Nguyen Hoang Hiep - 2017 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

Since my young childhood I was always amazed by Japanese robotics and software games. I literally grew up with video games like many other of my friends, and it also grew the passion in me to pursue studies in IT at my current university in Hanoi.

Why did you choose Meiji Academy?

I came across Meiji Academy when I was searching for internship programs in Japan. Most of the internships I found first were about teaching languages in Japan and the variety of internship placements for IT industry was very scarce. When I saw Meiji Academy's program I was very excited to talk with the staff and learn more about their internship programs that they offer. During our Skype interview they listened to all of my concerns and answered all of my questions I had. The whole email and skype communication throughout my studies and internship was really smooth. I also appreciated their will to connect me with other local interns in Tokyo and also visited me at my work once.

Meiji Academy, Tokyo, Japan

Our initial introduction we had with other interns

What was your favorite part about Japan?

There were many things that I could count as my favorite part. But if I have to choose one I would say the politeness and kindness of Japanese people. Everybody was always happy to help me when I got lost or was asking for directions. The best thing was a group of Japanese students, who helped me getting to bar I was searching for. We all became friends and ended up having a whole night party in a Karaoke place and even dressed up in funny cosplay costumes, but I cannot tell more details about it, haha!

What made your experience abroad unique?

Tokyo was just an unforgettable experience! It was like a different future world filled with high-technology, yummy food and endless opportunities for having fun. Karaoke, clubbing, drinking with fellow friends and work colleagues or simply exploring the city. It is the only place I have ever been where future and tradition seem to coexist next to each other.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The staff at Meiji were very responsive to my emails and were usually texting me back in a few hours later. I was introduced to other Meiji interns in Tokyo and also provided with many social activities for my time there.

Shinjuku Night Skyline in Tokyo, Japan

Shinjuku Night Skyline

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

One thing I really regret about my time in Japan is that I was very shy and quiet especially at the beginning. I would recommend anybody coming here to go out of their comfort zone and start approaching colleagues and making effort to make friends.

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

Usually I woke up around 8 a.m. and got to my work placement at 9:30 a.m. I checked with my supervisor about the tasks for the day. In the morning it is usually mostly team meetings and discussions about the previous day progress. We also discuss further development of our projects we are working on. Usually tasks or other issues would pop up, like redesigning certain codes, meeting work deadlines.  We also contact clients and other business that we work with on game production such as voice actors, printing companies and also our outsourced marketing company we have.

After a yummy lunch break at a cheap local food chain, I get back to work. In the evening after work is done I go out with my colleagues for a drink or meet up with other interns at a bar for some catching up.

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

Exploring Japan! There was so much to explore in Tokyo and more! I did a lot of hiking in the nearby mountains and also enjoyed fun stuff like game centers, cosplay events and hanging out with friends in Shibuya. I also recommend going to Kamakura and Akasaka for the ancient shrines.

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

My accommodation was in a Share House, where I had the chance to make a lot of Japanese and foreign friends. The only drawback was that it takes quite a bit to get to the center. Many Japanese say that this is normal for people living in Tokyo so I had to get used to that.

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

Japan does not come to you. You have to come and be open for Japan! It is really important to be curious and always open to new things. I needed some time to adapt to the whole new life in Tokyo, but I am so happy that all my team members and staff at Meiji helped me to be more confident in myself. Make sure to always go out and meet new people and try some new food, except these rotten Natto beans, hahaha.

Tokyo Tower at night

Beautiful Tokyo Tower Lightup

Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?

Japan made me more confident, helped me to be more open about other cultures and customs. I realized that there are still so many things I don't know and it really excites me to learn more about Japanese culture and people. I also made many friends from Europe that I plan to visit in the future.

So I would say I definitely got a good understanding what it is like working in an international company in Japan and how important good communication and teamwork is.

Would you recommend Maiji Academy to others? Why?

Absolutely! Meiji Academy did a very good job assisting me throughout the program and I am very thankful for this great experience I had. All the staff  felt like I was comfortable and adapted to the Japanese customs quickly.  Their Japanese Business course helped me a lot to understand the Japanese mindset.

Another thing I liked about Meiji Academy is that most of the staff are foreigners like me.  Some are those who lived in Japan for a very long time and understand how I feel about many things. It is a very international team with a lot of never-ending positive vibes. I would definitely recommend them for anybody who would like to work and study in Japan.