A high-school student’s perspective – Summer Internship in Japan

Going into the summer before my senior year of high school, it was wide open. From exploring Tokyo more, to visiting family in the USA, to taking online classes, I had considered a lot of different things for the summer but ultimately COVID-19 took over and many of the things I had wanted to do were now impossible. However things took a great turn when I heard about Zentern from a friend, and through their services was quickly able to find a creative marketing/social media internship with a local company: Rigel Jewelry. 

Through my internship in Tokyo with Rigel Jewelry, I’ve been able to have a small taste of what it’s like working in advertising and social media, ultimately organizing and executing a 2 day jewelry photoshoot. My internship has been an irreplaceable part of my high school experience, and it could be a part of yours too!

A few photos from the jewelry photoshoot I organized


Why you should get an internship as a high schooler

  • Learn how to handle responsibility – The internship environment gives you the opportunity to take responsibility for big projects and decisions which in most situations wouldn’t be left to a high schooler. Take advantage of this opportunity by being responsible and taking ownership of every decision that goes into what you’re working on.
  • Intensely explore your interests – Having an internship is a great way to focus on interests that normally take the back seat. For example, personally, my internship allowed me to focus on my artistic side which normally sits on the back burner while I focus on school work and academics. 
  • Learn about potential careers first hand – Nothing is better than first hand experience when it comes to figuring out what you like. In high school many of us are hounded by wondering what we should study in college or pursue as a career. Having an internship centered around a field that you are interested in but not sure about quite yet is a great way to figure out whether or not you want to take the next step and pursue it in university. 
  • Learn new skills that are applicable in a lot of other scenarios – Internships provide an ideal learning environment as you’re constantly pushed out of your comfort zone to try new things. From programs like spreadsheets and photoshop to skills like organization and communication, internships are a great way to develop new skills which will be helpful no matter where you go in life. 
  • Brush up on and apply skills that you’ve learned in school – From algebra to the periodic table, all too often skills that we learn in high school seem irrelevant to real life. Internships are a great way to identify the skills that you’ve learned in the past which are actually practical and should be focused on.
  • Valuable experience for University applications and future jobs – University and job applications both value real life experience and demonstrated dedication to whatever field you’re applying to. An internship in Japan  is a great way to show you’re serious about your interests. 

Working at the jewelry photoshoot

Claire at internship Claire internship Japan Claire at jewelry internship

How to get an internship as a high schooler

  • Always have your eyes and ears open for opportunities – Whether from an ad before a youtube video to a random email, you never know where an internship opportunity will show up!
  • Tell others that you’re looking – If your teachers, friends, family, etc. know that you’re looking for an internship, then they’ll be likely to mention to you if they hear about an opportunity. For example, I was able to find Zentern and get an internship with Rigel Jewelry because my friend knew that I was looking for something creative to do over the summer. 
  • Don’t be afraid to shoot your shot – Even if you think you’re sure that you won’t get chosen for an internship position, don’t let that stop you from at least trying. You never know who else is applying or whether the company has additional needs than the internship advertises so it doesn’t hurt to try!
  • Respond promptly to emails and other communication – Chances are other people will be looking for internships too, so the sooner you apply to and respond to follow-up emails the easier it will be for you to stand out of the crowd as interested and responsible.

Working at the office

Claire working at office

How to be successful in an internship as a high schooler

  • Don’t be afraid to try new things – Most likely you won’t come into an internship equipped with every skill you’ll need, so don’t be afraid to try new things if the opportunity presents itself. Not only will it help you learn new skills, it will also build important principles like perseverance and confidence.
  • Communicate clearly – Don’t hesitate to ask for help! While it might feel embarrassing in the moment, in the long run asking for help if you’re not sure about something will be a valuable learning experience and make sure that avoidable pitfalls are avoided. 
  • Know your limits and be realistic about what you take on – Be realistic about how long it takes you to accomplish tasks. Realistic deadlines will help reduce stress and make it easier for you to keep your word.
  • Take it seriously – Don’t forget that what you’re working on is a part of somebody else’s livelihood. Take your responsibilities seriously!
  • Do your best – Give your all to the internship! You’ll have the best experience if you’re interested and involved in all that you do so don’t hesitate to go all in!

Overall, internships are the perfect mix of having fun exploring your interests while simultaneously getting valuable practical work experience. My internship in Tokyo has been an invaluable part of my time in high school and I couldn’t recommend it more for any high school student looking for something to do over the summer!

Meet Claire from Tokyo who is currently completing her creative internship at Rigel Jewelry