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A quick guide to Internships in Japan
With only 2% of its population being foreigners, Japan is unique and offers everything you can think of. The country has a similar shape as California and being almost the same size, only about 30% is habitable. The remaining 70% is mountainous. This means Japan has some awesome mountains to climb and is a popular country to go on winter holiday. And on top of that (pun intended) do not forget the tropical beaches and beautiful diving spots the south has to offer.
Not to mention Japan’s economy, their export products and culture has influenced the world as we know it today.
Awesome! Who doesn’t want to explore a country like this?
And the best way to do this, might be through an internship.
Trust me, I have done it all: Traveling, language school, business trips and an internship.
Interning in Japan just for a few weeks allows you to:
Topics for today:
Internships in Japan
To start off with internships in Japan, it is not very common. Japanese companies offering internships do so to promote themselves towards young talent. The longest duration might be 1-week and is usually for Japanese students or students fluent in Japanese only.
We know that you know what an internship is. An internship can be:
Studying abroad or traveling to Japan is great and definitely something I like to recommend to everyone. However, through my experience, I felt I achieved much more for a cheaper investment and less time.
This is what I realized:
You will get more valuable experiences:
Work with Japanese locals and expats
Even without knowing a word of Japanese, you will be surrounded with Japanese people and/or expats who know more about the Japanese lifestyle or about living abroad. You will meet co-workers who will become friends and learn how to communicate on a professional level with different age groups, nationalities and personalities.
Understand the Japanese work culture and prepare for your future career
You will understand how Japanese people work, think and what their (business) culture is really like.
You are part of a professional team
Rather than having an individual-group society like most Western countries, Japan is a group-culture meaning that they will treat interns like any other co-worker and you will make friends for life. You are part of the fam now!
A global internship is work experience no one can take from you and will shine brighter on your resume than the sun on a hot summer day.
You get more bang for your buck:
Some internships are paid, but unpaid internships are the standard in Japan. The internship industry here sees internships as a learning-process. It is similar to school but instead of reading a book about it, you get to try things in real life.
An internship connects you with more future possibilities:
Studying abroad is fun and pretty relaxing. You make friends and have less pressure than working at your internship, but you are stuck in a “foreign-bubble”. Through work, you get the chance to join meetings, seminars and network. I was fortunate enough to network with important people allowing me to get invited to job interviews in Japan but also in the USA. I actually got hired through my internship after I graduated university.
Finding employment gets easier:
Whether it is after university or a career switch, having proof of an internship in Japan will make you stand out. Even before an interview is confirmed, your future employer might think this about you already:
Internships can be done short term and long term
Unfortunately, a 1-month language course does not make you fluent. However, a 1-month internship is enough to stand out already and learn more about the work force (may this type of force always be with you).
Do not forget, like Nelson Mandela says:
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
Life and job / internship hunting will become so much easier when you speak the language. Hence the fact that studying the Japanese language is important too.
The ideal internship candidate
Literally everyone. Everyone interested in doing an internship in Japan is the ideal candidate. Whether your grades are as low as the temperature on the North-pole or higher than Mt. Fuji, go for it.
How to get an internship in Japan
There are several ways to get an internship in Japan successfully:
What is Zentern and how can they help me?
Zentern Internships is a Japanese-based internship agency. We work from our Tokyo office and offer internships nationwide. The most famous places for internships have been Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Sapporo and Nagoya.
You have to understand that most Japanese companies prefer working with companies also registered in Japan (long story) allowing us to work with a wide variety of local and international companies.
Based on your internship interests, skills and personality, we arrange your internship in Japan from 4 to 24-weeks.
We offer 3-programs to choose from:
Fully custom-made internships available for everyone and you can start anytime all year round.
Check out these videos to get a better understanding of living and working in Japan:
Interested in finding out more? Let’s start with an online meeting! Contact us here.
Or are you interested in exploring a different country and culture? Check out our new Global & Virtual Internship Program!
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