Japan is known for its uniquely rich culture, diligent working citizens, hospitality, and its involvement in the development of technology and infrastructure. It is no surprise that so many people want to study and work in Japan for a chance to get a different perspective on the country, and for work experience.
As for internships in Japan, they are not as easy to attain as they are in other countries (expect many of them to require you to be proficient in Japanese and English), but it is still possible to acquire, with the right research, skills, and application process.
What is An Internship?
To be clear with definition, an internship is an opportunity to learn more about that field of work, as well as that organization or company he or she wants to work in the future. It's depends on company and job, some company will pay you small salary.
Each internship is different. Some last for only for a 10-day spree, while others last 12 weeks long. It all depends on the position and company that is offering the internship opening.
Why You Should Go for An Internship
- The main point of taking on an internship is to learn new things and meet new people. If you want to advance yourself in your career life, (and your internship is the same scope of work), then landing one is a good idea, as it adds to your credentials in your resume.
- Not only will you have the credit for it written on paper, you’ll also get to develop skills without as much pressure as a job would entail. Sure, you’ll do your best in both aspects, but a job that you’re fully responsible for weighs heavier on the psyche.
- You’ll also be working for, if not alongside, employers who could potentially hire you if you did a great job on your internship.
- Another reason to be an intern in a company is to see how that company works. What makes them successful? What is their work ethics? How do they treat their employees? You will be given a firsthand experience, getting answers to these questions.
Internship Choices in Japan this 2017
This 2017, there are many choices and programs for internship or “intānshippu” Japan, though many of them no longer accept applications. A list of them includes the METI Japan Internship Program 2017, Goldman Sachs, Fuji Electric Technical Internship for International Students in Japan, UNU-INWEH Internship for International Applicants, and the Research/Exchange Laboratory Internship Program in Japan.
Applications are usually accepted until July or August in time for summer, so most of these internships are either finished or ongoing. If you are a foreigner looking for an internship in Japan, it is advised to begin searching for internship programs that will start in 2018.
Applying for An Internship This 2018
You can catch most of internships when they are announced at the beginning of the year, but some organizations announce theirs well before the year even starts.
So far, this 2018, there is a paid internship program that will be launched by Google in Japan. Those who fit the criteria for the job (achievers in their Masters of Business Management Programs) will be given the chance to be employed in departments such as human resources, finance, product management and sales.
Successful applicants are placed into job families, and after getting a feel of the environment, are transferred to project groups that suit them more. The minimum qualification of this job is to be enrolled in an ongoing full-time MBA program, and plan to graduate by December 2018 up to June 2019. He/she must have 10 weeks to spare at the Tokyo Office in the year 2018, and be very proficient in both writing and speak Japanese and English.
If a top-notch company like Google is too intimidating, Japan is abundant with other opportunities.
There are so many others out there to choose from, and it’s as simple as a few buttons away on a keyboard, especially if you have the right sites to work with.
Find More Vacancies Online
Internship hunting has never been so easy. All you have to do is go to a site that specializes in handling internships, such as Japan Internships, Asia Internship Program, Zentern, openings in USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium), Glassdoor, and Goabroad. These websites help you narrow down your search items to a field and city you’d prefer.
Internships: The Stepping Stone to A Job
For foreigners who are not used to life in Japan yet, it is very helpful to work their way up to workforce instead of jumping right in. The lifestyle in Japan takes some getting used to, and getting to know the area, as well as the culture, is crucial to properly settling in.
The most amenable way to do it would be to the first study, then take an internship, and then see from there if you’d like to pursue a career in the field of your internship (as they probably may take you in) or try for a different job.
How to Get a Visa for An Internship
If you want to take an internship in Japan, then you’ll have to get a visa to do this, particularly a general visa. Go to the Japanese embassy’s website to find out which forms you need to fill out and documents you need to submit to avail of this.
