ALT

■ Placement: Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Fifth Year

■ Field of Internship: Translation

Why did you decide to participate in the internship programme?

I started working as an ALT immediately after graduating university, so I didn’t have much experience in other industries. That’s made it harder to picture what kind of career I want after JET, so I wanted to gain some firsthand experience to help me with that decision. I also wanted to know how different it is to work at a Japanese company versus working at school. The JET Internship Programme provided me with the perfect opportunity on both counts.

What type of work did you experience on the programme?

I did a variety of work, from native checking to sales. I helped check translations of patent- and medical-related documents, practiced translating tech support manuals, and brainstormed website content for a website designed to educate young, foreign readers about Japanese culture. I also accompanied a staff member during her meeting with a client and participate in a mock sales meeting.

What did you get out of the programme?

Thanks to the internship programme, I have a clearer image of what it’s like to work in the translation industry, and a better idea of what jobs I want to apply for after my time on JET. I also understand the differences between working at a company versus working as a teacher in Japan. Lastly, I was able to evaluate the skills that I need to succeed in my post-JET career.

After participating in the programme, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

I feel excited about the possibility of working in Japan. My intern experience assured me that there are companies and careers here that meet my desired work-life balance needs.

Do you have a message to JET participants who might consider participating in the JET Internship Programme in the future?

The JET Internship Programme provides a great opportunity to get an inside look at different industries in Japan, as well as a chance to experience the drastic difference between government work and work in the private sector. It’s also a valuable way to assess your skills as you think about transitioning to another job after the JET Programme. I learned a tremendous amount in just a week, and as a result, I have some new direction for potential career paths. I can’t recommend this programme enough.

Seokyoung Lee

Seokyoung Lee

■ Home Country: Korea

■ Job Type: CIR

■ Placement: Shizuoka Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Third Year

■ Field of Internship: Manufacturing

Why did you decide to participate in the internship programme?

I started working as a CIR in Shizuoka Prefecture 3 years ago, and since then I have gained a lot of valuable experiences through a variety of work. After finishing on the JET Programme, I want to continue working in Japan. In order to learn more about what kind of jobs are available, and how I can utilize my experience and skills in Japanese companies, I decided to participate in the JET Internship Programme.

What type of work did you experience on the programme?

I was placed in the HR & General Affairs Department of a manufacturing company, where at the beginning I got to join the internship for students and attend an etiquette training for their new employees. Through the internship for students, I learned about how to conduct a job search in Japan, while at the etiquette training, I had the chance to objectively view my own behaviors and manners.
I also interviewed the HR & General Affairs Department staff members and learned about the work there. We discussed about issues regarding how to recruit new graduates, and I was able to propose my idea based on what I had learned during the internship and my own experience.

What did you get out of the programme?

Although it was just a 5-day internship, it was great to have an insight into what private companies do and obtain hands-on experience while getting very helpful guidance.
It was also a valuable opportunity to intern in a very different workplace compared to the working environment in government organisations, and to learn about manufacturers’ activities which I had never experienced before.

After participating in the programme, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

Thanks to the internship experience, I have renewed my thoughts about working in Japan in the future. Based on what I learned and what to reflect on during the internship, I have a grasp on what potential jobs I am qualified for with my skills and work experience. I have also realized the importance of building up my skills in order to fulfill the job requirements. The internship programme was a valuable experience which will surely help my job search in the future.

Do you have a message to JET participants who might consider participating in the JET Internship Programme in the future?

Hello everyone! I believe that each of you have your own thoughts and dreams, and are working hard as a JET participant to succeed in the future. Let’s try together!

Vincent Heuser

Photo of Vincent Heuser

■ Home Country: Germany

■ Job Type: CIR

■ Placement: Arita Town, Saga Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Second Year

■ Field of Internship: Real Estate

Why did you decide to participate in the internship programme?

I participated in the JET Internship Programme because I wanted to experience the working environment in a private company doing international exchange activities rather than a government organisation, and to find out what kind of companies I would be suited to work for.

What type of work did you experience on the programme?

I helped update blogs and SNS, as well as deal with customers. Also, through interacting with customers, I got to learn about companies with a high percentage of foreign workers.

What did you get out of the programme?

I felt warmly welcomed by everyone at the company where I interned, and also gained a lot of experiences which I’m sure will be useful for my future. I learned about a variety of works at Japanese companies from many different perspectives. The internship was such a valuable experience!

After participating in the programme, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

My passion for working in Japan got even bigger now.

Do you have a message to JET participants who might consider participating in the JET Internship Programme in the future?

This is absolutely a valuable opportunity so please make good use of it!

2017

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Nhung

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Nhung

■ Home Country: Vietnam

■ Job Type: CIR

■ Placement: Hamada City, Shimane Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Third Year

■ Field of Internship: Medical

Why did you decide to participate in the internship programme?

I decided to join the internship program to determine if I will be able to work in Japan after I finish my time as a CIR. I also wanted to see what skills and abilities are necessary to work at a Japanese company and whether I will be able to use the skills I have learned so far.

What type of work did you experience on the programme?

First, I learned how to write a proposal. After that, I was given the opportunity to create my own proposal for a pharmaceutical company. Under the guidance of my internship supervisor, I used my English and Vietnamese skills to research information, compiling what I found into a PowerPoint. I then presented the proposal in Japanese to the International Planning Division. I was also able to observe several company meetings.

What did you get out of the programme?

Thanks to the internship program, I was able to learn a little about the differences between working in a government office and working in the private sector.
I was also able to learn a lot about the company I was placed, such as the type of work they do and the company philosophy. It was the first time I had heard about a marketing agency that specializes in pharmaceuticals. I am sure now that there are many other interesting industries that I have yet to discover.
I overcame the insecurities that I had before participating in the program, and even though it was a very short amount of time, I was given valuable training, advice and feedback that I feel will be of use in my future career.

After participating in the programme, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

Participating in the internship program has strengthened my desire to work in Japan after JET. I also feel more confident about working in Japan.
It could be said that finding a job in Japan is a trend of today’s global world. I want to use my language ability and find a job where I can work on the world stage. I hope that I can use my qualities and abilities to help deepen the bonds of friendship between Japan, my home country, and the world.
In order to find a job in Japan, I believe it is necessary for me to acquire new knowledge and skills. While continuing my work as a CIR, I want to work towards acquiring qualifications that will be beneficial to my future career.

Pierce Langdon

Pierce Langdon

■ Home Country: America

■ Job Type: ALT

■ Placement: Tokyo Prefecture

■ Year on JET: Third Year

■ Field of Internship: IT

Why did you decide to participate in the internship programme?

What you get out of the JET Program truly depends on what you put into it. Very early on, I started thinking about how my time on JET would help me get ready for life after the program. While keeping my school-related duties in mind, I took advantage of many of the great opportunities JET offers, including this internship program. I have been a hobbyist programmer for a couple of years now, but job experience was something I was lacking. I signed up for the internship program hoping that it would offer the chance to get some real-world experience in web or software development, and I was lucky enough to find a great match for my skillset.

What type of work did you experience on the programme?

I joined a team of developers at a mid-sized company at their main office in Tokyo. Since I felt more comfortable working on the front-end side of things (the look and feel of a website, rather than its functionality), I worked with the designers to turn their Photoshop mockups into code for the website. In the end, I was able to create a couple of pages for their Airbnb-style website, which is now live.

What did you get out of the programme?

Joining the program gave me the chance to talk with other developers on a daily basis; even something as simple as going out to lunch together presented the opportunity to ask about work life, company culture, etc., which helped me further consider working in Japan as a developer. Regardless of where I go next, the internship undoubtedly cemented my decision to continue to pursue a career in web or software development after JET.

After participating in the programme, how do you feel about working in Japan in the future?

The internship gave me confidence that I could succeed in a development role in Japan, even with Japanese as the primary language of communication. However, something that was mentioned while talking with the other developers was that overtime is definitely a thing in Japan. Provided that I could find a company that values work-life balance for its employees, I would be happy to stay in Japan and continue in this line of work.

PAGETOP
Copyright 2015 by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)