Once you’ve filled out all the forms and have all the requirements (usually just the form, passport photographs, passport itself, certificate of eligibility if needed, etcetera). The processing of your visa will take a month long. If you can get a higher education institute to sponsor or invite you for an internship, it makes things much easier, and the process goes swiftly.
When you get a general visa, it can last one, up to two years. Upon arrival in Japan, you will have 90 days to go to the immigration office to register yourself as an alien. You will be given an Alien Registration Certificate, as well as a card that denotes this.
Great Internship Options for Foreigners in Japan
If you’re not sure what you’d like to do, but you’re sure you want to try what it’s like to intern in Japan, a great entry-level internship would be that of an English teacher. Although it helps to have one, you don’t even need a college degree to be a certified English teacher. You will, however, need TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)/TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification.
For something a little more on the adventurous side, you can even intern to become a ski instructor for EA Ski and Snowboard Training. They even guarantee you a job offer when you complete your internship with them.
Other than that, you will need to equip yourself with at least conversational Japanese to get most internships. Most of the residents of Japan do not speak English, and neither does their workforce. The level of proficiency in Japanese most internships will need you to have can be difficult to attain, and takes a lot of dedication and work to master. So, be aware that in most cases, your commitment to Japan, its language, and its culture, will be immense.
Internship Options in Japan for Civil Engineering
There aren’t many options in Japan when it comes to internships for civil engineering. This is usually left up to Japanese to deal with (unless they get help or inspiration from experts abroad), as civil engineering takes a sense of familiarity in the culture that surrounds the environment that will be worked on, as well as the structural needs that should be met by that society. If ever an internship suitable for civil engineering graduates were to be available, it would have something to do with supervising the creation or modification of a railway, such as JR, or East Japan Railway Company.
There are other internships that work within the boundaries of engineering, not necessarily within the category of civil engineering. One internship that is suited for those who have studied mechanical engineering is at the Continental Automotive in Yokohama. The program lasts for 8 weeks and begins in May 2018. Here, interns will help staff members in administrating tasks and situations around the plants and help them refresh their English language skills with conversational English.
Internship Options in Japan for Architecture
Currently, some of Japan’s buildings are the best at withstanding earthquakes. Japan is also known for it spectacular skyscrapers and modern architectural ingenuity. Those who want to learn from the fast-paced and developing world of architecture are right to try to intern in Japan.
An example of an architectural, landscape and interior design company is Jen Mitsui & Associates Architects, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects Japan, Inc. They had slots open for interns in 2017 for those who qualified and wanted to join. If you have an architectural degree and are currently a master’s student, speak English well, and can speak and understand Japanese in the level of JLPT N3, then you have an easy way in.
Is It Possible to Intern for Japan Airlines?
Japan airlines do accept interns. It is known to be typically Japanese in nature (strict, hardworking), and has connections to many other companies. The only problem with being an intern for this company is the relatively low salary pay. Though your coworkers are likely to be nice people you can work well with, the company's expectations can be demanding, which can be uncomfortable for some foreigners.
Working For A Japanese Company, or a Foreign Company in Japan
A word of caution for all of those who plan to intern in a traditional – the work ethic in Japan can be incredibly intense, and even if you’re an intern, depending on the company you’re interning in, you may be judged heavily. This is because you will be pitted against other employees who work very hard, and you will not be respected if you cannot keep up with their level of dedication and skill.
For example, architectural interns may be surprised that their great and innovative ideas will not be given notice, with the company sticking to traditional designs. Because employees in that architectural firm think you, the intern, are just temporary, they may not bother to help train you, or even listen to what you have to say. Architectural interns are also notorious for not getting paid for the hours of hard work they put in, taking only their experiences with them.
Your best bet would (initially) be to work for a foreign company that is based in Japan so that they have the ethics and culture that is less noxious and workaholic-praising. Or, you could be an incredibly lucky person, and land a great internship at a Japanese organization/company with a relaxed environment.